Introduction

Welcome to Our Lagos History, a digital archive, created for the preservation and dissemination of rare historical records on the cultural, social, and political history of Lagos from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. They include letters, newspapers, pamphlets, and photographs, which enlightens these three themes: politics of chieftaincy in Lagos, Lagosians engagement with British colonial rule, and debate about citizenship in post-independence Lagos. Some of the records were digitized in their original format while others are incomplete due to their delicate nature.

These materials were collected from the private libraries of Chief Honorable Adekunle Alli and Late Professor Olakunle Lawal, who have contributed to the development of Lagos history and cultural life. For more than thirty years, Hon. Alli, a bibliophile and public historian, and Prof. Lawal, a professor of history have shaped Lagos history through their public service and scholarly devotions. At various times, they have shared their repository and knowledge with individuals and public figures including Sandra Barnes, Professor Emeritus of anthropology at University of Pennsylvania and Drs. Habeeb Sanni and Bashir Animashaun of the Department of History at Lagos State University. Our Lagos History honors the work Hon. Alli and Late Lawal by circulating some of the primary documents that they have collected from archives in the United Kingdom and Nigeria throughout their careers as well as their published and unpublished writings.

The coordinators, Somotan Halimat and Jimoh Oluwasegun worked with Hon. Alli to preserve the archival materials located in his home. They also contributed to an endowment to create a center at Lagos State University in honor of Prof. Lawal, which will house his personal collection. History in Action at Columbia University (http://historyinaction.columbia.edu/), which aims to enhance public access to historical knowledge and resources has supported this project. Our Lagos History provides opportunities for audiences to formulate new questions and ideas on Lagos and contemporary life.