On this day, on July 26, 1847, the founding fathers of Liberia gained independence. The independence was initiated by Joseph Jenkins Roberts who was a freed African- American from Norfolk, Virginia who immigrated to Liberia because he wanted to be hundred percent free of discrimination. The founding fathers thought it was justified for Liberia to be sovereign a nation; a nation where its citizens could be freed from other countries’ jurisdiction (today, Liberia is controlled by so many developed countries around the around); a nation where its president could exercise the power that’s given to him; instead of following orders given by the elitist countries.
History of the Independence
When Joseph Jenkins Roberts who was the governor of the commonwealth of Liberia, and who could become the first president of Liberia, ordered the European traders (British and French) to pay high tariff. Roberts had requested increase in order to generate money for the country. The Europeans refuse, stating that Liberia was not an independent nation and because of that it could not tell them to pay elevated tariff. At that time, the American Colonization Society (ACS), which brought freed black slaves to Liberia, and the Liberian commonwealth ran the country. Before Joseph Jenkins Robert became governor, all the other governors had been white. After the commonwealth had requested high tariff, and the European traders refused, the ACS sided with the European traders- it stopped supporting Liberia. On July 26, 1847, Liberia gains independence in Monrovia at the Pavilion.
The Meaning of the Independence
Independence Day means a lot to us (it’s all Liberians's birthdays). It is the day all Liberians need to set aside their differences, and come together for a one cause- celebrating Liberia’s birthday by going to the beach, football stadium, church, and dance. Independence Day needs to remind us that Liberia has a long way to go- the age of Liberia doesn’t represent how developed it’s now. Liberia’s infrastructure, education, medicine areas need to be revitalized by every tribe- Kpelleh, Mandingo, Krahn, Gio, etc. Every tribe ought to be included in the development process in Liberia. Every Liberia needs to commence thinking about Liberia’s future- what it should be in the next century. Should it still be the country where mortality rate is beyond immeasurable? Should it be the country where illiteracy rate is high? Or should it be a country where guns are used as the only resources to resolve dispute? These are the questions all Liberia, including me, need to think about on this Independence Day as we all celebrate.
Liberia has emerged over the years-from the 1980 coup d’état, assassination of President Samuel Kanyon Doe(first native president of Liberia), civil wars between Charles Taylor and other factor groups, election of President Taylor, civil wars between Taylor and the Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and Movement for Democracy of Liberia(MODEL), to exit of Taylor from Liberia, to the selection of Gyude Bryant as interim president, to the election and re-election of the first female president in Africa, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, or the “Iron Lady.” She is trying her best to make sure that Liberia becomes the place where democracy is set in cornerstone; and where the rules of laws are applied. It won’t take six or twelve-year for Liberia to become a developed country. It will half of century or an entire century.