J. B. Danquah
|Joseph Boakye Danquah|
|Born||Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah
18 December 1895
|Died||4 February 1965
|Alma mater||University of London|
|United Gold Coast Convention|
Nana Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah (December 1895 – 4 February 1965) was a Ghanaian statesman, Pan-Africanist, Scholar, Lawyer and a Historian. He played a significant role in pre- and post-colonial Ghana. In fact, he is credited with giving Ghana its name which was formerly Gold Coast. During his political career, he was one of the primary opposition leaders to Ghanaian president and independence leader Kwame Nkrumah.
Danquah was born on December 1895 in the Ghanaian town of Bepong in Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He was descended from the royal family of Ofori Panyin Fie, once the rulers of the Akyem states, and still then one of the most influential families in Ghanaian politics. His elder brother is Nana Sir Ofori Atta I and he is the father of actor Paul Danquah.
At the age of six, J.B began schooling at the Basel Mission School at Kyebi and later continued at the Basel Mission Senior School at Begoro. On successfully passing his standard seven examinations in 1912, he entered the employment of Vidal J. Buckle, a barrister-at-law in Accra, as a clerk, a job which aroused his interest in law.
On passing the Civil Service Examinations in 1914, he became a clerk at the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast. The experience acquired here made his brother Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, who had become chief two years earlier, he was appointed as secretary of the Omanhene's Tribunal in Kyebi. Following the influence of his brother, J.B. was later appointed as the assistant secretary of the Conference of Paramount Chiefs of the Eastern Province which was later given statutory recognition to become the Eastern Provincial Council of Chiefs. J.B.'s brilliance made his brother decide to send him to Britain in 1921 to read law After two unsuccessful attempts at the University of London Matriculation, he passed in 1922 enabling him to enter the University College of London as a philosophy student. He earned his B. A. degree in 1925 winning the John Stuart Mill Scholar in the Philosophy of Mind and Logic. This enabled him to enter for a Doctor of Philosophy degree which he earned in two years with the thesis, The Moral End as Moral Excellence. He became the first West African to obtain the doctor of philosophy degree from a British University. While he worked on his thesis, he entered the Inner Temple and was called to the Bar in 1926. During his student days, he had two sons and two daughters by two different women neither of whom he married, In London. J.B, also took time off his studies to participate in student politics, editing the West African Students' Union (WASU) magazine and becoming the Union's president.
J.B was known as the Doyen of Gold Coast Politics
Path to Independence
Danquah became a member of the Legislative Council in 1946 and actively pursued independence legislation for his country. He helped to found the pro-independence United Gold Coast Convention. His historical research led him to agree with Dr Kwame Nkrumah's proposition that on independence the Gold Coast be renamed Ghana after the early African empire of that name.
Arrest,detention and death
He died while under detention at the Nsawam Medium Prison on 4 February 1965.
In 1931 he established The Times of West Africa which was the first daily newspaper in Ghana. Among his writings are Gold Coast: Akan Laws and Customs and the Akim Abuakwa Constitution (1928), a play entitled The Third Woman (1943), and The Akan Doctrine of God (1944).
Establishment of University of Ghana
The J. B. Danquah Memorial Lecture Series was instituted in 1968 in memory of Danquah who was also a founding member of Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences There is Danquah Institute that was set up in commemoration of his work and to promote his ideas posthumously. Danquah Circle a roundabout at Osu in Accra was also named after him.
- "Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah - Researched by NiiCa". http://www.niica.on.ca. Niica. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- "Dr. J.B. Danquah (1895-1965)". http://articles.ghananation.com. Ghana Nation. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- "Joseph B. Danquah", Encyclopaedia of World Biography.
- Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama (February 6, 2015). "Ideals that last" (08551-529). Daily Graphic. Graphic Communications Group Ghana. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Smith -Asante Edumum (27 February 2015). "Name University of Ghana after Danquah". Graphic. p. 19.
- "J.B. Danquah Memorial Lectures". http://gaas-gh.org. GAAS. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- "COMMEMORATION OF THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF DR. J. B. DANQUAH". http://www.danquahinstitute.org/. danquahinstitute.org. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
Accra - Danquah Circle (Osu) http://ghana-net.com/Danquah_Circle_Accra.aspx