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Planting the Baha’i Faith in West Africa: The First Decade

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Chapter Summary

From their beginnings, the Babi and Baha'i religions were conceived by their founders as world religions, comparable in universality and in divine mission to Christianity or Islam. Both the Bab and Baha'u'llah owned black African slaves who were intimately involved in every aspect of their households. The African American pioneers to Liberia included Vivian Wesson, who arrived with Mavis Nymon in August 1954. The list of territories with no Baha'is for West Africa included: the Ashanti Protectorate, British Cameroons, British Togoland, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, French Equatorial Africa, French West Africa, French Cameroons, French Togoland, Gambia, Northern Territories Protectorate, Portuguese Guinea, Spanish Guinea, and St. Thomas Island. The early history of the Baha'i faith in Nigeria differs somewhat from the narratives of other West African countries, since there was Baha'is in Nigeria from the 1940s - before Shoghi Effendi called for Baha'i pioneers to disperse to Africa.

Keywords:African American pioneers; Baha'i; Baha'u'llah; British Cameroons; French Cameroons; Gambia; Nigeria; Portuguese Guinea; Shoghi Effendi; West Africa

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