Accepted paper:

Positive Action as proposed in Nkrumah's newspapers

Authors:

Gail Presbey (University of Detroit Mercy)

Paper short abstract:

My paper will look at the ways in which Nkrumah's newspapers in Gold Coast championed the idea and methods of nonviolent action. Named and pseudonymous authors explained how Ghanaians are rational and self-controlled, unlike the more brutish British who rely on force.

Paper long abstract:

When Kwame Nkrumah went back to Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1947 to become involved in the struggle for independence from British colonialism there, he was highly committed to two ideals at the time, both articulated in the 5th PAC Manifesto (which he helped draft at the 1945 PAC in Manchester, England): first, that the time was ripe for African countries to gain full political independence from their colonial masters; and second, that they should gain this independence through Gandhian-inspired nonviolent methods. Nkrumah started his own newspaper, Accra Evening News, which carried many articles warning that, if necessary, people would resort to Positive Action as a last recourse against British intransigence. My paper will look at the ways in which Nkrumah's newspapers in Gold Coast championed the idea and methods of nonviolent action. Named and pseudonymous authors explained how Ghanaians are rational and self-controlled, unlike the more brutish British who rely on force. The news and opinion articles will be compared to Nkrumah's more direct communication in "What I Mean by Positive Action." Nkrumah's approach was tied into the rhetoric and tactics of a much larger movement against colonialism, but the newspapers attest to a particular understanding and approach adopted to the Ghanaian context. The Pan-African movement was further shaped in the next few years by the influx of outsiders who, like Bill Sutherland, advocated for the continuance of nonviolent action, and Frantz Fanon, who, as conference attendee and then Ambassador to Ghana, did not want violence ruled out.

panel His07
Pan-Africanism between Unity and Divergence (1950-60s)