J. E. Casely Hayford (1867–1930), for 13 years a member of the Legislative Assembly, is remembered as a leading public-spirited citizen. Dr. J. E. K. Wegyir Aggrey (1875–1927), noted educational reformer, played a large part in the development of secondary education. Sir Henley Coussey (1891–1958) and Sir Emmanuel Quist (1882–1959) were distinguished jurists.
Persons from overseas who played a great part in the progress of Ghana were the Rev. Alexander Gordon Fraser (1873–1962), the first principal of Achimota School; Sir (Frederick) Gordon Guggisberg (1869–1930), who took the first steps toward Africanization of the public service and was instrumental in founding Achimota School; and Sir Charles Noble Arden-Clarke (1898–1962), who was governor of the Gold Coast during the preparatory years of independence (1948–57) and the first governor-general of Ghana. The writer, sociologist, and civil rights leader W(illiam) E(dward) B(urghardt) Du Bois (b. US, 1868–1963) settled in Ghana in 1961 and is buried in Accra.
Kwame Nkrumah (1909–72), the first president of the republic, served in that capacity until the military coup of February 1966; he died in exile in Guinea. J. B. Danquah (1895–1965), a lawyer, was named vice-president of the UGCC at the time of its founding in 1947. Detained along with Nkrumah after the Accra riots in 1948, he later helped to found the GCP. Arrested by Nkrumah in 1961, and again in 1964, he died in prison in 1965. Kofi Abrefa Busia (1913–78), a noted sociologist, was prime minister from October 1969 to January 1972. Flight-Lieut. Jerry (John) Rawlings (b.1947), the son of a Scottish father and a Ghanaian mother, led successful military coups in 1979 and 1981. He was elected president in 1992, and reelected in 1996. Kofi Annan (b.1938) became secretary general of the United Nations in 1996.