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From our Files: Africans Cheer Ghana Freedom: Parliament Meets

Today marks the 55th anniversary of Ghana's Independence Day, as the former British colony became the first black African country to achieve independence from colonial rule. In March 1957, Monitor reporter John Hughes was writing on location in Ghana. He describes a jubilant and hopeful scene as the former Gold Coast became a new nation, named Ghana after an ancient African kingdom.

-Emily Powers, Monitor Library

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Originally published Wednesday, March 6, 1957.

     For hours the crowds had seethed excitedly outside Parliament. Inside as the hands of the clock drew near midnight, Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah tied up the final business of the Gold Coast in a speech to his legislators.
    At the moment of midnight the clamor of hooters and sirens blended with a great roar from the mob. In a rush and a flurry Dr. Nkrumah was whisked bobbing on the shoulders of his supporters to a platform among his people. On his head was his white cap embroidered with the initials P.G. for "prison graduate," commemorating his sentence by the British for sedition.
    Then came that incredible moment when, with face glistening with tears and sweat under the photographers' floodlamps, weeping quietly with emotion, he called for the national anthem of the new nation whose freedom was at last fulfilled.

Parliament Meets

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