Project

An Intimate History of the African Revolution: Kwame Nkrumah and the Women in Question

Program

ACLS Grants-In-Aid , ACLS Fellowship Program

Department

History

Abstract

Kwame Nkrumah, the leader of Ghana’s independence struggle and its first Prime Minister and President, was a major theorist of pan-Africanism and arguably the most important leader of what was known in the 1960s as the “African Revolution.” During his rule, Nkrumah attracted around him a small cohort of expatriate women, who served in various official capacities, but also became his intimate confidantes and remained so, even after the coup that ended his rule. This trusted cohort has shaped in profound ways how Nkrumah is remembered today and what evidence historians have at hand to reconstruct not only the conflicted history of Ghana’s first Republic, but the story of the ill-fated African Revolution. Based on private papers and correspondence, newspapers, and government documents, this project explores the role of the intimate and the affective in the consolidation, the disruption, and ultimately the historical reconstruction of state power in post-colonial Africa.