funded his 'Self-Supporting Evangelist Band' (1900) through trade, and wrote two books in which he tried to articulate Christian theology with indigenous knowledge, arguing that the Yoruba deity, Orunmila, was a prefiguration ofJesus. The educationist Henry Car asserted that education was a crucial tool for building the African self-image. Car and the more famous Ghanaian J. E. K. Aggrey (1875-1927) of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, inspired a generation of educationists. The ambiguity in the movement was encapsulated in the career of James 'Holy' Johnson (c. 1836-1917) who led the movement before he was transferred from Sierra Leone to Lagos. He had a reputation for unbending evangelicalism and as an agitator for African rights to education and ecclesiastical independence. He insisted on fighting the battle from inside the Anglican Church and would not be persuaded to secede. He did not even accept the platform of polygamy as the basis for Ethiopianism. The same pragmatism characterised the ideals ofJulius Ojo-Cole who was not averse to borrowing the best of other civilisations to improve Africa as long as it was affirmed that each race of people possessed its genius and must unite, and cooperate to foster a spirit ofnational consciousness and radical pride. He was a founding member of the West African Students' Union, published the journal West African Review and sought to introduce a new type of education in West Africa.12 Many of the Ethiopianists were inspired by Blyden but did not share Blyden's optimism about the spread of Islam. From Liberia, Blyden travelled widely to promote the cause in Africa and America. His lecture in Lagos in 1891, entitled 'The return of the exiles', encapsulated the heart of the movement. Acknowledging the sacrifices of white missionaries, he argued none the less that the destiny of Christianity lay in the hands of Africans or, as a weekly newspaper in Sierra Leone reported a speech by Agbebi in 1892, 'the sphinx must solve her own riddle. The genius of Africa must unravel its own enigma.' Blyden braided cultural, religious and political strands of nationalism into a coherent prophetic logic of African response to the missionary structure and message. As he told the sixty-third meeting of the American Colonization Society in 1880:
Africa may yet prove to be the spiritual conservatory of the world. Just as in past times, Egypt proved the stronghold of Christianity after Jerusalem fell, and just as the noblest and greatest of the Fathers of the Christian Church came out of Egypt, so it may be, when the civilised nations, in consequence of their wonderful material development, have had their spiritual perceptions darkened and their spiritual susceptibilities blunted through the agency of a
12 Olusanya, 'Julius Ojo-Cole'.
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