A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Monday, May 23, 2016
Martin Luther King in Ghana, West Africa, 1957
We hear mostly about Martin Luther King. Jr. in Montgomery, Atlanta,
Birmingham, Selma or Washington, DC, but rarely about his international
travel. In 1957, Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King attended the independence ceremony in Ghana where King met Ghana's new president Kwame Nkrumah; spent time with other American leaders, also attending, such as A. Philip Randolph, Ralph Bunche, Mordecai Johnson, Horace Mann Bond, Senator Charles Diggs, and Congressman Adam Clayton Powell; met Vice President Richard Nixon who was also attending; and then while traveling through London on his way home he meets with Trinidadian scholar C.L.R. James.
The degree to which Black Americans and Africans communicated before
and particularly after WWII is impressive as Africa and those in the
United States attempted to wrench their countries from the oppressive
yoke of white supremacy and colonialism. For more information about Dr.
King and the civil rights movement please go to the King Papers under the leadership of Dr. Clayborne Carson at Stanford University.
Martin Luther King's Ghana Trip (1957)
In March 1957, Martin Luther King, Jr., and his wife Coretta Scott King
traveled to West Africa to attend Ghana's independence ceremony. King's
voyage was symbolic of a growing global alliance of oppressed peoples
and was strategically well timed; his attendance represented an attempt
to broaden the scope of the civil rights struggle in the
President Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King - Ghana 1957
United States on the heels of the successful Montgomery bus boycott.
King identified with Ghana's struggle; furthermore, he recognized a
strong parallel between resistance against European colonialism in
Africa and the struggle against racism in the United States.
King arrived in Accra, the Gold Coast (soon to be Ghana), on 4 March and attended a reception where he met Vice President Richard Nixon.
King told Nixon, "I want you to come visit us down in Alabama where we
are seeking the same kind of freedom the Gold Coast is celebrating"
("M.L. King Meets"). The next day, King attended the ceremonial closing
of the old British Parliament. At the ceremony, the recently
incarcerated Nkrumah and his ministers wore their prison caps,
symbolizing their struggle to win Ghana's freedom. King wrote "When I
looked out and saw the prime minister there with his prison cap on that
night, that reminded me of that fact, that freedom never comes easy. It
comes through hard labor and it comes through toil" (Papers 4:163).
midnight on 6 March, King attended the official ceremony in which the
British Union Jack was lowered and the new flag of Ghana was raised and
the British colony of the Gold Coast became the independent nation of
Ghana. King later recalled,"As we walked out, we noticed all over the
polo grounds almost a half a million people. They had waited for this
hour and this moment for years" (Papers 4:159).
King's reaction to the Ghanaians' triumph was outwardly emotional.
"Before I knew it, I started weeping. I was crying for joy. And I knew
about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony
that these people had gone through for this moment" (Papers 4:160).
while in Ghana, King told radio listeners, "This event, the birth of
this new nation, will give impetus to oppressed peoples all over the
world. I think it will have worldwide implications and
repercussions--not only for Asia and Africa, but also for America....It
renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice. And it seems to
me that this is fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of
justice triumph in the universe, and somehow the universe itself is on
the side of freedom and justice. So that this gives new hope to me in
the struggle for freedom" (Papers 4:146).
falling ill for several days, the Kings had a private lunch with Prime
Minister Nkrumah and met with anti-apartheid activist and Anglican
priest Michael Scott and peace activist Homer Jack.
King departed from Ghana for New York by way of Nigeria, Rome, Geneva,
Paris and London. In London, the Kings had lunch with Trinidadian writer
and political activist C.L. R. James, who was very impressed by the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.