Black History Month

These stories from LSE’s history recognise and celebrate staff, students, alumni and visitors, and stories from our Library collections.

  • Olympio Sylvanus Epiphanio registration form
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    A student of good character – Sylvanus Olympio: first President of Togo

A student of good character – Sylvanus Olympio: first President of Togo

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 […]

A mother and daughter at LSE – Herabai and Mithan Tata

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 […]

Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) – a term at LSE

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 and William Shawcross, credit Nigel Stead LSE 2012
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    Kofi Annan’s public lecture at LSE – a life in war and peace

Kofi Annan’s public lecture at LSE – a life in war and peace

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 […]

Once upon a time… when Jomo Kenyatta was a student at LSE

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 […]

  • Nelson Mandela visits LSE. 6th April 2000
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    Africa at LSE – Full text of Nelson Mandela speech at LSE on 6 April 2000

Africa at LSE – Full text of Nelson Mandela speech at LSE on 6 April 2000

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 […]

Eugenia Charles – DBE, Iron Lady and Mamo

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 […]

A visit from Gandhi

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 […]

Researching inequality – LSE and the Ratan Tata Trust

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 […]

The Commonwealth Countries League archive

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 […]