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Three historic sites you must see in Ghana's capital, Accra

Three historic sites you must see in Ghana's capital, Accra

Ghana’s history is intertwined with American history much more than I realized. I knew of its connection to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade before I went to Ghana but I wasn't as familiar with its story of independence.

A statue of Kwame Nkrumah symbolizing his slogan, “Forward ever, backwards never.

A statue of Kwame Nkrumah symbolizing his slogan, “Forward ever, backwards never.

Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, is known to many as the most influential Pan-Africanist of the 20th century. He attended college at Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. There he was initiated into Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, a historically black fraternity. He went on to get his PhD in London. He returned to Ghana to free Ghana from British rule. He led Ghana to independence in 1957. It was the first African nation to gain independence from colonial rule.

It was his goal to unite the African nations so they could control their natural resources. In 1963, he founded the Organisation of African Unity in Ethiopia. He was overthrown by the military in 1966. He lived in exile in Guinea where he became a co-president.

When he was overthrown, this earlier statue of him was vandalized. A patriotic citizen returned the head years later.

When he was overthrown, this earlier statue of him was vandalized. A patriotic citizen returned the head years later.

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Inside the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, you’ll see the president’s final resting place and a museum with photos, artifacts and insight into his life.

Kwame Nkrumah’s tomb

Kwame Nkrumah’s tomb

You’ll learn about his successful energy projects, his development of a strong national education system, and his promotion of Pan-African culture. The museum doesn’t make obvious some of his controversial measures, such as The Preventive Detention Act (PDA), which allowed detention without trial for up to five years and pre-publication censorship of news.

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Nkrumah and Dr. W.E.B. DuBois were good friends. Nkrumah invited Dr. DuBois to move to Ghana to become the founder of the Encyclopedia Africana. DuBois took up the offer. At the time, he was under surveillance by the United States government and had joined the communist party. He arrived at age 93, and lived in Ghana for two years. He wrote a portion of the encyclopedia but wasn’t alive when it was published.

In Accra, you’ll find the DuBois Center. This is the final resting place and former home to the American pan-africanist, who was a prolific speaker and writer and anti-segregationist. The center is now a library and research institute for students studying Pan-Africanism.

DuBois’ tomb. He received stools from many of the chiefs in Ghana. (The stools symbolize authority)

DuBois’ tomb. He received stools from many of the chiefs in Ghana. (The stools symbolize authority)

You’ve also got to visit Independence Square in Accra. This is where the iconic statue sits with Ghana’s motto, Freedom and Justice.

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Fun things to do in Ghana

Fun things to do in Ghana

The slave castles will fill you with anger, but they're worth visiting

The slave castles will fill you with anger, but they're worth visiting