Thursday, January 21, 2010

Liberia



You all have heard of Liberia, right?  You know, that country on the west coast of Africa?  Did you know that Liberia was an American colony for free black Americans?  That just blew my mind.

I learned this about a week ago in a book I mentioned already, The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told.  I was reading about James Monroe and some things he did while in office.  Monroe knew that problems were brewing between the North and the South and he tried to come up with a solution to diffuse the conflict. He really wanted to avoid a civil war. So he supported the initiative to send the free blacks back to Africa, where they could have their own colony.  They called that colony Liberia.  And the capital of Liberia?  It's called Monrovia, after James Monroe. Isn't that bizarre?  I had never heard of this before.  And that explains why the flag of Liberia looks a lot like the American flag.

The response was different among many people.  There were both protests and cheers among the black community.  Nobody was forced to go, but many blacks did. Interesting, huh?  And also interesting that I was thinking about all of this on the week of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.  Times have changed a lot in the past 150 years.

5 comments:

Patricia said...

I've never heard this before, either.
Pretty interesting.

Kristen said...

I am a new follower.

Interesting stuff.

Katie said...

That is strange. I had never heard of it before either.

Anna said...

I knew this already because I am married to your brother. He has told me about Liberia multiple times. But I didn't know Monrovia was named after James Monroe. Very cool.

Kathy Haynie said...

Yes, I had heard of it. I had a student from Liberia in 1994 - her family came to the US with all the civil unrest they had at that time. Her father had been a policeman there and was on the wrong side of the current powers-that-were.

I wonder why this isn't more widely known? Was it considered a success at the time?