Horton, James Africanus
Sierra Leonean physician
James Africanus Beale Horton, an IGBO from West Africa, became a physician and served for 20 years as a medical officer and administrator. He also wrote books on medicine and on the political situation in the region.
Born in SIERRA LEONE to a father who had been rescued from a slave ship, Horton grew up in the capital, FREETOWN. At the time race was not a barrier to advancement there. Educated at mission schools, Horton went on to train in Britain as an army medical officer. He served in West Africa and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After retiring from the army in 1879, he formed a gold-mining company and opened a bank in Freetown.
Horton published nine books, including a textbook on tropical diseases. His best known work, West African Countries and Peoples: A Vindication of the Negro Race (1868), challenged racial theories of the day. It also proposed many of the political changes that occurred after the end of the colonial period. (See also Healing and Medicine, Health Care.)