The Benin Social Circle was at the center of an evolving elite citizenry in Benin City. Founded in 1938 by Elijah Osahene Gbinigie and other prominent citizens, the circle counted among its members respected businessmen, teachers, chiefs, and educated individuals. They held monthly meetings, hosted lectures and debates, and sponsored social events like ballroom dances and picnics. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president, was a guest lecturer for one of the first meetings in 1938 (seated first row, center left).
Alonge was one of the founding members of the Benin Social Circle (back row, far left) and was highly respected among his peers, teachers, and community leaders. In 2018, the Benin Social Circle celebrated its 80th anniversary. Its current membership includes the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of the founding members.
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If you recognize any of the individuals in this photograph, reference the letter assigned to each person and submit information to the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives via email (place Ideal Photo Studio in subject line). As staff verify the information, exhibition labels and archives records will be updated.