Senate Resolution Celebrating the 100th Birthday of the late Kwane Nkrumah

September 11, 2009

LEGISLATIVE  RESOLUTION celebrating the 100th Birthday of the late  Kwame Nkrumah, and paying tribute to his many contributions to Pan-Africanism on Monday, September 21, 2009 WHEREAS,  It  is  the  custom  of  this  Legislative Body to honor those  distinguished individuals whose lifework and civic  endeavor  served  to enhance the quality of life in their communities; and

WHEREAS,  Attendant to such concern, and in full accord with its long standing traditions, this Legislative Body is justly proud to celebrate the  100th Birthday of the late Kwame Nkrumah, and to pay tribute to his  many contributions to Pan-Africanism on Monday, September 21, 2009; and

WHEREAS, In 1909, Kwame Nkrumah was born to Madam Nyaniba in Nkroful, Gold  Coast;  he graduated from the prestigious Achimota School in Accra  in 1930, studied at a Roman Catholic Seminary, and taught at a  Catholic school  in Axim; in 1935, he left Ghana for the United States, receiving a BA degree from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in  1939,  where  he pledged  the  Mu  Chapter  of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and later received an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) degree in 1942; and

WHEREAS, Kwame Nkrumah earned a Master of Science degree in  Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942, and a Master of Arts degree in  Philosophy  the following year; while lecturing in political science at Lincoln University, he was elected president of the African  Students Organization of America and Canada; and

WHEREAS,  As  an  undergraduate  at  Lincoln University, Kwame Nkrumah  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, he preached at black Presbyterian Churches in Philadelphia and  New  York  City,  read  books about politics and divinity, and tutored students in philosophy; and

WHEREAS,  Kwame Nkrumah encountered the ideas of Marcus Garvey, and in 1943 met and began a lengthy  correspondence  with  Trinidadian  Marxist C.L.R. James, Russian expatriate Raya Dunayevskaya, and Chinese-American Grace  Lee  Boggs,  all  of  whom  were members of a US based Trotskyist intellectual cohort; Kwame Nkrumah later credited  James  with  teaching him 'how an underground movement worked'; and

WHEREAS,  Kwame  Nkrumah arrived in London in May of 1945 intending to study at the LSE; after meeting with George Padmore, he helped  organize the  Fifth  Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England; he then founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonization  of Africa;  in  addition,  he  served as Vice-President of the West African Students' Union (WASU); and

 WHEREAS, Returning to Ghana in  1947,  Kwame  Nkrumah  became  general secretary  of  the newly founded United Gold Coast Convention, but split from it in 1949 to form the Convention People's Party (CPP); and

 WHEREAS, After his 'positive action' campaign created disturbances in 1950,  Kwame  Nkrumah  was  jailed,  but  when  the  CPP  swept the 1951 elections, he was freed to form a government, and he led the colony to independence as Ghana in 1957; and

WHEREAS,  Kwame  Nkrumah  was  an influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, and the leader of Ghana and its predecessor  state,  the Gold  Coast, from 1952 to 1966; over his lifetime, he was awarded honorary doctorates by Lincoln University;  Moscow  State  university;  Cairo University  in  Cairo, Egypt; Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland; Humboldt University in the former East Berlin; and several other institutions; and  

WHEREAS,  Kwame  Nkrumah  was the motivating force behind the movement for independence of Ghana, then British West Africa, and its first president when it became independent in 1957; his numerous writings  address Africa's political destiny; and  

WHEREAS,  A firm believer in African liberation, Kwame Nkrumah pursued a radical Pan-African policy, playing a key role in the formation of the  Organization of African Unity in 1963; and  

WHEREAS, In 1964, Kwame Nkrumah formed a one-party state; he was over thrown by the military in 1966, with the help  of  western  backing and spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972;  his legacy and dream of a "United States of Africa" still remains a goal among many; and

WHEREAS, Kwame Nkrumah's distinguished record merits  the  recognition and respectful tribute of this Legislative Body; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED,  That  this  Legislative  Body pause in its deliberations to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the late Kwame Nkrumah, and to pay tribute to his many contributions to Pan-Africanism on Monday, September 21, 2009.