In 1957 Ghana became one of the first sub-Saharan African nations
to gain independence from colonial rule. Over the next decade,
hundreds of African Americans--including Martin Luther King Jr.,
George Padmore, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright, Pauli
Murray, and Muhammad Ali--visited or settled in Ghana. Kevin K.
Gaines explains what attracted these Americans to Ghana and how
their new community was shaped by the convergence of the Cold War,
the rise of the U.S. civil rights movement, and the decolonization
Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's president, posed a direct challenge to U.S.
hegemony by promoting a vision of African liberation, continental
unity, and West Indian federation. Although the number of African
American expatriates in Ghana was small, in espousing a
transnational American citizenship defined by solidarities with
African peoples, these activists along with their allies in the
United States waged a fundamental, if largely forgotten, struggle
over the meaning and content of the cornerstone of American
citizenship--the right to vote--conferred on African Americans by
civil rights reform legislation.