Anytime we talk about Ghana’s independence we narrow the effort to the Big Six, forgetting the contributions some individuals made when recalling events and activities leading to independence.Here are some notable Pan-africans who in one way or the other helped Nkrumah and Ghana to break free from Britain’s colonial rule.
Rarely do we hear of these individuals. Individuals who did everything within their power to make sure the independence dream was made a reality.
American civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois also known as W.E.B Du Bois was born on febuary 23 1868.Du Bois was a leader in the pan-African movement that sought solidarity between all people of African descent. He was a major influence on Nkrumah, especially after they met at the 1945 Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England.
In 1957, Nkrumah with the influence and help of W.E.B.Du Bois led Ghana to break free from Britain’s colonial rule, making it the first African country to win independence.When Ghana gained independence in March 1957 Du Bois was invited by Nkrumah to grace our independence ceremony but he was stripped of his passport and rendered an outcast by the US government for eight years with allegations that he led a noble action that sought to fight for the freedom of slaves.
When Ghana Finally became a republic in July 1960, Kwame Nkrumah again invited his mentor and the father of Pan-africanism to join him in Ghana. Dr. Du Bois accepted the invitation (By then His passport had been returned to him) and took up the task of researching and compiling the African Diaspora. He setteled in Accra, Ghana precisely House No. 22 1st Circular Road in Cantonment where today, the W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture is located.
The civil rights activist, freedom fighter and peace activist died at the age of 95 in Accra. His tomb where his body lies alongside the ashes of his wife Shirley Graham Du Bois, are the centerpiece at the Du Bois memorial.
The Du Bois Centre consists of memorabilia and his personal library. The Centre was established in 1985 by the government of Ghana to encourage visitors to anticipate the ideals to Pan Africanism and to reflect upon the work of Dr. Du Bois.
Indeed, Dr. Du Bois cannot be left out in Ghana’s history and the centre with his agenda and activities will help to rekindle the spirit of Pan Africanism in Ghana and Africa at large.
Malcolm Ivan Meredith Born on June 28, 1903 in Trinidad. Malcolm was also a journalist, and an author who later changed his name to George Padmore, as he delved deeper in Pan-africanism.
He followed his Pan-africanism dreams to settle in Accra where he wrote dozens of articles for Nkrumah’s newspaper, the Accra Evening News, and wrote a history of The Gold Coast Revolution (1953).
Padmore encouraged the leader (Nkrumah) through his writings and talks to fight for colonial freedom. Nkrumah with the help of Padmore published his autobiography in 1957, the year the Gold Coast became independent Ghana.
Padmore got ill and died on September 23, 1959, his body was burried in Accra beside his library. The George Padmore Research Library which was set up in June 1961 by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in commemoration of Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse .
Marcus Garvey born on August 17, 1887 at Saint Ann’s Bay in Jamaica. He was against everything which kept people irrespective of their color in conditions of slavery and colonial suppresion . He opposed oppression and exploitation in all forms.
He was the guest speaker at the Pan-african Congress in Manchester. For the first time, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other pan-africanist attended the conference where many political persuasions and different ideologies gathered, yet the teachings of Marcus Garvey at the congress in 1945 made Nkrumah understand the need to fight for colonial freedom. Marcus main message was for these Africans who attended the congress return to Africa in the subsequent years to lead their respective nations toward independence and beyond.
Bringing the hopes of Marcus Garvey alive, Kwame Nkrumah returned to Ghana on the invitation of Joseph B. Danquah, to be Head of State. Nkrumah acknowledged his political obligation to the political teachings of Marcus Garvey.
On July 1, 1957, Ghana became a free self-governing nation which sparked African Independence Explosion, through the independence of Ghana.This was symbolical to bringing the hopes of Marcus Garvey alive.
Sir Charles Noble Arden Clarke was born on 25 July 1898 in India. He became the governor of the Gold Coast on August 11 1949 to 6 March 1957.
He arrived in Accra during the aftermath of the 1948 riots, which had shaken the Colonial Office by the threat the people of Gold Coast posed to the colonial secretary by then.
However, despite his leadership on his own initiative, Arden-Clarke released Nkrumah describing it as an act of grace. After fourteen months in prison he invited him to form a government. Although their first meeting was characterized by mutual suspicion, they soon developed a real feeling of friendship and partnership.
‘I was encouraged to move forward to fight for self-government after I meet Arden Clarke’ the state of Africa by Martin Meredith.
So literally Arden Clarke paved the way for Ghana to break free from Britain’s colonial rule. He later left the Gold coast in 1957.
Casley Hayford is another outstanding African journalist who was born on the September 29 1866 in Cape Coast. Through his writings Casley Hayford was able to mobilize support from other West African States in a movement that set the tone for Pan-africanism. He was not only a good journalist but undeniably the most outstanding political leader in West Africa. It was no wonder that he became the front-runner in the formation of the National Congress of British West Africa.
Casley Hayford and the National Congress made a number of requests to the British Crown for local reforms which angered the colonial governor. He also used the columns of the Gold Coast Leader to highlight racial awareness among the people of Gold Coast and to educate them on the need to gain colonial freedom.
Unfortunately, he did not achieve this dream of a free Gold Coast as he passed away in 1930 but anytime Ghana’s independence is being traced, his effort and works is always recognized. Although he didn’t live to see Nkrumah lead Ghana to colonial freedom his effort brought intense pressure on the colonial administration and eventually created the path for independence.
In every struggle,there are unacknowledge, hidden”heros”.They are the building blocks without which success would not be possible,yet so pervasive that they often go unnoticed.So let us not narrow the effort of Ghana’s independence only to the big six but let’s cast our minds back and remember these civil rights leaders behind Ghana’s independence These are some few individuals who played significant role in our quest for independence and need to be recognized and celebrated.
We have men of integrity and honor to steer the affairs of our beloved country. We salute our beloved country. We salute all those who support our Cause.
LONG LIVE GHANA!
LONG LIVE OUR REVOLUTION!!