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In Pursuit of the "Golden Fleece": African Students and Higher Education in the United States, 1925-1959

Olanipekun Oladotun Laosebikan


This article addresses the historical contributions of African students to higher education in the United States from 1925-1959. During this period, African students in the United States actively pursued, what Nnamdi Azikiwe, the great African nationalist and former student himself termed, the “golden fleece.” It represented the promise of American higher education as a panacea to African ills, particularly colonialism. The tendency has been to view African studentship in the United States during this period as a one-sided relationship, with African students as the primary benefactors of this relationship. As illustrated in this study, such a perspective ignores the significant contributions of African students to shaping higher education in the United States. I utilize the narratives of prominent African students, such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah and Kingsley Ozuomba Mbadiwe among others, to highlight two key areas of African student contributions to higher education in the United States; scholarship and activism.


pan-africanism; nationalism; african; students

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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