Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah was born on 18 December 1895 in the town of Bepong in Kwahu in the Eastern Region of Ghana (then the Gold Coast).
He was descended from the royal family of Ofori Panyin Fie, once the rulers of the Akyem states, and one of the most influential families in Ghanaian politics. His elder brother was Nana Sir Ofori Atta I and his son is actor Paul Danquah.
At the age of six, Danquah began schooling at the Basel Mission School at Kyebi. He attended the Basel Mission Senior School at Begoro.
On successful completion of his standard seven examinations in 1912, he was employed by Vidal J. Buckle, a barrister-at-law in Accra, as a clerk, a job that aroused his interest in law.
After passing the Civil Service Examinations in 1914, Danquah became a clerk at the Supreme Court of the Gold Coast, which gave him the experience to be appointed by his brother, Nana Sir Ofori Atta I, who had become chief two years earlier, as secretary of the Omanhene’s Tribunal in Kyebi.
Following the influence of his brother, Danquah was appointed as the assistant secretary of the Conference of Paramount Chiefs of the Eastern Province, which was later given statutory recognition to become the Eastern Provincial Council of Chiefs.
His brilliance influenced his brother to send him to Britain in 1921 to read law.
Danquah went into private legal practice upon his return to Ghana in 1927. In 1929 he helped J. E. Casely Hayford found the Gold Coast Youth Conference (GCYC) and was Secretary General from 1937 to 1947.
In 1931, Danquah established The Times of West Africa, originally called the West Africa Times, which was the first daily newspaper in Ghana published between 1931 and 1935.
Danquah stood as a presidential candidate against Nkrumah in April 1960 but lost the election. On 3rd October 1961, Danquah was arrested under the Preventive Detention Act, on the grounds of involvement with alleged plans to subvert the CPP government. He was released on 22 June 1962. He was later elected president of the Ghana Bar Association.
Danquah was again arrested on 8 January 1964, for allegedly being implicated in a plot against the President. He suffered a heart attack and died while in detention at Nsawam Medium Prison on 4 February 1965.
After the overthrow of the CPP government in February 1966 by the National Liberation Council (NLC), Danquah was given a national funeral and his status was rehabilitated.
“Dr. Joseph (Kwame Kyeretwie) Boakye Danquah – Researched by NiiCa”. Niica. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
“Dr. J.B. Danquah (1895–1965)”. Ghana Nation. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
Kwesi Atta Sakyi, “Tribute to J.B. Danquah”, Vibe Ghana, 17 January 2013.