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"The Matter is a Bit Urgent" Education of Miss Florence Peters: One Gambian Fathers Petitions to the British Colonial Government 1948-1952

Catherine Cymone Fourshey


Unlike the British state, which focused in its colonies and at home on education that promoted, produced, and perpetuated a cult of domesticity and distinct gendered spheres, Lenrie Peters did not accept such a narrow definition of education for his daughter, Florence. By the time Florence Peters returned in early 1953 to Bathurst at her fathers expense after six years studying in England, she was a great resource and asset to The Gambia and the colonial government that administered the territory. Yet her attempt to gain access to education was no simple achievement, it was in fact a struggle. She was a woman and a colonial subject looking to attend university in England at the end of World War II. The urgent matters of Miss Florence Peters education, sponsorship, and sea passage home illustrate the conflicting aims of achieving development in a colony while simultaneously investing few resources into education or any other sector in the colony. This paper provides a preliminary analysis of education in the Gambia in the mid-twentieth century through the experience of one exceptional households struggle to merge their private family ambitions with the British colonial states interests. While the history of education in The Gambia has yet to be fully examined, there is no subject more surprisingly understudied in The Gambias history than women. Yet both examples and sources abound, for those interested in reconstructing this past through the lens of womens experiences and contributions to society building.


aku; bathurst; british colonial government; domesticity; education; florence peters mahoney; gender; Gambia; women

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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