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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division

Nnamdi Azikiwe

In the early twentieth century, African students who came to the United States were often the children of the middle class. People with more means chose to send their children to Great Britain or France instead. Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904-1996), shown here (third from left) with educator and philosopher Alain Locke and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, went to a Methodist school in Lagos, Nigeria. He then attended Howard University and Columbia University. In 1927, he was offered a job at Lincoln University, where he completed his undergraduate studies in Political Science. He taught as an assistant at Columbia and obtained a certificate in journalism. In 1930, Zik, as he was known, went back to Lincoln where he earned an M.A. in Political Science. He moved on to the University of Pennsylvania and earned an M.S. in Anthropology. In 1937, Zik returned to Nigeria and occupied a series of high-ranking positions. In 1963, he became the first president of Nigeria.

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