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A Trinidadian, George Padmore was born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse. He was educated at New York University, Howard University and Fisk University, all in the United States.
He used the sobriquet George Padmore when he practiced journalism to evade detection of his real person by reactionaries who were persecuting. Padmore was a great socialist thinker, activist, scholar and Pan-Africanist. He was a member if the German Communist Party, which was later banned, and he was imprisoned in Germany for his beliefs and activism. With the advent of the Nazis, he fled to England.
In the UK, he joined the Communist Party and engaged in progressive activism, writing books and practicing journalism. It was while Padmore was in the UK that when Kwame Nkrumah was about to go to London that the veteran and venerable Marxist theoretician and tactician C.L.R. James wrote a letter for Nkrumah introducing him to Padmore.
Padmore and Nkrumah took to each other. The duo were the secretaries of the Fifth Pan African Congress held in Manchester. When the UGCC invited Nkrumah to be its Secretary, he was reluctant to take the offer, but he consulted Padmore who advised that though the members of the UGCC were reactionaries, he should take up the position and use it as a launchpad for the anti-colonial struggle to liberate Africa from imperialism and its cousin, colonialism.
After the Gold Coast became independent from British colonial subjugation, Nkrumah invited Padmore to Ghana and became his advisor on African Affairs. He contributed many articles for Nkrumah’s newspaper, ‘Accra Evening News’.
He was taken ill and hospitalized at the University College Hospital in London, where he died from cirrhosis of the liver on 23th September, 1959. His ashes was buried in the Christiansborg Castle at Osu, Accra, on 4th October, 1959.
Nkrumah tributed him thus: “One day, the whole of Africa will surely be free and united and when the final tale is told, the significance of George Padmore’s work will be revealed.”
His legacy is inimitable. Nkrumah created the George Padmore Research Library on African Affairs on 30th June, 1961 in Accra in Padmore’s honor. Nkrumah eulogized him as “one of the greatest architects of the African liberation movement … dedicated to African union and liberty.”
By: A. Kapini Atafori