A History of Ghanaians in Minnesota
Ghanaians in Minnesota had in the past organized themselves as a community to help foster unity and as means to help themselves cope with problems that every group of people experience living in a foreign land. The birth of GhaAM was with the same purpose and added to this, they organized to work together to help contribute to the development of the homeland, Ghana.
From reliable sources, the association was originally named Organization of Ghanaians in Minnesota (OGM) when it was formed in a loose form in the late 1960’s. The founding fathers included Mr.Emmanuel Opoku, Patrick Fiachie, and Sosthenes Kwasi Nunyakpe who helped to write a constitution for the organization. By 1970 the organization was launched as a viable association. OGM had a newsletter and magazine that was used extensively as the mode of communication amongst members. Picnics were organized which brought the Ghanaian community together. With help of Mr. Emmanuel Opoku, a devout member of the Andrews Presbyterian Church, a meeting place was found at the Church’s premises for the organization. OGM was mainly composed of students in the state of Minnesota. As members of the association graduated from colleges and got jobs, priorities changed as some of the members moved back home while others moved out of Minnesota to other states in America to start new careers and families. These changes affected the cohesion of the organization by the late 1970’s.
A new breed of Ghanaians who were in Minnesota colleges during the late 1970’s organized themselves into a Ghanaian Students Union. This Union, with the help of other Ghanaians working in the Twin Cities, tried to resurrect the almost defunct OGM during the early 1980’s. Notable were the efforts of Mr. Emmanuel Opoku and Dr. Kofi Mensah who worked diligently, but their efforts failed, although the student union continued to thrive under the tutelage of Edward Dzoboku. During this period the Ghanaian Ambassador to the USA was invited to Minnesota to boost the morale of the group. The Independence of Ghana was celebrated every year in the years following with various activities such as fashion shows, movies on Ghana and cultural shows.
During the summer of 1987, Dr. Kofi Mensah invited the Ghanaian community for a picnic at his backyard where a discussion of reconstituting OGM with a new constitution took place. A constitution committee was formed with the chairman as Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei. The selected committee members wrote a new constitution for the association and re-named the group,
The Ghanaian Association in Minnesota, (GhanAM).
The constitution was voted on and approved on the 27th November 1988.
The first leaders were:
Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei – President
Dr. Kofi Mensah – Administrative Secretary.
Mr. Emmanuel Opoku – Social, Support and External Affairs.
Mr. Kwami Ahelegbe – Education Secretary.
Mr. Kingsley Sackey – Finance Secretary.