Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah /Martin L. King Jr.



Kwame Nkrumah graduated from the Achimota School in Accra in
1930, later studying at the Roman Catholic Seminary and teaching at the Catholic school in Axim. In 1935 he left  Ghana for the United States, receiving a BA from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania in 1939, where he pledged the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta  Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and in 1942 received an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology). He also earned a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania  in 1942 and a Master of Arts in philosophy the following year. While lecturing in political science at Lincoln he was elected president of the African Students Organization of America and Canada. As an undergraduate at Lincoln he participated in at least one student theater production and published an essay on European government in Africa in the student newspaper, The Lincolnian.

During his time in the United States, Nkrumah visited and preached in black Presbyterian Churches in Philadelphia and New York City. He read books about politics and divinity. He encountered the ideas of Marcus Garvey. He also tutored other students in philosophy. He also met the Trinidadian Marxist C.L.R. James in 1943, and later described how it was from James, then a Trotskyist, that he learnt 'how an underground movement worked'.

He arrived in London in May 1945 intending to study at the LSE. However, after meeting with George Padmore he helped to organize the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England. After that he founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonization of Africa. He also became Vice-President of the West African Students' Union (WASU).

Nkrumah was later awarded honorary doctorates by Lincoln University, Moscow State University; Cairo University in Cairo, Egypt; Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland; Humboldt University in the former East Berlin; and other universities.

As a leader of this government, Nkrumah faced three serious challenges. First, he needed to learn the art of government. Second, he needed to create a unified nation of Ghana from the four territories of the Gold Coast. Third, he needed to win his nation’s independence. Nkrumah was successful at all three goals. Within nine years of his release from prison, he was the executive president of a unified nation with complete political freedom.