An African in Imperial London
The Indomitable Life of A.B.C. Merriman-Labor
New Books in African StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 12, 2019 Al Zambone
In 1919 a man named Ohlohr Maigi died of tuberculosis in London, in deep poverty. He had arrived over a decade before in the imperial capital bearing different name, seeking education, fame and fortune. Some of these he had found, but ultimately he had found much more adversity than success. Ultimately, as Danell Jones writes, he had spiraled downward on the social ladder, from barrister to worker in a munitions factory, from a satirist of the social order to a tuberculosis patient in a state hospital.
This is the story she tells in An African in Imperial London: The Indomitable Life of A.B.C. Merriman-Labor (Hurst, 2018). It is a meticulously researched book about a man whose life, while it might be obscure, opens upon an interesting view. And like all good historical biography, it provokes us to think differently about the past and about ourselves–about our choices, our failures, our successes, and our luck.