Read why this U.S president was forced to apologize to a former Ghanaian Minister of Finance in 1957
In 1957, Ghana’s first Minister of Finance, Komla Gbedemah, faced discrimination at a restaurant in the United States. During a time when racial segregation was still prevalent, Gbedemah and his secretary were denied service and told they could not sit inside the restaurant because of their skin color.
The incident caused embarrassment for President Dwight Eisenhower, who had to apologize and invite Gbedemah to the White House for breakfast. This was one of many instances where African diplomats faced racial segregation in the US, which damaged the country’s image on the world stage.
The US was eventually forced to support civil rights legislation, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 being passed. However, recent protests against police brutality have highlighted that racial and social injustice still persists in America. Gbedemah’s meeting with Eisenhower resulted in the US agreeing to finance Ghana’s plan to build the Akosombo Dam and the restaurant changing its policy to serve anyone who walked through the door.