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Dr Kwame Nkrumah

Dr Kwame Nkrumah

Highlights of the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah

1909

The glorious birth of the legend
21 September 1909

The glorious birth of the legend

He was born Francis Nwia Kofi Ngonloma on September 21, 1909, to Kofi Ngonloma of the Asona Clan and Elizabeth Nyanibah of the Anona Clan at Nkroful in the Western Region of what was then known as the Gold Coast.


He would later change his name to Kwame Nkrumah in 1945 in the U.K., preferring Kwame since he was born on a Saturday.

1916

Family life as a young man
06 June 1916

Family life as a young man

Nkrumah’s father did not live with the family because he worked in Half Assini, a town in the Western Region. Nkrumah was just a boy when his father passed away.


Raised by his mother and extended family, Nkrumah spent his childhood “in the village, in the bush and on the nearby sea”, according to one account. His mother later sent him to the elementary school run by a Catholic mission at Half Assini, where he performed incredibly well.

1925

Pupil teacher days and Achimota School influence
06 June 1925

Pupil teacher days and Achimota School influence

By 1925, Nkrumah was already a student-teacher in the school and even got baptized into the faith before he met Reverend Alec Garden Fraser, principal of the Government Training College (which would become Achimota School) in the Gold Coast’s capital, Accra.


Fraser made arrangements for Nkrumah to train as a teacher in his school, where Nkrumah met the Columbia-educated deputy headmaster Kwegyir Aggrey, who highlighted the ideas of Pan-Africanists, Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois.


Historical accounts state that Aggrey, Fraser, and others at Achimota believed that there should be close cooperation between the races in governing the Gold Coast. However, Nkrumah, following the footsteps of Garvey, would later believe that there could be unity between the races only when the black race governed itself.

1930

Achimota School graduation and start of teaching career
06 June 1930

Achimota School graduation and start of teaching career

In 1930, Nkrumah graduated from Achimota and got a teaching post at the Catholic primary school in Elmina. The following year, he was made headmaster of the school at Axim, where his interest in politics developed, leading him to create the Nzima Literary Society.



1933

Full time teaching opportunity before emigration to the U.S.
07 June 1933

Full time teaching opportunity before emigration to the U.S.

In 1933, he was appointed a teacher at the Catholic seminary at Amissa but he left to further his education in America in 1935 after saving enough cash.


Before the journey, Nkrumah had heard journalist and future Nigerian president Nnamdi Azikiwe speak while a student at Achimota.


Nkrumah met Azikiwe, who inspired him to gain massive interest in black nationalism. Azikiwe had attended Lincoln College, a historically black college in Chester County, Pennsylvania, south of Philadelphia, and he advised Nkrumah to enrol there.


1939

Lincoln University
01 June 1939

Lincoln University

In 1935, Nkrumah finally sailed from Gold Coast to London and applied for an American visa from there. In the same year, he got admission to the Lincoln University of Pennsylvania.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Sociology in 1939 and earned a Sacred Theology degree.

1942

Master's degree from University of Pennsylvania
04 June 1942

Master's degree from University of Pennsylvania

Nkrumah pursued further studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics where he earned a Master of Science degree and the following year another Master’s degree in philosophy respectively.

1945

Political activism while in school
07 June 1945

Political activism while in school

While studying at Lincoln University, Nkrumah was elected as the president of the African Students Organization of the United States and Canada, and later continued his schooling in England, where he helped to organise the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester in 1945.


Later serving as Vice-President of the West African Students’ Union (WASU), Nkrumah founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonization of Africa.

1947

Return to the Gold Coast to continue political activism
07 June 1947

Return to the Gold Coast to continue political activism

Nkrumah was invited to become the General Secretary of the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC). In 1947, he returned home and took up that position.


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