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Philip Quaque

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Philip Quaque

Philip Quaque (1741 – 17 October 1816) was the first African to be ordained as a minister of the Church of England.

Biography

Born in Cape Coast and named Kweku, he was said to be the son of Birempong Cudjo. In 1754, Kweku was one of three Fante children taken to England for education by a missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

Of the three children, Thomas Cobbers died in 1758, while William Cudjoe suffered a mental breakdown and died in 1766. Kweku fared better. The two brothers were baptised at St Mary's Church, Islington on 7 January 1759, which they had attended for four years.[1] Kweku took the name Philip. In London, he studied theology and in 1765 was ordained in the Church of England. The same year, he married Catherine Blunt, an English woman, and the two returned to Cape Coast the following year.

The Royal African Company employed Quaque as the chaplain at Cape Coast Castle. He set up a small school in his own house, "especially for the training of Mulatto children who were growing in large numbers",[2] and attempted to work as a missionary, but having forgotten most of his Fante, he was unable to make any conversions. He married twice more, and in 1784 sent his two children for education in London.

References


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