Commemorating Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah’s visit to USA and Canada
Photograph by Ghana Information Services, c. 1958
EEPA Postcard Collection, GH-20-09
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
© Ghana Information Services
Osagyefo (“Redeemer,” in Fante), he was a symbol of independent Africa’s great expectations—and dimmed hopes.
1909–1972, b. Nkroful, Ghana
Worked in Accra
We face neither East nor West: we face forward.
—Kwame Nkrumah, Commonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference, 1960
• Breaking with more moderate politicians seeking eventual independence, Nkrumah formed the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) as a platform through which to organize a campaign of strikes, protests, and nonviolent noncooperation against the British.
• Nkrumah’s CPP won early elections under British rule and, when independence came in 1957, he became the new nation’s first prime minister. Ghana was the first occupied African nation south of the Sahara to win its freedom.
• Nkrumah was an outspoken advocate for pan-Africanism, as both a cultural and political platform, from which he anticipated Ghana would lead the rest of the continent from occupation. He became a global symbol for Black liberation.
• Nkrumah’s government became increasingly authoritarian. He won a referendum in 1960 that made Ghana a republic and Nkrumah president (he became president-for-life in 1964).
• Ghana’s army staged a coup in 1966, ousting Nkrumah from power. He lived the remainder of his life in exile. Ghana subsequently faced a series of intermittent, disruptive military coups in the following three decades.