These stories from LSE’s history recognise and celebrate staff, students, alumni and visitors, and stories from our Library collections.
In 1925 Sylvanus Olympio graduated from LSE with a B Commerce degree and started work for the United Africa Company in Nigeria, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly. In 1961 he was elected as the first President of Togo.
Olympio was born in 1902 coming from a well-connected Brazilian-African family. His father Epiphanio Olympio ran a trading house in Agoué (now part […]
LSE often runs in the family with several generations making their way to Houghton Street. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly writes about an unusual mother and daughter duo.
In 1919 a young Indian woman, Mithan Ardeshir Tata enrolled to study at LSE. Mithan was born in 1898 into a Parsi family in Mumbai (then known as Bombay), the daughter of Herabai […]
In 1952 Kwame Nkrumah became Prime Minister of the Gold Coast and in 1957 the country gained its independence under the new name of Ghana. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about Nkrumah’s brief time at LSE.
Kwame Nkrumah was born in Nkroful on the Gold Coast in 1909. The precise date of his birth is unknown but he usually gave […]
Kofi Annan visited LSE twice. He addressed audiences in the Peacock Theatre a decade apart, in talks entitled “Interventions: a Life in War and Peace” in 2012, and in 2002 “From Doha to Johannesburg by way of Monterrey: how development can be achieved and sustained in the 21st century”.
I will be pleased… if some of the young people here decide to make […]
Victoria de Menil revisits the politics of Jomo Kenyatta’s supposedly de-political master’s thesis, later published as Facing Mount Kenya, particularly in relation to land and female circumcision. She asks who the intended audience was, and what legacy the book has left behind.
Once upon a time an elephant made a friendship with a man. One day a heavy thunderstorm broke […]
On 6 April 2000, Nelson Mandela delivered a speech entitled Africa and Its Position in the World Today at LSE. The full transcript of this speech is below. You can also follow this link to watch a video of his speech.
Ladies and gentlemen. Forgive me if I am somewhat nervous. I come, as you know from the colonies! We […]
LSE Library’s Sonia Gomes explores Dame Mary Eugenia Charles’ student journey at LSE. Later Dominica’s first female prime minister, Charles came to post-war London to study law in the late 1940s before returning to the Caribbean to set up her own legal practice and, eventually, political party.
Charles was the youngest of four, born in the Caribbean island of Dominica in […]
LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly writes about her recent discovery of Mahatma Gandhi‘s speech to a packed LSE lecture theatre.
On 10 November 1931 Mahatma Gandhi spoke in the Old Theatre to an audience of LSE students. He was in London to attend the Second Round Table Conference on the Indian constitution, where he was the sole representative of the Indian National […]
The story of the Ratan Tata Trust’s 20 year support for research into “the administration of relief and prevention of destitution” illustrates LSE’s long relationship with both South Asia and the search for a solution to inequality, finds LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly.
In 1912 Sir Ratan Tata (1871-1918) gave the University of London a generous donation of £1,400 per year […]
LSE Library holds the archive and newsletters of the Commonwealth Countries League. Curator Gillian Murphy explores its founding and some of the people and topics that were covered at its conferences in the 1930s.
The British Commonwealth League was founded in 1925 to promote equality of liberties, status and opportunities between men and women in Commonwealth countries as depicted in this book […]
LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly introduces Nobel prize winner Ralph Bunche, who was the first black American to gain a PhD in political science. After achieving his doctorate at Harvard and teaching at Howard University, Ralph Bunche came to LSE to study anthropology under Bronislaw Malinowski during 1936-37. His later career spanned the United Nations and American civil rights movement […]
LSE’s Alex Free profiles Jomo Kenyatta – the first president of Kenya and an LSE graduate who came to London and studied social anthropology under Bronisław Malinowski in the 1930s. A leading pan-Africanist with an ultimately mixed political legacy in office, Kenyatta produced his famous ethnographic study of the Kikuyu, Facing Mount Kenya, while at LSE.
Jomo Kenyatta is a fascinating […]
The Gay Liberation Front held its first meeting in a basement classroom at LSE in 1970. It had a short life and in its wake, numerous gay and lesbian groups emerged. Here, Curator Gillian Murphy introduces the Black Lesbian and Gay Centre in south London. LSE Library holds the Hall-Carpenter Archive, which contains the papers of gay activists and organisations, ephemera […]
On 10 October 1971, Muhammad Ali took to the stage in front of a full house at LSE’s Old Theatre. LSE’s Hayley Reed finds out more.
His trip to London was part of a European and the Middle Eastern boxing tour, but he spoke to the audience at LSE about boxing, Black Power and politics.
This issue of the Beaver, the LSE Students’ Union […]
Following her review of Paul Robeson: the artist as revolutionary by Gerald Horne at the LSE Review of Books, Howard University’s Sherese R Taylor introduces the life of Eslanda Robeson, who studied at LSE in the 1930s.
Eslanda Cordozo Goode Robeson, also known as Essie, was an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, and feminist born in Washington, DC on 15 December 1895. She received a […]
On the 125th anniversary of Ambedkar’s birth, Sonali Campion looks back on the life of the leading jurist and social reformer. She considers how his education in India and abroad, as well as his lifelong campaign to advance the rights of minorities, meant he was uniquely qualified to lead the process of crafting of the Indian Constitution after independence.
Dr B R Ambedkar first visited LSE in 1916, returned in 1921 and submitted his doctoral thesis in 1923. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly investigates Dr B R Ambedkar’s life at LSE.
In 1920 the economist Edwin R Seligman wrote from Columbia University to Professor Herbert Foxwell, teaching at LSE recommending a former student, Bhimrao Ramji (B R) Ambedkar, and asking Foxwell to […]
On 11 February 1965 LSE’s Old Theatre was packed to listen to Malcolm X writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly; on 21 February he was murdered while preparing to address a meeting of the Organisation for Afro-American Unity in New York.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska. After a difficult and disrupted childhood Malcolm X joined the controversial black […]
23 January 2015 marks the centenary of the birth of the Nobel Prize winning economist, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly. William Arthur Lewis (1915-1991) – whose appointment in 1938 to a one year teaching contract, later converted to a four year appointment, makes him LSE’s first black academic.
Lewis was born in St Lucia and left school at 14 after […]