3. Ghana & Nkrumah's Influence on MLK, Jr. & the Civil Rights Movement

Uploaded by cahEIU on 11.05.2011

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(Mr. Andre Allen). How's everybody doing today?
Let's give Dr. Abo another hand, him and that shirt.
[audience applause].
But as Dr. Abo stated though previously,
I mean, five degrees, ten years.
Nkrumah is just very inspirational, very influential.
Like being around him, he would rub off on you, and that was
the importance and basically the main synopsis of my paper
of how Nkrumah rubbed off on Martin Luther King in his
Civil Rights Movement as he came back to America.
Martin Luther King as you guys know was
one of the most influential people in the
Civil Rights Movement for blacks in America.
He opened up many doors for many people today.
We all know that.
Some people found him inspirational, some people
found him controversial but regardless he had
black rights at the top of his priority list.
But one of the things that people really don't know is what
really influenced him was his trip to Ghana
in March of 1957 for the Independence of Ghana.
Him and his wife Coretta, they were personally invited
by then Prime Minister Nkrumah in 1957.
Special guests included A. Phillip Randolph,
[unclear audio] Johnson, at the time Vice-President
Richard Nixon also attended the independence celebration.
Just a little background, I know Dr. Abo gave
a great background about Nkrumah.
He was the first born African citizen to be elected
to government excuse me, and later became president.
He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania
for advanced studies.
After 12 years stay in America he returned back to Ghana
in 1947 to pursue a political career.
He saw his country not in a way he wanted it, so he wanted
to go back and change that after his stay in America.
In 1949, the United Gold Coast Convention Party split.
They formed a new party called the Convention Peoples Party.
Nkrumah was very, very, he was a very pushy political figure.
He ruffled a lot of feathers.
He ruffled so many feathers that in 1950
he was actually jailed for his actions how I will say it.
But while he was in jail though he still had the connections
outside the jail to have a strong campaign
and after he was freed in 1951, he was elected president
to form his government and to help Ghana out.
So in 1957 when they eventually become independence from British
or from Britain excuse me he wanted to invite Dr. Martin
Luther King and his wife over to enjoy the celebration.
So he invited him and his wife Coretta over, they come over
on the plane, and they get to this hotel.
Now Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta
they hear the African stereotypes.
They thought that when they were going to get there it was
going to be potentially dirty with cobblestones.
But it wasn't like that.
They get to this beautiful hotel, very luxurious.
The African people treated them like celebrities.
One of the quotes from this book I read was Coretta said,
"I had no idea that it was going to be
this beautiful when I got here."
When they got to Africa they began to rub ideas off each
other, talk about what they are going through
in their personal struggles.
Nkrumah talked about what he had to go through
to finally get Ghana to this point.
Dr. Martin Luther King explained to him what
he's going through in America, his ups, his downs.
They began to discuss colonization versus
racial segregation and come to realize
that they are both the same thing.
They are both two aspects of trying
to keep a group of people down.
They also discussed the economic underdevelopment of Africa.
Nkrumah wanted to let Dr. Martin Luther King know about
the problems that was going on in Africa because if he can get
America on board to help Africa and they can work
with one another, it would all be fine.
People need to realize that even though we are in
two separate continents we are the same group of people.
That was the overall goal was to combine forces.
That's what they were wanting to do.
The trip was very emotional for Dr. Martin Luther King
and his wife, this really, this really inspired him.
One of the quotes from the book I read was him and his wife
actually cried when the British flag came down
and the new Ghana flag was raised.
It was just a symbol of freedom and just of hard work
over so much time has finally just been accomplished.
As him and his wife finally went back to Montgomery,
King changed, he had a new fire in him,
a fire that was never lit before.
Before Dr. Martin Luther King went to Ghana he was
very passive, he grew up in a Christian background,
his father was a pastor so he wasn't as aggressive politically
as you need to be sometimes to get your point across.
But from talking with Nkrumah and seeing the progress that was
made in Ghana, Dr. Martin Luther King finally felt okay if this
guy can go to jail, he can risk his life and they can
accomplish and get from under the British thumb.
It was like a symbol of we can do this in America.
It was an example of it can really happen.
When Martin Luther King came back to America,
he began to meet with different figures.
One of the figures he met with was a historian, CR James.
(Klevor Abo). CLR.
(Mr. Allen). Excuse me CLR James from London.
They just discussed the Ghana movement and
how it related to the rest of America.
Going to Ghana also, it helped Martin Luther King come back
and focus on targets that were hurting blacks in America.
He wanted to focus on the economy now,
the financial affairs of blacks, how pretty much
America was keeping blacks down financially.
They weren't giving them the opportunity to grow
and that's why blacks could never come up.
So he wanted to really focus on the economy, he wanted to focus
on blacks' financial affairs.
He called it, one of his quotes was, "Employers were
committing murder in the first degree."
Because they were not allowing blacks to rise.
It wasn't fair, they weren't giving
them a fair starting point.
He wanted to break through these color barriers.
Ghana really, the Ghana effect on Martin Luther King
was just so astronomical.
I mean, without him going to, without him making that trip
and seeing just the celebration, the happiness, just to see
the hard work just pay off from just suffering.
I just don't think he would have, he would have never have
had that competitive fire if he had not gone to Ghana,
if he had not engaged with Nkrumah.
Nkrumah, I mean as Dr. Abo said, all the
accomplishments he's had, I mean it's hard not to
be around a person like that and not be affected.
Sometimes you need to get around people that have been through
the fire to get your fire going.
And that's exactly the effect the Nkrumah
had on Dr. Martin Luther King.
To this day, Ghana still actually holds a celebration
for Dr. Martin Luther King because of his
role there and visiting and stuff.
It still goes on today.
So there will always be a special connection bewteen Ghana
and Martin Luther King.
Thank you.
[audience applause].
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