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Fyfe, Christopher

FYFE, Christopher


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Liverpool University Press, 4 Cambridge St., Liverpool, Merseyside L69 7ZU, England.

CAREER: University of Edinburgh, Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh, Scotland, faculty member, 1962-91, became professor of African history.


A History of Sierra Leone, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1962.

A Short History of Sierra Leone, Longman (London, England), 1962.

(Author of introduction) Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary, TheCase for African Freedom, and Other Writings on Africa, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1962.

Sierra Leone Inheritance, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1964.

(Editor, with Eldred Jones) Freetown: A Symposium, Sierra Leone University Press (Freetown, Sierra Leone), 1968.

(Author of introduction) Edward Wilmot Blyden, Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1969.

Africanus Horton, 1835-1883, West African Scientist and Patriot, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1972.

(Editor) African Studies since 1945: A Tribute to BasilDavidson: Proceedings of a Seminar in Honour of Basil Davidson's Sixtieth Birthday at the Centre ofAfrican Studies, University of Edinburgh, under the Chairmanship of George Shepperson, Longman (London, England), 1976.

(Editor and translator) António Carreira, The People of the Cape Verde Islands: Exploitation and Emigration, C. Hurst (London, England), 1982.

(Editor, with Charles Jones) "Our Children Free andHappy": Letters from Black Settlers in Africa in the 1790s, Edinburgh University Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1991.

(Editor, with Andrew Walls) Christianity in Africa in the 1990s, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.

(Editor, with Simon McGrath) Rethinking African History, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1997.

(Editor) Anna Maria Falconbridge, Narrative of TwoVoyages to the River Sierra Leone during the Years 1791-1792-1793, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 2000.

Also consulting editor for Sierra Leone, 1787-1987: Two Centuries of Intellectual Life, edited by Murray Last and Paul Richards, Manchester University Press/Journal of the International African Institute (Manchester, England), 1987.

SIDELIGHTS: Christopher Fyfe, a former African history professor, has held a special fascination for the country of Sierra Leone, about which he has written or edited a number of books, including several histories published in the 1960s. More recently, he gained acclaim for editing two books that offer unique insights into Sierra Leone: "Our Children Free and Happy": Letters from Black Settlers in Africa in the 1790s and Narrative of Two Voyages to the River Sierra Leone during the Years 1791-1792-1793.

In "Our Children Free and Happy," Fyfe presents a collection of previously unpublished letters written by former slaves who had emigrated from North America to Sierra Leone. These documents, which include petitions and regulations along with missives to the British colonial governor, detail the settlers' ultimately unsuccessful efforts to obtain sovereignty over the land. In the process, wrote the Journal of African History's James W. Walker, the colonists "describe their daily experiences . . . and at the same time illustrate the development of a distinct society in those difficult early years."

Fyfe also edited and added supplementary materials to the journals of Anna Maria Falconbridge in Narrative of Two Voyages to the River Sierra Leone during the Years 1791-1792-1793. Falconbridge, the wife of abolitionist Alexander Falconbridge, who worked to abolish the slave trade in Africa, wrote about the two years she spent in Sierra Leone in a book that was the first such narrative written by a woman to be published in England. It offers insights into the culture and history of that part of Africa at the time, and Fyfe adds to this historically valuable document by complementing it with some of Alexander Falconbridge's writings, the writings of Anna Maria's second husband, Isaac DuBois, and other correspondence and documents by Falconbridge. The value of this material, asserted David Richardson in the English Historical Review, is "further increased . . . by Christopher Fyfe's short but excellent introduction to her writings, by his editorial commentary on them, and perhaps most importantly of all by his decision to include other related materials with Anna Maria's narrative."



English Historical Review, September, 2001, David Richardson, review of Narrative of Two Voyages to the River Sierra Leone during the Years 1791-1792-1793, p. 977.

Journal of African History, May, 1993, James W. Walker, review of "Our Children Free and Happy": Letters from Black Settlers in Africa in the 1790s, p. 352; January, 2001, John Hargreaves, "An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa," p. 171.

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