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B. 2. Ghana (Gold Coast) to 1957

Ghana was the first African country south of the Sahara to gain its independence from colonialism. Small steps towards African representation had begun in the 1920s, and under the post-World War II constitution African parties were allowed to contest elections. The British generally favoured cooperation with traditional chiefs and a small intellectual elite until there arose a nationalist movement drawing support from the urban population, and led by Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party he founded in 1949. Nkrumah was imprisoned after protests in 1950, won the 1951 elections from jail, and was soon after released and became the country’s prime minister in the transition period leading to independence in 1957. Nkrumah’s concept of nonviolent ‘positive action’ was one element in the political processes which led to early independence, though its significance is disputed by some historians.

Austin, Dennis, Politics in Ghana, 1946-1960, [1964], London, Oxford University Press, 1970, pp. 459

Regarded as classic account of this period.

Israel, Adrienne M., Ex-Servicemen at the Crossroads: Protest and Politics in Post-War Ghana, Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 30, issue 2, 1992, pp. 359-368

A trigger incident in 1948 was when armed police opened fire on an ex-servicemen’s march about unpaid benefits, killing three.

James, C.I.R., Nkrumah 
and the Ghana Revolution, London, Alison and Busby, 1977, pp. 227

Frequent references to strikes and nonviolent resistance. See especially ch. 7, ‘Positive action’.

Nkrumah, Kwame, The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, Edinburgh, Thomas Nelson, 1957, pp. 310

Especially chapters 10 and 11.

Padmore, George, The Gold Coast Revolution: The Struggle of an African People from Slavery to Freedom, London, Dobson, 1953, pp. 272

By leading Pan African activist and close associate of Nkrumah. Chapter 5 covers the 1950 Positive Action campaign.