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Dr. Kwame Nkrumah led Ghana to independence from Britain in 1957 and served as its first prime minister and president. Nkrumah first gained power as leader of the colonial Gold Coast, and held it until he was deposed in 1966.An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962.
He attended Achimota School and also trained as a teacher. He went to the United States in 1935 for advanced studies receiving a B.A. from Lincoln University in 1939. He also received an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) in 1942, a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942, and a Master of Arts in Philosophy the following year.
Dr Nkrumah continued his schooling in England, where he helped to organize the Fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945. Then he founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonization of Africa. Nkrumah also served as Vice-President of the West African Students' Union (WASU).
During his lifetime, Nkrumah was awarded honorary doctorates by Lincoln University, Moscow State University, Cairo University, Jagielloniaan University in Krakow, Poland, and Humboldt University in former East Germany.
Dr Nkrumah was invited to serve as the General Secretary to the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) under Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah.
On June 12, 1949, Dr Nkrumah led the formation of the CPP at Arena in Accra before a crowd of some 60,000. He was made Chairman, with Komla Agbeli Gbedemah as Vice Chairman and Kojo Botsio as Secretary.
Dr Nkrumah was arrested on January 21, 1950, tried for inciting an illegal strike and sedition for an article in the Cape Coast Daily Mail and sentenced to three years imprisonment. Mr Gbedemah kept the party running and was in constant touch with Dr Nkrumah who was held at the James Fort prison from where messages were smuggled out on toilet paper to the party headquarters.
While in prison, Dr Nkrumah led the CPP to achieve a stunning victory in the February 1951 elections. He was freed to form a government, and he led the colony to independence as Ghana in 1957. A firm believer in African liberation, Nkrumah pursued a radical pan-African policy, playing a key role in the formation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.
As time passed, he was accused of being a dictator and in 1964 also of forming a one-party state, with himself as president for life as well as actively promoting a cult of his own personality.
Overthrown by the military in 1966, with the help of Western backing, he spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972. His legacy and dream of a "United States of African" still remains a goal among many.
This quote resonates with many, and has been used by many. It is one that resonates with many children of the diaspora.