Thomas Alexander Leighton Decker or Tommy Decker OBE (25 July 1916 - 7 September 1978) was a Sierra Leonean linguist, poet, and journalist. He is best known for his work on the Krio language and for translating Shakespeare's Julius Caesar into the Krio language. Decker argued forcefully that the Krio language was not merely a patois but a legitimate language. Because Decker argued that Krio was not a patois, his contributions and revisions to the Krio language greatly influenced and added to the revival and appreciation of the language.
Thomas Decker was born to Sierra Leonean parents, Joseph Leighton Decker and Jane Decker (née Fraser), in Calabar, Nigeria. His father was a colonial surveyor and architect, while his mother was a trader. Decker was the fourth child and had six siblings, one of whom later studied to become a doctor in England.
His mother, Jane, was from a large family from Murray Town, descended from David Pakudi Fraser, a Liberated African slave (of Nigerian origin) who after being freed from the holds of a slave ship was settled in Murray Town. Jane was the eldest daughter of Thomas Crowley Fraser, the son of Pakudi Fraser. T. C. Fraser was a successful merchant and one-time Justice of Peace of the Waterloo District in Sierra Leone. The Fraser family was quite prominent and alongside the Hyde family (some branches of Hydes were of Fraser stock) owned large plots of land in Murray Town.
Thomas Decker attended the CMS Grammar School in Lagos until the death of his father in 1920, when his mother decided to move the family back to Sierra Leone and where he attended the CMS Grammar School in Freetown. After graduating from the grammar school, Decker entered the Teacher Training Department at Fourah Bay College. After completing his training, Decker taught for eighteen months before deciding to become a journalist and writer.
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