Lati Hyde-Forster, MBE: The First Woman To Graduate From Fourah Bay College

Today’s insight on Black History Month captures a peculiar example worthy of feminine emulation. A woman who stood the test of time and contributed to the cause of national growth.

Latilewa Christiana Hyde was born on 14 June 1911, in Freetown, British Sierra Leone. The daughter of Christiana nee Fraser and Jonathan Hyde, she was already a member of a humble and decent family. Her mother was Murray Town’s postmistress and registrar of births and death. She also played the organ. Jonathan Hyde was a Methodist minister and a graduate of Ranmoor College, Sheffield. He majored in Theology.

She gained her secondary education at Annie Walsh Memorial School.

Hyde-Forster did the unexpected in 1938 when she became the first woman to graduate from Fourah Bay College. An unfamiliar spectacle at the time. She was once told, “she’d gone to college to lead a loose life”. Furthermore, Hyde-Forster faced humiliation and troubling times during her days on campus.

In 1947, she got married, eventually adapting the surname Hyde-Forster.

In that same year, she was employed as a senior teacher at Methodist Girls High School, Gambia.

She returned to her alma mater in 1961 as Vice Principal. Within that period, she became the first black female principal in Sierra Leone.

She passed away on September 11, 2001, at the age of 90. To date, she is celebrated for her exemplary value to the field of education. Hyde-Forster was awarded an MBE for her esteemed services to education and the community.

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