Morrison, L. R. (2021). Tried In The Fire: The Politics Of Language And Science In James Africanus Beale Horton¿s West African Countries And Peoples (1868). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2438
Throughout the nineteenth century, scientific racism was often used to justify socio-political arguments for slavery and colonialism. Anthropologists, philosophers, biologists, etc. were the scholars who made up the general body politic of white supremacists who supported derogatory racist theories about Africans, African life, and African worldviews. One man, in particular, took a firm stand alongside many of these scholars and challenged their use of science in making flawed and illogical conclusions about the inferiority of Black people and Black life. James Africanus Beale Horton was a Sierra-Leonean born medical doctor, scientist, and Pan Africanist who refuted a lot of the racist theories of his day by way of his Christian education and fluency in science. In his magnum opus West African Countries and Peoples, British and Native: And a Vindication of the African Race (1868), Horton examines the possibilities of sovereignty, independence, and self-government. Horton is a Pan Africanist. But, his version of Pan Africanism appears to be specific to a certain people. This begs the overarching question: How far does Horton¿s Pan Africanism reach? Who is his audience? To whom is he talking? Here then, we discuss Horton¿s relationship to the global African community, his notion of Pan Africanism, his use of science and Christianity to challenge the general assumptions about Black inferiority, and his views on self-government.