Henry Carr (1863-1945) was a Nigerian educator and administrator, he was one of the most prominent West Africans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and was a member of the legislative council in Lagos from 1918-1924
Henry Carr was born in Lagos and migrated to Sierra Leone for his secondary school education. In Sierra Leone, he attended Fourah Bay College where he received an honours degree, he was the first graduate of the school to achieve the feat. After leaving Fourah Bay in 1882, he went to England and signed up for courses at Lincoln's Inn, St. Mark's College, Chelsea and the Science College at Kensington. He returned to Nigeria in 1885. He taught at the Church Missionary School, Lagos until joining the Colonial Civil Service in 1888. Whilst still an assistant inspector of schools he visited St. Mark's College, Chelsea in 1895. He progressed in the Civil Service to the rank of Inspector of Schools in 1898. He was the first black man to do so. In Lagos, Nigeria, he continued to progress doing much work on the Board of Education and became the resident of the colony of Lagos in 1920. He appears to be the first black man under British colonial rule to achieve this position. ref>Boniface I. Obichere; Studies in Southern Nigerian History, Cass, 1982</ref> Henry Carr was one of the few West Africans during the early twentieth century that broke barriers in colonial governance. Before the Second World War, few Africans rose beyond the position of chief clerk in colonial administration. While as the death rate of Europeans declined in west Africa, many expatriates came to the country and gained administrative positions, as the colonial officers readily accepted expatriates and helped advanced their careers, this situation further diminished the chances of West Africans to take more administrative responsibilities.[2 ] Reasons given to limit the career advancement of Africans were the suspicions British officials had about Africans ethical disposition, due to an earlier embezzlement case in Ghana. However, this was a single case, and some critics questioned whether there were sinister motives behind the policy.[2 ]
Like his political foe, Herbert Macaulay, Carr collected a voluminous collection of books, totaling 18,000. Most of the books like those of Macaulay were donated to the University College, Ibadan. Carr was considered to be a member of the early Lagos political movements that favored assimilation with the European colonists.
Dr. Henry Rawlinson Carr, B.A Dunelm (1882); M.A., B.C.L Dunelm by examination and private study (1906); Honorary D.C.L Dunelm (1934); I.S.O (1920); O.B.E. (1929); C.B.E (1934); school master, Lagos Grammar School (1885-1889); inspector of schools of the Colony of Lagos (1900 and 1903-1906); senior inspector of schools of the Western Provinces of the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria (1906-1915); chief inspector of schools of the Southern Provinces of Nigeria (1915-1928).
Commissioner (later renamed Resident) of the Colony of Lagos (1918-1924); member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn (registered 1909), worshipful chancellor of (Diocese of Western Equatorial) Africa (1906-1919) and of the Lagos Diocese (1920-1945), First vice president (the first president was Governor Sir William MacGregor) of the Lagos Institute for the Study of Arts and Letters etc.
Official member of the Board of Education of the Colony and Southern Provinces of Nigeria (1926-1945), of the Colony of Lagos School Committee 1913-45, of the Board of Advisers of Higher College, Yaba, (1934-44), of Queen's College, Lagos (1939-45), of the Assessment Committee for Rates and Taxes of Lagos Township (1929-37); of the Nigerian Legislative Council (1933-44).
Visitor and member of the Visiting Committee of Lagos Prisons (1925-37), member of the Board of Governors of Igbobi College, Yaba (1937-1945), "Architect" of Kings College, Lagos; book collector, matchless educationist, orator, musician, distinguished civil servant.