The story is told of the first black African woman to ever have a degree from the prestigious Oxford University in the person of a Nigerian who came to be known as Lady Ademola.
Ademola was born Oloori Kofoworla to the Egba royal family of Western Nigeria. Ademola's family hailed from the major Nigerian ethnic group of Yoruba.
Omoba Eric Olawolu Moore, Ademola's father, was a prominent lawyer in colonial Nigeria who married an African-American slave descendant returnee, Aida Arabella.
The accidental privilege of Ademola's family meant that she got access to quality education and a purposeful upbringing.
She was taken to live and school in the UK and USA where her father believed she would attain the best of education.
Ademola's father sent her to Vassar College in New York and later moved on to Potway College in Reading, UK and then finally, St Hugh’s College in Oxford.
By 1935, she reportedly had developed a keen interest in English literature and Education.
She later got enrolled into Oxford University where she graduated with a degree in Education and English by the time she was only 22 years old.
This milestone made her the very first African black woman to earn a degree from Oxford University.
Lady Ademola did not rest at the point of earning a degree. Tapping into her own experience, she is celebrated for writing a short autobiography that called out the challenges of blacks in a white-controlled society.
Ademola's 21-page paper challenged British stereotypes about Africans that needed to change for the benefit of the next generations of blacks who found themselves in western environment.
She also helped establish two girls' schools, New Era Girls’ Secondary and Girls Secondary Modern School, both in Lagos for young Nigerian women.
Ademola was awarded the membership of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) By Queen Elizabeth in 1959, hence her title of "Lady", although it is not the appropriate designation.
She passed away on May 15, 2002, at the age of 88 having contributed her widow's mite to Nigeria and Africa's cause for dignity and equality.
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