Making This Journey Meant They Could Finally Be Free

Photograph of Liberia College Students and Staff
Shonda Buchanan
August 21, 2020

Drenched in sweat from the African humidity, Joseph Roberts angrily crumpled the letter from the racist American Colonization Society and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean. He was about to lose everything.

He would not stand for this! 

He’d already lost so much: his birth country, his wife and child’s deaths within a year of arriving in Liberia, and now they wanted to absolve the governorship he’d held since 1845! 

After escaping a racist United States, he’d risked everything to rebuild a life in Africa. He had to strike back.

In 1847, Roberts declared his beautiful country the new Republic of Liberia and was elected the first president.

No one could take their sovereignty now! Roberts was determined to build a country governed BY AND FOR FREE Black people. But America went low.

Fearing slave rebellions, America refused to recognize Liberia. But Roberts was determined: they would not take Africa from him again.

How would he save his new, Black-led country?

Roberts beat America at its own game. He obtained recognition from Europe, forcing America’s submission. Africa’s oldest republic, Liberia was never colonized by Europe!

This pioneer’s determination to self-govern and build strong Black communities by any means necessary reminds us to continue fighting for a life free of racist tyranny.

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: