West Africans in Britain, 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Communism

West Africans in Britain, 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Communism

West Africans in Britain, 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Communism

West Africans in Britain, 1900-1960: Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Communism

Synopsis

Capturing the dynamism of the West African student movement in Britain, and the struggle to articulate a coherent, anti-colonial politics, this study emphasises the effect these pioneers have had on a world stage.

Excerpt

The history of Africans in Britain can be traced back to the Roman period, but currently documentary evidence suggests that it is only from the sixteenth century onwards that Africans from the western part of the continent regularly visited or resided in Britain. West Africa became closely linked with Britain from the time of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and large parts of this region were eventually conquered and placed under British colonial rule. Over the centuries the West African population in Britain has included slaves and abolitionists, servants and seamen, merchants, stowaways and students whose histories await further research. This book is intended as a contribution to the study of one of the most significant groups of West Africans who resided in Britain throughout the twentieth century - West African students.

Since the 1950s a number of books and articles have been written on the subject of West African students in Britain. Some have focused on individual student organisations or students from one particular part of West Africa. Others have highlighted the political significance of the students’ activities in wider studies of nationalism in West Africa and the development of Pan-Africanism. The memoirs and other writing of former students, some of whom became leading political figures, such as Kwame Nkrumah, Joe Appiah and H.O. Davies, have added personal details and insight to this literature. This book is an attempt to trace the development of West African student politics in Britain, from the early years of this century, when student and other PanAfrican organisations first appeared, until the latter part of the 1950s, when the struggle for self-government in West Africa seemed to have been won, as Britain granted independence to Nkrumah’s Ghana, the former Gold Coast. A large part of this book is concerned with the West African Students’ Union (WASU), the most prominent and enduring of West African student organisations, which was formed in . . .

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