Anton Wilhelm Amo (1703 – 58)

There resided here for some time an African called Antonius Wilhelmus Amo who belonged in the household of his Royal Highness. As he had before then thoroughly mastered the Latin language, he very diligently and with great success studied here in the School of private law. As a result, he became most accomplished in that field. With the knowledge and consent of his patrons, who had maintained him up till that time, he registered with Dean von Ludewig to give a public defense of dissertation under him. To make the argument of the dissertation appropriate to his status and circumstance, they approved for him the them “De Jure Maurorum in Europa”: in other words, on the rights of Black Africans in Europe. In it, not only has he shown, basing himself upon Law and History, that African kings were once vassal to the Roman Emperor, and that every one of them had an imperial patent, which Justinian, too, had granted, but he especially also examined the question to what extent the freedom of service of Africans in Europe, who had been purchased by Christians, accorded with laws commonly accepted at that time. – Notice of Amo’s Dissertation, University journal at Halle. Source: “Anton Wilhelm Amo,” William E. Abraham, A Companion to African Philosophy, p. 192.