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4.1 Introduction to Interviews and Information Gathering Conducted on or on behalf of Ann O’Hear 1980-1988 and Onwards: Text

     From 1976 to 1985, I was employed as a lecturer in history at the (then) Kwara State College of Technology, Ilorin, Nigeria, apart from the year 1983 when I was on leave in Birmingham writing my Ph.D. thesis. The focus of my research was on the economic history (precolonial and later) of the city and environs of Ilorin, including its craft industries, its trade, and its “Metropolitan Districts,” where its agricultural slaves and ex-slaves were to be found. I was also developing an interest in slavery specifically.

     In 1988, I was awarded a U.S. Social Science Research Council grant to embark on a study of slavery in Ilorin and its environs. During a six-week research visit to Nigeria, I was able to begin the process of information gathering which led to the production of a number of works on slavery and associated topics in the Ilorin area. The process of oral information gathering continued over a number of years, thanks to the aid of a number of able research associates whom I was able to recruit.

     Section 4 of this collection deals specifically with interviews conducted/information gathered between 1980 and 1988. As in other sections, I have made transcriptions of some material, due to problems including fragility and/or legibility of paper copies.