1909-1972. A politician and author. Founder of the Convention People's Party (CPP) in the British
Gold Coast colony, 1949; he would serve time briefly as a political prisoner
for his activism, but later became prime minister
of the Gold Coast from 1952-1957, and then of newly-independent Ghana
, starting in 1957
. Nkrumah tried to modernize and diversify his nation's economy, an attempt to break free of its traditional role as supplier of cheap cocoa.
For a while, it worked. But cocoa was still important, and a serious drop in prices caused a deep, ongoing economic crisis in the early 60s, by which time he'd assumed the presidency and, later, declared himself "President for Life" (always a bad sign).
Nkrumah became yet another pompous third world leader, joining the chorus of those who were making Marx spin in his grave by embracing pseudo-Marxism as some sort of panacea for a failed, undeveloped capitalist economy; something tells me Old Karl might have preferred the Original Kwame of '57.
Early in 1966, he went on a trip to North Vietnam, in a gesture of internationalist solidarity with Ho Chi Minh; in his absence, the armed forces staged a coup d'état and put up a "Don't bother coming home"
sign in the window. There may have been a CIA connection, since his rhetoric in those last few years probably set off some Red flags in Washington on a regular basis. The new rulers banned the CPP, and Nkrumah spent the remainder of his life as an
honored exile in Guinea, before dying in 1972.