Etheldred Jones

Lamina Sankoh

Rev. Etheldred Jones (later known as Lamina Sankoh) (28 June 1884-1964) was a prominent Sierra Leonean pre-independence politician, educator, banker and clergyman. Sankoh is known most prominently for helping to found The People's Party in 1948, which was one of the first political parties in Sierra Leone. It eventually became the Sierra Leone People's Party.

Early life

Sankoh was born at Gloucester in the Mountain District in the city of Freetown on 28 June 1884. Sankoh attended a village school in Gloucester, The Cathedral School, Albert Academy and C.M.S. Grammar school. He eventually graduated from Fourah Bay College, which he received his Bachelor of Arts. He then went to read theology and philosophy at Wycliffe College, University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Professional career

Sankoh returned to Gloucester in 1924 and received a position as priest and appointed curate of the Holy Trinity Church. There, Sankoh preached for progressive thinking within the church, because of which he also left the post in 1927. While curate, Sankoh also lectured at Fourah Bay. After leaving the church, Sankoh travelled to the U.K. in order to read for education at Oxford. Just a year later, he travelled to the United States, where he taught at various historically black colleges, including Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania and South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Back to Britain

In 1930, Sankoh left the U.S. to go back to Britain, where he became actively involved with the West African Students Union, a London-based activist organization campaigning for self-government of their colonies in Africa. He eventually became the editor of the organizations journal as well as regular contributor.

Back to Sierra Leone

In the 1940s, Sankoh returned back to Sierra Leone. He became closely involved in municipal and local affairs, including the restructing of city government in Freetown. He became a city councilor in 1948. He also resumed teaching at Fourah Bay, this time adult education. At one point, Sankoh was the president of the Freetown adult education society. He established a "penny-savings" bank as well as a newspaper called the "The African Vanguard". He also established an independent church for Sierra Leoneans that was "relatively free of western influence". Sankoh fought hard for the unification of Sierra Leone into one nation. He founded the "People's forum" and the "People's party" in 1948, which eventually became the party known today as the Sierra Leone People's Party. Sankoh died in 1964. He has a prominent street named after him in downtown Freetown


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