The J. B. Danquah Memorial Lecture Series was instituted in 1968 in memory of a foundation member of the Aca-demy, Dr Joseph Boakye Danquah, who died in prison in February 1965, fighting for freedom in all its manifestations. Described as the ‘doyen of Gold Coast politics’, J. B. Danquah was a lawyer, statesman, philosopher, scholar, novelist, dramatist, and journalist. In the words of Mr. Justice Nii Armaah Ollennu, Chairman of the Interim Council of the Academy in 1967, “As a statesman of the first rank, J. B. Danquah’s indomitable courage and his relentless fight against tyranny and oppres-sion to the very last day of his life, will remain a shining example to all lovers of freedom.” The event consists of a series of three lectures delivered by either a fellow or a distinguished non-fellow.
The themes for the Danquah Memorial lectures were originally restricted to fields like law, history, philosophy and literature, disciplines whose study occupied the greater part of J. B. Danquah’s academic pursuits.
His Excellency W. B. Van Lare, a foundation member of the Academy, who at the time was Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, and had had a long and distinguished career at the bench, delivered the maiden Danquah memorial lecture in 1968. The lecture was on the topic, ‘The Law, Human Rights and the Judiciary.’
The Danquah Memorial Lecture series remained within the domain of the humanities, until 1976, when Professor F. T. Sai gave the first science lecture on an otherwise humanities dominated platform.