"Among diehard African political activists and Pan-Africanists, Nkrumah was and continues to remain a revered hero, committed nationalist and Pan-Africanist deserving of high esteem.” (Biney)
Ama Biney is able to summarize what exactly Kwame Nkrumah meant and continues to mean for Africa and its history. It is quite often that Kwame Nkrumah is mentioned in the same breath as the famous Nelson Mandela, but why is Nkrumah not as famous if not more famous? He was in power before Mandela, believed in African nationalism, had a great understanding of socialism/communism, was a great communicator of his political beliefs and believed in the Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism, of course was made popular by the also famous W.E.B. DuBois. To accurately understand who Kwame Nkrumah was, and why he is not as revered as Mandela, we must understand three major areas of Nkrumah’s life; his upbringing, inspirations and education, his coming to power, and his fall from grace. These three areas are clear sections of Nkrumah’s life we can easily dissect to get a full understanding of the legacy of Kwame Nkrumah.
Upbringing, inspirations and education
As previously stated, Nkrumah believed in one day uniting Africa. In his early age Nkrumah was able to travel to the United States to begin his studies. Studying at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania he became heavily influenced by the philosophies of Karl Marx and Lenin. He enjoyed the thought of redistributing wealth and increasing productivity. He was also inspired by the writings Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois. He believed in returning Africans to their homeland (Africa) but was a far better communicator and promoter than W.E.B. Dubois. Once arriving in England to study at the London School of Economics, Nkrumah befriended George Padmore. It was with Padmore that Nkrumah was able to organize the 5th Pan-African Congress. Kwame Nkrumah was often described as magnetic and an incredible speaker. It was because of this that DuBois and others, who agreed on Pan-Africanism, supported Kwame Nkrumah in his entire advocacy.
Although influenced by Dubois on Pan-Africanism, Kwame Nkrumah held a slightly different viewpoint. Dubois believed, as did many others, in returning all Africans from the globe to Africa. In his thoughts he believed this would achieve two results with one movement, raise the number of educated Africans and strengthen Africa’s voice globally. Returning African slaves to Africa was popular in America and with the American Press. Nkrumah’s views differed slightly by realizing that although this was advantageous position, it was not very realistic. He was able to understand that for different reasons many blacks would not choose to return to Africa. Nkrumah understood that even when being discriminated against, the idea of returning to Africa and enjoying freedom meant living an almost primitive life in comparison.
It was for this reason that Nkrumah endorsed a...