Joseph Jenkins Roberts

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Joseph Jenkins Roberts

1809 - 1876

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Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

Unlike most African Americans at the time, Joseph was born free. He was not a slave.

Joseph learned the shipping business from his father.

After his father's death, Joseph's family moved to Liberia in Africa.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts was a successful businessman in the new colony.

Joseph became governor of the colony.

When the colony became a nation, Joseph Jenking Roberts was elected the first president.

Several years later, Roberts was elected to serve another term as president.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts died in office.

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Wikopedia Basic information on Roberts

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Library of Congress: Roberts in Liberia

Encyclopedia Britanica: The First President of Liberia

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Biography for J J Roberts

                       VIRGINIA'S NINTH PRESIDENT
                        JOSEPH JENKINS ROBERTS
                       Edited by C. W. Tazewell
                           W. S. DAWSON CO.
                       Virginia Beach VA 23466
     VIRGINIA'S NINTH PRESIDENT: Joseph Jenkins Roberts
     An anthology on President Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876)
     with  information  on  Liberia and the American Colonization
     C. W. Tazewell (1917- ), Editor
     ISBN 1-57000-052-2 (online), LCCN 90-80507
     (Printed version ISBN 1-878515-23-3)
     Copyright @ 1992 by C. W. Tazewell
     The Editor is grateful  for  the  assistance  by  Lucile  W.
     Pearce  (1921-1974)  in  certain  of  the  research for this
     THE EDITOR:    Lt.  Col.  Calvert  Walke  ("Bill")  Tazewell
     retired over 32 years ago as a Regular Officer of the United
     States    Air    Force     in     which     he     was     a
     communications-electronics manager and meteorologist.  Since
     retirement he has  been  active  with  historical,  library,
     environmental,  consumer,  civil defense, amateur radio, and
     youth organizations.    He  has  15  years  experience  with
     microcomputers.    He  was the organizer and first head of a
     library system for a million people.   He  was  founder  and
     first  president  of the Virginia History Federation, and of
     the  present  Norfolk  Historical  Society   (now   honorary
     president  and  life member of the latter).  He is a writer,
     historian and publisher, and has been listed in various U.S.
     and  British  biographical  publications.   He was raised in
     Norfolk and attended Norfolk Academy and Maury High School
                           W. S. DAWSON CO.
                            P.O. Box 62823
                       Virginia Beach VA 23466
                        a shoestring publisher

                      C   O   N   T   E   N   T   S
                  Page Numbers Refer to Printed Version 
          Inscription on Monument in Monrovia .  .  .  .  .  4
          Picture of Joseph Jenkins Roberts   .  .  .  .  .  5
          Preface  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  6
          Virginia's Other Presidents   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  9
          Father of Liberia .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 11
          Father of His Country   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
          To Observe Joseph Jenkins Roberts Day  .  .  .  . 20
          First President of Liberia .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 23
          The President of the Liberian Nation, Norfolk   . 24
          Virginia Gets Liberian Flag on Roberts Day   .  . 24
          Four Virginia Negroes   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 26
          Marker to Honor Librarian Leader    .  .  .  .  . 27
          Liberian Envoy to Honor Roberts  .  .  .  .  .  . 27
          Roberts Had Faith in Liberia  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
          Roberts Native of Portsmouth  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
          Native of Norfolk Rather Than Petersburg  .  .  . 30
          The Americo-Liberians   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
          Survival Due To "Vigorous Management"  .  .  .  . 38
          Devoted His Life To Liberia   .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40
          Update - A Current View    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 41
          All Hail, Liberia, Hail!   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 43
          Liberian Adventures Captivate Students .  .  .  . 43
          Emerging Liberia  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 45
          The Changing Continent  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 47
          Education in Liberia .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 48
          American Colonization Society .  .  .  .  .  .  . 51
          Accounts from Liberia   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 54
          Slaves Rejected Liberty In Liberia  .  .  .  .  . 55
          Membership Certificate in Society   .  .  .  .  . 57
          Called to Serve   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 58
          Threat to Future of Nation .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 58
          Their Condition a Sad One  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 60
          Provisional Constitution and Ordinances   .  .  . 61
          More Sources   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 61
                         P  R  E  F  A  C  E
          Mrs.  Pat  Matthews  wrote in a 1974 letter about J. J.
     Roberts, "I feel he is deserving of  much  fuller  treatment
     than a magazine article, but I have certain gaps in his life
     where  there  seems  to  be  little  information  available.
     Virginia  State  College  in Petersburg has very little.  At
     one time there was a large  collection  of  letters,  mainly
     between  Roberts  and  Colson,  but these have been lost.  I
     tried writing Liberia  and  the  Liberian  Embassy  with  no
     results.    My best source was the Virginia State Library in
     Richmond, and I'm sure there is a great deal of material  in
     the Library of Congress in Washington."
          From time to time for over 25 years I have been  trying
     to obtain local recognition of the most distinguished person
     born in Norfolk, Virginia.  I  believe  that  the  community
     should  have an awareness of the contributions and genius of
     this famous Virginian.  I  am  sharing  this  collection  of
     material on Roberts for use and reference by others with the
     hope that it will encourage more interest in and writing  on
          In January, 1974, I wrote that I had  been  "interested
     in  Roberts  for  almost ten years.  While I was active with
     the Norfolk Historical Society, I  noticed  that  he  was  a
     local  history  figure  that  was not properly recognized by
     either the black or white community....    I  endeavored  to
     have  Roberts  recognized in the local black history program
     and  in  the  Norfolk  schools,   apparently   without   any
     particular success.
          "Not too long ago I went to the Norfolk  State  College
     Library  to  inquire  about  him  and no one I talked to had
     heard of him and they were not able to  find  any  material.
     Actually  I  feel  that  it  would  be  very appropriate for
     Norfolk State College to be named for Roberts, especially if
     it  should  become  a  university  (as  it  probably will in
          A  visit  to  the  Norfolk State University Library the
     other day was more rewarding.  The  reference  librarian  on
     duty  said  she was a black history buff and well acquainted
     with Roberts.  She provided me with  a  useful  biographical
     citation,  and  reminded  me that the Roberts Village public
     housing project was named for J. J. Roberts.  She also  said
     there were Monrovia and Liberia streets in the project.
          A writing campaign of over two dozen letters suggesting
     that  Roberts  be  noted  in Black History Month in 1992 has
     produced no results observed by me or the alert staff of the
     Local  History  Section  of  the Norfolk Public Library.  No
     answers were received to any of the  letters  to  white  and
     black leaders, educators and members of the press.
                                Calvert Walke Tazewell
     Virginia Beach, Va.
     February 1992
                     VIRGINIA'S OTHER PRESIDENTS
        MONROVIA,  Liberia.    Ask any Virginia fourth grader how
     many Presidents were born in his State,  and  he  will  name
     eight  for  you-  Washington,  Jefferson,  Madison,  Monroe,
     Taylor, Tyler, Harrison and Wilson.  He  probably  will  not
     know, though, that Virginia also produced Presidents for the
     Republic of Liberia in West Africa.
          In  the  shiploads  of  free Negroes which left Hampton
     Roads for Liberia in the  early  19th  century,  were  three
     Virginians  who  would  lead  the  new  nation  in the first
     decades of its  independence.    They  were  Joseph  Jenkins
     Roberts  (1848-56 and 1872-76), James Spriggs Payne (1868-70
     and 1876-78), and Anthony William Gardiner (1878-83).
          The  foremost  of these men, J. J. Roberts, was born in
     Norfolk on March 15, 1809.  The city had just been through a
     boom  period  in  its shipping and growth, and it was busily
     paving muddy roads, setting up street lights,  and  erecting
     new  brick  buildings.    Roberts  was a freeborn Negro, the
     oldest of seven children.  One of his early jobs  was  on  a
     James  River  flatboat carrying goods from Petersburg to the
     Norfolk docks.
          After  the  death  of  their father, the Roberts family
     moved to Petersburg where they learned of plans to  colonize
     parts  of  the African coast.  Several shiploads had already
     sailed from Norfolk under the sponsorship  of  the  American
     Colonization  Society.  They had settled at the mouth of the
     Mesurado River at 6 degrees 20'  north  latitude,  and  were
     calling  their  little  town Monrovia, after U. S. President
     James Monroe.
           The  Roberts family joined a group sailing on the ship
     Harriet on February 9, 1829.  Also on  board  was  James  S.
     Payne  of  Richmond,  who  would become the second Virginian
     President of Liberia.  A few days before the ship docked  at
     Monrovia, Roberts celebrated his 20th birthday.
          In the new colony, the family built a  house  on  their
     allotted  land,  and  the  brothers  began  trading  in palm
     products, camwood, and ivory.  The success of  the  business
     enabled  them to purchase ships for trade with other coastal
     ports.  One of the brothers studied in the United States and
     became  a  physician.    Another  was  a minister, the frist
     Methodist bishop of Liberia.
          At  the  age  of  24,  J. J. Roberts was appointed high
     sheriff  of  the  colony.    His  duties  involved   leading
     expeditions  to  collect  taxes or put down uprisings in the
     tribal towns near Monrovia.  In 1838, the society  appointed
     him  vice  governor,  and  when  the governor died two years
     later, he became its first non-white leader.
          The  1840's  were  decisive  years  for the settlement.
     Britain and France, which held neighboring territories  (now
     Sierra  Leone  and Ivory Coast), viewed Monrovia as merely a
     small private venture without the official  support  of  any
     recognized  government.    The American Colonization Society
     advised the colony to declare its independence  so  that  it
     could claim international recognition and rights.
          Late in 1846, Governor Roberts called for a  referendum
     in  Monrovia  and  three  nearby  settlements.  The settlers
     voted for independence, and Roberts was  elected  the  first
     President of the republic.
          The  new  nation  still  had  unresolved  problems   of
     territorial  limits  and  jurisdiction.    President Roberts
     extended the boundaries through treaties and purchases  from
     tribal  chiefs.   He took steps to halt slave trading in the
     interior  and  to  bring  tribal  chiefs  into  the  central
          After four terms, Roberts lost the 1855 election.    He
     then served 15 years as a major general in the Liberian army
     and later as  a  diplomatic  representative  to  France  and
          Roberts helped to organize Liberia College,  served  as
     its first president, and traveled often to the United States
     to speak  and  raise  funds.    He  remained  the  college's
     professor  of  jurisprudence and international law until his
          In   1871   the  incumbent  President  of  Liberia  was
     disposed, and the legislature declared  J.  J.  Roberts  the
     President  for another two years.  He then won a sixth term,
     which he completed a year before his death in 1876.  In  his
     will  he  left  $10,000 and a rubber farm for the support of
          The  name  of  J.  J.  Roberts is well known in Liberia
     today.  Monrovia, a city of 80,000, has a Roberts Street and
     two  monuments  honoring  him.    The  nation's  airport  is
     internationally  known  as  Robertsfield,  and  one  of  the
     growing coastal cities is called Robertsport.
          March 15, Roberts's birthday, is  a  holiday  when  all
     schools and businesses halt for the festivities of speeches,
     parades, and dancing.  Liberians don their best outfits  for
     the occasion- the women wearing colorful "lappa" dresses and
     headties.  Throughout  the  country,  descendants  of  early
     settlers  join  with  present-day  tribesmen  to  honor  the
     Virginian who was the founder of their nation.  Judith Evans
     Brown in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, March 17, 1968
                        THE FATHER OF LIBERIA
          Although  every  American  schoolboy  learns  that  the
     Father of his Country as George Washington, few realize that
     another son of the Old Dominion also  deserves  that  title.
     Joseph   Jenkins  Roberts  was  born  in  Norfolk  in  1809,
     emigrated to Africa while he was a young man,  and  led  the
     small  colony  of  Liberia to it emergence as an independent
     republic in 1848.  The tiny outpost of the American  Society
     for  the  Colonization  the  Free  People  of  Color  had  a
     population of more than six hundred when Roberts arrived  in
     1829.    During  its  colonial  period he served as sheriff,
     chief justice, lieutenant  governor,  and  governor  of  the
     African settlement.  When Liberia became independent, he was
     elected the first president of the new nation.
          Educated  and  poised,  Roberts- an octoroon- came from
     the Negro elite of the Old Dominion.   His  mother,  Amelia,
     was  described  by  a  white  contemporary  as  a  woman  of
     "intelligence, moral  character,  and  industrious  habits."
     She   had  gained  her  freedom  from  slavery  despite  the
     stringent laws of Virginia's black code and had soon managed
     to  place  herself "on comfortable circumstances."  Although
     Joseph's paternity is uncertain, he was brought  up  as  the
     son of Amelia's husband, James Roberts, a free Negro who had
     established his own boating business on the James River.
          While  Roberts  was  still a child, the family moved to
     Petersburg.  The elder Roberts began to transport  goods  on
     his  own flatboats from Petersburg to the wharves of Norfolk
     and, by the time of his death, had  accumulated  substantial
     wealth  for  a  free Negro of his day.  He left his wife and
     family two houses and several boats and parcels of land,  as
     well  as  other  property.   In a day when most Negroes were
     propertyless slaves, his acquisition of material  goods  was
          The Roberts were undoubtedly among the  more  ambitious
     of  the  free  Negro  families  in  Virginia.   Of the seven
     Roberts children who emigrated with their mother to  Liberia
     after  the death of their father, three of five sons came to
     hold important positions in the colony.    Two  of  Joseph's
     younger  brothers  deserve  special notice: Henry J. Roberts
     left Liberia to study at the  Berkshire  Medical  School  in
     Massachusetts  and  then  returned  to  establish  a popular
     practice in Monrovia, the capital of the colony; John Wright
     Roberts  became  bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in
     Liberia and ministered to a  body  of  almost  two  thousand
          It was Joseph Jenkins Roberts who  brought  the  family
     its  greatest  distinction.   As a boy in Petersburg, he had
     learned not only his father's trade but had also  served  as
     an  apprentice in a barber shop.  He was thus trained in two
     of the most lucrative occupations open to fee Negroes of his
     day.   His apprenticeship brought him into close association
     with one of Virginia's best educated  and  most  outstanding
     black residents, William N. Colson, a minister of the gospel
     and the owner of the barber shop in  which  Roberts  served.
     Colson  allowed  young Joseph access to his private library,
     from which he acquired much of his early education.
          The  factors  that lead Joseph and his mother, brothers
     and sisters to emigrate are not known, but  undoubtedly  the
     restrictions  of  the  Virginia  black  code  played a part.
     Young and enterprising, Joseph must have been looking for  a
     better way to make use of his talents.  As he began to think
     of emigrating to  Liberia,  he  and  Colson  talked  of  the
     possibility  of establishing a transatlantic trading company
     that would carry African products  to  American  ports,  and
     American goods and black emigrants to Liberia.
          The religious beliefs of the Roberts family  were  also
     important  in  their decision to emigrate.  The colonization
     movement had gained wide support  among  Virginia  churches,
     and   the   Roberts   family-   faithful   members   of  the
     predominantly  white  Union  Street  Methodist   Church   in
     Petersburg- were caught up in the missionary zeal that swept
     over the United States in the years before the War of  1812.
     By   going   to   Africa,   they  expected  to  help  spread
     "Christianity and civilization" among  the  natives  of  the
     "Dark Continent."
          On February 9, 1829, the  Roberts  family  sailed  from
     Norfolk  on  the  ship  HARRIET.    After  their  arrival in
     Liberia, they suffered from  the  dreaded  "African  fever."
     Although   living  conditions  there  were  very  different,
     Joseph's mother wrote  that  they  were  "pleased  with  the
     country."  and  had  "not  the  least  desire  to  return to
          In  1829, the African colony was just emerging from the
     ravages of disease  and  hostile  natives  that  had  almost
     destroyed  the small settlement.  Though troubles continued,
     the colony became sufficiently stable to  begin  significant
     economic   expansion,   and   Roberts   capitalized  on  the
     situation.  With the help of  sympathetic  white  Americans,
     Roberts,  in  Liberia,  and  Colson, in Petersburg, began to
     organize  the  trading  company  that  they  had  previously
     planned.    By the early 1830s they were transporting hides,
     ivory, camwood, palm products, and other  African  goods  to
     New  York,  Philadelphia, and other American ports.  Roberts
     became as adept at trading with the natives as some  of  the
     best  African  tradesmen, and he established a company store
     in Monrovia in which  he  sold  the  products  furnished  by
          Within a few years, Colson decided that  he  too  would
     emigrate  to  Liberia.  The  business  was  prospering,  and
     Colson, like Roberts, longed to  spread  Christianity  among
     the  natives.    In 1834, he wrote the American Colonization
     Society that he did not want to  go  to  Africa  purely  for
     financial profit: he also hoped to "do good."  He would not,
     he declared, transport liquor to the colonies or sell it  to
     the  inhabitants.    By  the  following  January, Colson had
     decided to charter a vessel to  transport  more  than  fifty
     emigrants.   He sailed to the African coast later that year,
     but soon after his arrival and his reunion with  Roberts  he
     succumbed  to  the  African  fever.    Roberts,  then in his
     mid-twenties, wrote  Colson's  wife,  who  had  remained  in
     Petersburg  to  supervise  the  purchase of supplies for the
     company: "Would to God I could say something  in  this  your
     time  of  trouble  but this I will say you must remember ...
     though [it] seems hard at this time,  God  does  all  things
     well for them that live and fear him."
          After  Colson's  death,  Roberts's   trading   ventures
     continued.    Her  had  already  become  heavily involved in
     colonial politics, and he had gained the confidence  of  the
     white  official  of  the  colonization society by protesting
     against the slave trade  that  some  unscrupulous  Liberians
     were  carrying on.  In 1833 he had been elected high sheriff
     of the colony.  His duties included responsibility  for  the
     supervisions of elections and for controlling nearby tribes.
     Roberts carried out his duties effectively, using  diplomacy
     whenever   possible   and   resorting  to  force  only  when
          Roberts's  success in handling domestic problems led to
     his  appointment  as  lieutenant  governor  in  1839.    The
     colonization  society, in order to provide more autonomy for
     Liberia and to ease its own financial burdens,  revised  the
     constitution  it  had  previously provided for Liberia.  The
     governor of the colony, heretofore the  mere  agent  of  the
     society,  became  chief  executive of the colony.  After the
     death of Governor Thomas Buchanan (a Pennsylvanian  and  the
     brother  of  James  Buchanan,  who  became  president of the
     United States), Roberts became the first black  governor  of
     Liberia.    Under  his  leadership, as governor from 1842 to
     1848 and as president from 1848 to 1855  and  from  1871  to
     1876,  Liberia  grew  until  it  stretched along the African
     coast from the Sherbro River to the Pedor River, a  distance
     of nearly six hundred miles.
          Roberts's genius as a  leader  lay  in  his  diplomatic
     abilities:  he  dealt  effectively  with  African tribes and
     maneuvered skillfully in the complex field of  international
     law.    His leadership in the colony's efforts to secure its
     sovereignty and  independence  was  subtle  and  calculated.
     Even  in  the 1840s, before the colonization society decided
     that it could not carry its burden of responsibility for the
     colony's  economic  well-being,  Roberts  had begun to argue
     that Liberia was an independent  nation.    Its  people,  he
     maintained,  had  gained  their  sovereignty upon emigrating
     from the  United  States.    He  informed  European  nations
     trading  on  the  African  coast  that  they  must deal with
     Liberia as an independent state.  In 1846 Roberts urged  the
     Liberian  legislature  to "announce" the independence of the
     country and yet to maintain the continued "co-operation  and
     assistance"  of  the  colonization society.  The legislature
     agreed to do so if the  people  approved.    After  a  close
     referendum, Roberts declared that they had voted in favor of
     independence.   A  convention  was  called  to  establish  a
     constitution   for   the  new  nation,  and  Roberts  became
     president under its provisions.
          In   1848,   he  sailed  to  Europe  to  obtain  formal
     recognition for the new republic.  He was well  received  in
     Europe  and  made  to  feel  welcome  in the courts of Queen
     Victoria and Napoleon III.  Both France and  England  agreed
     to  recognize  Liberian  independence.    In  1849,  Roberts
     returned to Africa  with  a  gift  from  Queen  Victoria:  a
     four-gun cutter to patrol the coast against slave traders.
          At ease with the leaders of the most powerful  European
     nations, Roberts also found welcome in the United States and
     in his native Virginia.  On several occasions he returned to
     the  United States for visits.  When Roberts came to America
     in 1844, General John Hartwell Cocke, one of Virginia's most
     prominent   planters   and   an   ardent  supporter  of  the
     colonization movement, urged the Liberian to  visit  him  at
     Bremo,  his  home  in  Fluvanna  County.  Cocke wrote to the
     American Colonization Society:  "There  is  no  Governor  on
     earth,  I should entertain with more pleasure than the Chief
     Magistrate of Liberia."
          After  Roberts  death in 1876, the Petersburg INDEX AND
     APPEAL wrote that his career had been a source of  pride  to
     many  blacks  throughout  the  country and especially to his
     friends and  relatives  in  Petersburg.    Within  the  last
     century,  Liberians  have honored his memory by erecting two
     monuments to him in Monrovia.  The nation's leading airport,
     Robertsfield,  and  the  growing coastal city of Robertsport
     both bear his name, and March 15, the day of his birth, is a
     national  holiday.    Only in more recent years has American
     interest revived in the skillful, forceful Virginian who led
     a  handful  of  black  settlers  on  the  coast of Africa to
     independence and  nationhood.    Pat  Matthews  in  VIRGINIA
     CAVALCADE,  Autumn  1973,  p.  5-11,  plus  full-page  color
     portrait of Roberts by Thomas Wilcox  Sully.    The  article
     includes  many  illustrations.    Pat  Matthews  is a former
     newspaper reporter who was doing free-lance writing.
          George  H. Tucker wrote a column that briefly presented
     Mrs. Matthews article, stating, "Joseph Jenkins Roberts,  an
     almost    forgotten   distinguished   early   19th   century
     Norfolkian,  has  received   belated   recognition   in   an
     informative  and  well-illustrated  article  by Pat Matthews
     ..." "Tidewater Landfalls," in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, Dec. 10,
                        FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY
          Joseph  Jenkins Roberts, often called the Father of his
     country, was born of free parents in Norfolk,  Virginia,  on
     March  15, 1809.  After the death of his father in 1829, his
     mother sailed for Liberia with her three sons.   The  second
     of  the  brothers,  John Wright, entered the ministry of the
     Methodist Church, and later became Bishop  of  Liberia;  the
     youngest son, Henry, studied medicine and practiced for many
     years in Liberia; and Joseph decided to engage in trade.
          In  1839  he  was  appointed Storekeeper under Governor
     Buchanan.   When  Liberia  became  a  commonwealth,  he  was
     elected  lieutenant-governor.    After the death of Governor
     Buchanan in 1841, the Colonization Society appointed Roberts
          During this time  he  had  many  experiences  with  the
     natives.   In 1838, he went as a colonel on an expedition to
     Little Bassa to settle a dispute with them  over  some  land
     which belonged to the Colonization Society.  With a force of
     seventy armed men, Roberts took  formal  possession  of  the
          The Galas, Ballasada and Bopolo chiefs had entered into
     a  treaty  with  the  government  and  agreed  to submit all
     disputes to arbitration.    In  1843,  the  Ballasada  asked
     permission  to  go to war against the Bopolo, who had killed
     six Ballasada men.  Roberts was able to persuade the  chiefs
     to talk the matter over and make peace.
          In the latter part of 1843, Governor Roberts went  with
     Commodore  Perry  to  visit  the  coastal settlements.  Upon
     reaching Sinoe, they called  a  council  of  Kru  chiefs  to
     decide  a  murder  case.    As  a result of the Council, the
     chiefs agreed to give up slave trading, to admit and protect
     missionaries,  to  allow  the  Liberian Government to settle
     disputes between tribes,  and  not  to  permit  any  foreign
     nation to gain title to their land.
          When the Liberian colonies were first  organized,  they
     received  aid  and  friendship from most European officials.
     Only the slave traders were hostile.  But  as  the  colonies
     became  stronger  and  began  to  buy land, declare ports of
     entry, and levy customs duties and  harbor  dues,  relations
     with the British traders became less and less friendly.
          In 1845, a British brig entered  the  harbor  of  Grand
     Bassa  and  seized  a  schooner belonging to Stephen Benson.
     They  sent  word  that  the  schooner  had  been  seized  on
     suspicion  of  being  a  slaver, and although the vessel was
     acquitted in the Vice-Admiralty Court, Benson was orders  to
     pay  the  charges  of the trial and the captures cost.  This
     case was presented to the British Government without result.
          Finally,  the  problems  of  the  colony  in  regard to
     British  traders  was  laid  formally  before  the   British
     Government.   The Secretary of State in Washington was asked
     what responsibility the United States accepted for  Liberia.
     He  replied  that the United States considered Liberia as an
     independent  nation  and  took  no  responsibility  for  its
          On June 27, 1847, Hilary Teage, Beverly R.  Wilson,  J.
     N.  Lewis,  S.  Benedict,  J.  B.  Grisson,  John  Day, Amos
     Harring, A. W. Gardiner, E. Titlor, and R.  E.  Murray,  the
     elected  delegates, met in convention and declared Liberia's
          In  October  1847,  Joseph  Jenkins Roberts was elected
     first President of the Republic of Liberia.
          President  Roberts soon left for Europe for the purpose
     of gaining recognition for the new nation.  England was  the
     first country to give Liberia formal recognition, and France
     soon followed.   England  presented  Liberia  with  a  small
     transport  vessel  and  a  gunboat,  and signed a commercial
     treaty with the new country.  France gave  a  gunboat.    In
     1849  Liberia  was  formally recognized by Portugal, Brazil,
     Sardinia, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hamburg, Bremen,
     Lubeck,  and  Haiti.    However,  the  United States did not
     recognize Liberia until 1862.
          For  eight  years, President Roberts guided the affairs
     of the nation.  A party system was adopted, similar to  that
     in the United States, and new commerce laws passed.
          During this time, a  native  chief,  Grando,  had  been
     giving constant trouble to the colony.  Grando was suspected
     of the murder of Governor Finley, of Sinoe, and it was  said
     that he had given more to the colony than any other chief.
          In 1850, President Roberts invited the people of  Bassa
     Cove  to  decide on the site of the new settlement which was
     to be made there.   The  place  chosen  was  near  Fishtown,
     Grando's  region.  Grando first pretended to welcome the new
          In  1851, when President Roberts was superintending the
     laying out  of  the  new  settlement.  he  found  a  British
     steamer,  CENTAUR,  in  the  harbor.    Commodore  Fanshave,
     captain of the ship. told President Roberts that Grando  had
     requested  him  to  help  stop  the  Liberians from settling
     there.  President Roberts asked Fanshave  to  invite  Grando
     aboard  the  ship.   This the commodore did, and Grando came
     aboard.  He was surprised to see  President  Roberts  there,
     and  denied  the  commodore's  charges.   Later he sought an
     interview  with  the  President,  convinced   him   of   his
     repentance,  and  begged  to  be  allowed to live in the new
     settlement.  His request was granted.
          For a while, Grando lived peacefully in the settlement.
     Then, on November 5, 1851,  he  attacked  the  village  with
     about  three  hundred  warriors,  murdering  nine  settlers,
     plundering the homes, and setting fire to the town.
          During  the  next  ten days, Grando made two attacks on
     the  Bassa  Cove  settlement.    Finally  President  Roberts
     arrived  on  the American ship DALE, while another ship, the
     LARK,  followed,  carrying  seventy-five  armed  men.    The
     presence  of  the  vessels  prevented another attack at this
          President  Roberts  then  returned to Monrovia and made
     preparations for a stronger campaign  against  Grando.    On
     January  1,  1852,  he arrived in Buchanan (the new name for
     Bassa Cove) with five hundred colonists and about  the  same
     number of native troops.
          Grando, meanwhile, had allied himself with  Boyer,  the
     chief  at  Tradetown.  Together  they  commanded  about five
     thousand warriors.    They  made  their  headquarters  in  a
     strongly fortified town surrounded by swamps.
          In an hour and a half of fighting, the colonists  drove
     Grando's   warriors  out  of  the  town,  and  the  warriors
     retreated to join Boyer at Tradetown.  On  January  15,  the
     colonial  force  was  joined  by  the second regiment.  They
     attacked Boyer's town,  and  the  colonial  army  was  again
          There was clear evidence that an English  trader  named
     Lawrence  had  furnished arms to Grando and Boyer and helped
     them in their campaign.  Soon after this  battle  a  British
     vessel, carrying the British consul, came to the coast.
          Without communicating with the Liberian officials,  the
     consul went to Tradetown, called several chiefs on board the
     ship, and had them sign statements  denying  that  they  had
     sold  land  to  Liberia.    Later,  an  English sloop of war
     arrived in Monrovia and sent a dispatch  to  the  government
     denying  the  Liberian  right  to  exercise sovereignty over
     Tradetown and stating that England would not allow  Lawrence
     to be molested.
          When President Roberts went  to  England  in  1852,  he
     reported   this   matter   to  the  British  Government  and
     Parliament placed an embargo on Tradetown.   Boyer  was  not
     able  to  keep  the  support  of  his Bassa allies, and, the
     embargo proving effective, he stopped dealing in slaves.
          Although  many  other battles were fought, on the whole
     the relations with the natives were friendly and most of the
     land was bought with peaceful negotiation.
          In 1851, the act to  incorporate  Liberia  College  was
     passed,  and  when  President Roberts retired from office in
     1856, he was at once appointed President of the college.
          In 1852, a treaty of amity and commerce was signed with
     France, similar to the one signed with England.  Liberia was
     formally recognized by Belgium the following year.
          In 1854, post offices were established in each  county,
     and an issue of paper money was authorized.
          Stephen A. Benson was elected President  in  1855,  and
     Beverly  P. Yates was elected Vice-President.  The following
     year, Roberts as a Major-General, led a force of  a  hundred
     and   fifty   men  to  aid  the  settlement  of  Harper  and
     neighboring settlements  in  their  war  with  the  Greboes.
     Roberts was again successful in concluding negotiations with
     the native chiefs, and a treaty of  peace  was  signed  with
     them.  At the same time Roberts negotiated the terms for the
     annexation of the Republic of Maryland to Liberia,  and  the
     two republics were united.
          During the administration of President Roye,  in  1871,
     emissaries  were  sent  to England to negotiate a loan which
     was needed for building roads,  bridges,  and  for  internal
     improvements.    When  news  of the terms of the loan, which
     were  usurious,  reached  Monrovia,   President   Roye   was
     impeached and the vice-president finished out the term.
         At the next election, Roberts was recalled to guide  the
     nation through the critical situation created by the British
     loan.  He journeyed to England in an effort to clear up  the
     terms  of  the loan as well as to settle a boundary dispute.
     He and the British were unable to reach an agreement on  the
     boundary  question,  and  Roberts  was  able  to secure only
     thirty thousand dollars on the loan.  For this sum,  Liberia
     would  have to pay back six hundred and sixty-three thousand
          The  strain  and  discouragement of this trip seriously
     impaired  Roberts's  health,  and  he  became   increasingly
     feeble.    In  January  1876,  he  turned his office over to
     President Payne, and he  died  on  February  24.    THIS  IS
     LIBERIA, Stanley A. Davis.  NY: The William-Frederick Press,
     1953, p. 82-87

          Among the little nations of  the  world  is  the  Negro
     republic of Liberia on the west coast of Africa.  Founded as
     an independent state on July 26,  1847,  the  republic  will
     celebrate  its  one  hundredth  anniversary  as  a sovereign
     nation on July 26, 1947, and continue with an  international
     exposition  during  1948-49.    The  first president of this
     nation and the first president of Liberia College was Joseph
     Jenkins Roberts.  He was born in Virginia in 1809.  This man
     achieved distinction as a  merchant  trader,  statesman  and
     educator.    It is therefore fitting that the Negro teachers
     of Virginia  should  honor  one  of  their  native  sons  by
     publishing  an account of his life in their magazine.  It is
     likewise appropriate  that  all  the  teachers  of  Virginia
     should  further  honor  him  by joining in the observance of
     Joseph Jenkins Roberts day- March 14, 1947,- the day bearing
     the official sanction of Governor Tuck.
          Like other  noted  persons  of  American  history,  the
     paternity  of  Roberts is not fully known.  He may have been
     the offspring of a white  man,  or  of  James  Roberts,  the
     lawful  Negro  husband of his mother, Amelia Roberts.  James
     Roberts was born free; Amelia Roberts did  not  become  free
     until  1804  when  she was twenty-three years old.  There is
     some doubt also concerning his exact  birthplace.    It  was
     either  Norfolk  or  Petersburg,  and  in  that  section  of
     Petersburg known as Pocahontas.   Certainly  Petersburg  has
     the greater claim on him today inasmuch as his parents lived
     here and the existing public and private documents  covering
     his  early  life  reveal him as a permanent resident of this
          The  lines  for  future  achievement  of  Roberts  were
     clearly marked for him during his years in Petersburg.  Here
     he  followed  remunerative occupations, held membership in a
     church, pursued an education,  belonged  to  an  industrious
     family, and moved in the best social circles.
          His father or stepfather, James Roberts, was a  boatman
     and the owner of a variety of craft sailing on the James and
     Appomattox rivers.  To this business  of  navigation  Joseph
     Jenkins  was  trained.  The youth also entered barbering and
     worked in a shop operated by William N. Colson.  The  barber
     business  brought  good  income to most free Negroes, and it
     did to Roberts.  For his spiritual uplift he belonged to the
     Methodist  Church,  the  religious  body  which at that time
     showed more concern for the  welfare  of  Negroes  than  any
     other  in Virginia.  Methodist slaveholders took the lead in
     liberating their slaves.  For  his  educational  development
     two  or  more  schools  awaited  him.  In all probability he
     attended the school of John T. Raymond which was operated by
     a  society  of  free  Negroes  on  Sundays, or he was taught
     privately by a Negro tutor.  But like certain presidents  of
     the United States, this future president of Liberia no doubt
     received the greater part of his training by the traditional
     American  process  of  self-education  and  by  contact with
     aristocratic white persons of the  community  with  whom  he
     came in close contact.
          The  industry  of  his  family  is  proved   by   their
     accumulation  of  property.    More  than once James Roberts
     bought real estate, and he provided well for  his  wife  and
     children.    At the time of his death (1823) his real estate
     embraced two houses  and  lots  valued  at  sixteen  hundred
     dollars  and  personal  property, consisting chiefly of four
     boats, valued at six hundred dollars.  Several  years  later
     Amelia  Roberts sold this property, which, added to the sums
     of money earned by her son, Joseph, left them in a  position
     to  engage  in  higher  business pursuits when the opportune
     time arrived.
          Finally,  Joseph  J. Roberts enjoyed the association of
     the leading free Negroes of the  town.    Among  these  were
     Anthony  D.  Williams,  Joseph  Shepherd,  John  T. Raymond,
     Colson  Waring,  Nelson  Elebeck,  and  William  N.  Colson.
     Williams was a shoemaker; Shepherd and Raymond were teachers
     and property holders; Waring was  a  preacher  and  property
     holder;  Elebeck  and  Colson  were  barbers,  and  property
     holders in the second generation.   To  property  ownership,
     Colson  added  learning.    By reason of his constant letter
     writing, his reading of books on intricate subjects, and his
     possession  of  a  private  library,  the  progenitor of the
     Colson family  of  today,  in  depth  of  knowledge,  easily
     surpassed many college bred youth of our day.  Colson, a man
     of brown complexion, and Roberts, a man of light complexion,
     were boon companions and both were highly progressive.
          But in spite of the success  of  these  individuals  in
     Petersburg,  there  were  certain  influences  operating  in
     America at  this  time  which  led  them  and  free  Negroes
     everywhere  to  consider  emigration to a foreign land.  Two
     centuries earlier, groups of Englishmen  had  migrated  from
     England  to  America because of religious oppression; now in
     the 1820 decade and later, groups of free  negroes  were  to
     migrate from America to Africa because of racial oppression.
     In every state  of  the  United  States  they  were  granted
     important  civil  rights,  but in no state were they granted
     complete political rights.  Worse still,  according  to  the
     pronouncements  of the leading statesmen, Negroes were never
     to occupy a position of equality  with  the  white  race  by
     making them real citizens.
          Sensing the injustice of this  situation,  but  holding
     rigidly  to  the view that America was to forever remain the
     white man's country, a number of the most  prominent  people
     in  the United States assembled at Washington, D. C. in 1816
     and formed the American Colonization Society.   Their  chief
     purpose  was  to  persuade  free  Negroes  and  ex-slaves to
     emigrate to a foreign land and finance them on the voyage to
     this  land.    The  country  which  the  Society secured was
     Liberia and to this country, they, with the backing  of  the
     United States government, sent 6,792 emigrants over a period
     of thirty-one years (1820-1851).  Of this number 2,409  were
     Virginia  Negroes.    One of the companies of emigrants from
     Virginia came on the ship HARRIET in 1829.   Among  her  160
     passengers on board was Joseph J. Roberts.
          All of the experience gained by this  man  in  Virginia
     found  ample opportunity for expression in Liberia.  He soon
     became one of the leading citizens  of  the  country.    His
     first venture in the new country was to put into operation a
     mercantile company which he, Colson, and others had  already
     organized  in  Petersburg.    It  bore the name of "Roberts,
     Colson,  and  Company."    Finding  such  raw  products   as
     dye-woods,  hides, ivory, palm oil, and rice in abundance in
     Liberia, the company exported these products to merchants in
     New York and Philadelphia.  They bought a ship, the schooner
     CAROLINE for this purpose,  and  on  her  return  voyage  to
     Africa,  brought  over  goods of American manufacture, which
     Colson's wife had purchased in this country for sale in  the
     company's  store  in  Monrovia.    This  export  and  import
     business continued for a number of years, but  unfortunately
     Colson's  connection  with the enterprise was lost following
     his untimely death in Liberia in 1835.
          The  business  success  of  these  merchant traders and
     other met with the approval  of  the  American  Colonization
     Society.    Indeed  this  organization  welcomed any sign of
     growth,  because  it  was  never  their  intention  to  keep
     settlers  in  Liberia in a state of dependence.  Rather they
     allowed Liberia to  follow  "the  usual  evolutionary  steps
     noted  in  the growth of many a pioneer nation."  First came
     the period of colonization, and finally the establishment of
     the independent nation.  Self government was thus introduced
          Every  step  upward  was accompanied by the drafting of
     the services of Roberts.   During  the  last  years  of  the
     colonial period he held minor offices, then during a portion
     of the commonwealth he served as governor, and finally  when
     independence  was  declared in 1847 he was elected the first
     president., with his term beginning in 1848.  He  served  in
     this   high   office   for   four  terms,  he  retired  from
     governmental life for a period of twenty-four years, only to
     be  returned  to  the presidency in 1872, to serve until his
     death in 1876.
          But  the  long  years  of  vacancy  as president of the
     nation meant for  Roberts  only  as  a  long  a  period  for
     activity  as  president  of  Liberia  College.   Founded (on
     paper) by the  legislature  in  1851,  the  institution  was
     assigned to Roberts immediately upon his retirement from the
     presidential office in 1856.  His  was  the  task  of  first
     securing  buildings  and  equipment  for  the college.  Then
     after it was formally opened in 1862, he served as its  head
     and as professor until his death.  Thus during the last four
     years of his life's career he was a dual president-  of  the
     college  and of the nation.  Working against heavy odds, his
     institution, the  capstone  of  education  in  Liberia,  was
     attended during his administration by three hundred students
     in the preparatory department, sixty in college,  with  only
     nine  of  these finishing with the bachelor's degree.  As in
     the Southland of the United States at the same time, college
     education in Liberia was then in its infant stage.
          Into  a  discussion  of  the   numerous   problems   of
     statecraft which faced Roberts as first president of Liberia
     the writer in this short article  can  not  enter.    It  is
     sufficient  to  note  that  his tasks were so well performed
     that the citizens of this country today hold him in the same
     high  esteem  as  Americans hold George Washington, that is,
     they style him the father of his country.
          The  purpose  of  this sketch is to show the man in his
     Virginia setting.  In a sense it is an effort to  bring  him
     back home to the days of his youth.  For here in Petersburg,
     Virginia he was in all probability born, here he was married
     in  a  house  which  still  stands,  and here he has lateral
     descendants  today  and  direct  descendants  of  his  close
     friend, William N. Colson.
          It is fitting and proper, then, that Virginians of both
     races  should  join hands with Liberia in the celebration of
     the one hundredth anniversary of  the  nation's  independent
     existence.    This we propose to do on March 14, 1947 by the
     observance of Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts  day  throughout  the
     schools  of the state and by an appropriate ceremony on this
     day at the Virginia State College.   Luther  P.  Jackson  in
     VIRGINIA  EDUCATION BULLETIN, January 1947.  Dr. Jackson was
     stated as a noted historian and civic rights leader,  and  a
     professor at Virginia State College, Petersburg.
                      FIRST PRESIDENT OF LIBERIA
          Joseph Jenkins Roberts (1809-1876), the first President
     of  Liberia,  was  born of free Negro parents in Petersburg,
     Va.  He migrated to Liberia in 1829 with his widowed  mother
     and  younger  brothers,  and became a merchant.  In 1842, he
     became the first Negro President of the colony  of  Liberia.
     The   colony   continued  to  have  difficulty  with  former
     inhabitants of the area, and in an attempt to  raise  money,
     they  decided  to  lay  import  duties  on good brought into
     Liberia.    This  caused  international  problems,   because
     Liberia  was  not  a  sovereign  country  or a United States
     colony.  Roberts visited the U.S. in 1844  in  the  hope  of
     adjusting  this  matter, but the American government avoided
     taking a stand in defense of Liberia, because the annexation
     of Texas was forcing the slavery question to the front.  The
     American Colonization Society gave up all claims to Liberian
     colony.      Roberts   returned  to  Liberia  and  continued
     purchasing land.  In 1847, he called a conference  at  which
     the  new  Republic  of  Liberia  was  proclaimed, and he was
     elected its first President.  He  was  re-elected  in  1849,
     1851,  and  1853.    Roberts signed a commercial treaty with
     Britain in 1849.  His visits  to  France  and  Belgium  were
     instrumental  in  achieving  recognition  for  Liberia  as a
     sovereign country.  In 1856, he was elected first  president
     of  the  new College of Liberia.  In another visit to the U.
     S. in 1869, Roberts addressed  the  annual  meeting  of  the
     African Colonization Society at Washington.  In 1871, he was
     again re-elected President of Liberia and served  until  his
     death  in  1876.    CHRONOLOGICAL  HISTORY  OF  THE NEGRO IN
     AMERICA by Peter M. Bergman.  NY: Harper and Rowe, 1969,  p.
          The Wilmington, (Del.) Commercial of the  first  inst.,
     says:  "Joseph  J.  Roberts  became  today  President of the
     Republic of Liberia, in West Africa.   He  is  a  native  of
     Norfolk  and  went to Liberia more than forty years ago.  He
     was for six years governor  of  this  colony,  and  in  1836
     became  the  first  president  of  the new republic.  He was
     reelected three times, serving eight years.    Such  is  his
     popularity,  that  he has been reelected for a fifth term of
     two years.  He is a worthy member of the  Methodist  church.
     The  Republic  of  Liberia  is  attracting  numerous colored
     emigrants from the United States, and from the West Indies."
     Norfolk JOURNAL, Jan. 4, 1872
                       Tuck, Speaking at Rites,
                Hits Trouble-Makers In Race Relations
       Petersburg, March 15 (AP)- The  United  States  will  take
     part  in  a celebration of the first centennial of Liberia's
     independence, Sidney de la Rue of the State Department  said
     last night.
          In  an  address  for  "Joseph  Jenkins  Day"  [sic]  at
     Virginia  State  College  here, said Congress would be asked
     for funds for expenses.   Liberia became a republic July 26,
          Reporting on recent measures of  American  aid  to  the
     West  African  Negro  republic, La Rue, special assistant to
     the director of the State Department's Office of Eastern and
     African Affairs, said:
          1. A new harbor  at  Monrovia,  the  Liberian  capital,
     built  by  an  American  concern,  expected  to  be ready by
          2.  The  State  Department  favors  an  arrangement  to
     maintain Roberts Field, an  airport  built  in  wartime,  to
     permit continuation of an air link between the United States
     and Liberia.
          La Rue said the State Department has been "at all times
     willing to give sympathetic consideration to any request for
     assistance by Liberia."
          The  Negro  republic  presented   its   flag   to   the
     Commonwealth  of  Virginia tonight at the concluding episode
     in a day set aside for the State to pay tribute to  Roberts,
     one-time   Petersburg  barber  who  became  Liberia's  first
     president a century ago.
          Dr.  F. A. Price, Liberian consul general to the United
     States, handed his country's colors to Virginia Conservation
     Commissioner  William A. Wright, who accepted them on behalf
     of Governor Tuck in ceremonies at Virginia State College.
          The  same  program featured the unveiling of a portrait
     of  Roberts  by  nine-year-old  William  Nelson  Colson  who
     emigrated from Petersburg to Liberia with Roberts and became
     his associate in a mercantile firm there before the  African
     settlement grew to Statehood.
          In ceremonies her earlier today, Governor Tuck said  in
     a   network  radio  address  that  Roberts'  rise  from  his
     relatively humble birth to a position of  statesmanship  was
     due to his determination, industry and good common sense.
          "Joseph Jenkins Roberts  was  to  Liberia  what  George
     Washington  was  to  the  United States," the governor said.
     "He was its father."
          Tuck,   who   designated   today-   eve  of  the  138th
     anniversary of Roberts' birth-  as  Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts
     Day,  took occasion in his radio talk to express belief that
     the Negro in America "is closer to attaining the standing as
     a  citizen  he  desires than is admitted by the professional
     trouble-makers among us representing both races."
          The  governor said that no real problem existed between
     the white and Negro races in Virginia and that there  was  a
     mutual  respect  and  confidence  among the vast majority of
     both races.
          "We  understand  each other," he said, "and either race
     will not tolerate the meddling of outsiders wholly  ignorant
     of  our  way  of life who are bent upon formenting unrest to
     mar  these  cordial  and  friendly  relationships."      THE
     VIRGINIAN-PILOT, March 16, 1947
                        FOUR VIRGINIA NEGROES
          Distinguished honors for four Virginia colored men- two
     living and two dead- came within a single month.
          On March 14, tribute was paid to the memory  of  Joseph
     Jenkins Roberts, born in Petersburg in 1809, first president
     of the Republic of Liberia, a country  that  will  celebrate
     its  centennial  on  July 26.  Born of free parents, Roberts
     emigrated to Liberia, where in 1847 he became that country's
     first president.
          The Virginia General Assembly has appropriated  $15,000
     to   aid  in  establishment  of  the  Booker  T.  Washington
     Birthplace  Memorial.    The  United  States  Treasury   has
     recently  issued  memorial  fifty-cent coins to be sold at a
     premium to aid in erection  of the memorial.  Washington was
     born on the Burroughs plantation near Hales Ford in Franklin
     County, and educated at Hampton Institute.    Following  his
     founding  and  development of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama,
     there was inscribed on his tombstone: "He lifted the veil of
     ignorance  from  his  people and pointed the way to progress
     through education and industry."
          Plummer Bernard Young, Sr., founded the Norfolk Journal
     and Guide in 1910 and is still  active  in  its  management,
     with  his  son,  P.  B., Young, Jr., as editor.  It has been
     given the Wendell L.  Wilkie  Journalism  Award  for  having
     rendered during 1946 the highest public service of any Negro
     newspaper in the United  States.    The  previous  year  the
     Journal  and  Guide  shared  two  honors  with the Pittsburg
     Courier.  P. B. Young, Sr., was born in Littleton, N. C., in
     1848,  and after studying at St. Augustine College, raleigh,
     settled in Norfolk, where he organized  the  Tidewater  Bank
     and  Trust  Company.    In  1943 he was made chairman of the
     board of Howard University, Washington, and has in the  past
     been   a   trustee  of  Hampton  Institute,  of  St.  Paul's
     Polytechnic College, and chairman of the Southern Conference
     on Race Relations.
          Recently elected to the presidency of  Fisk  University
     is Charles Spurgeon Johnson, a native of Bristol, Va., and a
     graduate of Virginia Union University, Richmond,  the  first
     Negro  to hold the Fisk presidency.  He had been a member of
     the faculty since 1928, as director  of  the  department  of
     social  sciences.    Recently  he  served as a member of the
     Allied Education Commission  which  went  to  Japan  at  the
     request  of  General MacArthur to make recommendations as to
     the Japanese school system.
          Recognition  of  four  Virginia Negroes, two living and
     two dead, should be an inspiration to all  members  of  that
     race,  and  of  satisfaction to all who look for better race
     relations and for progress  through  education  and  effort.
     From the Roanoke World News, in THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, May 12,
        PETERSBURG- A memorial marker will be dedicated June 4 in
     honor of the years Joseph Jenkins Roberts, often called  the
     George  Washington  of  Liberia,  spent in Petersburg in the
     early 1800s....
          While  president  he  made  a  number  of visits to the
     United States and to Petersburg.  In 1869, during an address
     at  the  former  Union  Street Methodist Church, he told the
     crowd that 43 years earlier, at  the  same  place  where  he
     stood,  he  had  made  a  public  profession of religion....
     RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH April 23, 1978  (date  not  certain)
     [more complete information in item that follows]
        PETERSBURG-  Liberian  Ambassador  Sir  Francis   Alfonso
     Dennis  will  be  the  keynote  speaker at memorial services
     today for Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia's first  president
     and former Petersburg resident.
          The 2:30 p.m. program will be held at Oak Street A.M.E.
     Zion Church.  The unveiling of a memorial marked next to the
     church at Sycamore and Wythe streets is set for  3:30  p.m.,
     and  a  reception is slated for 4 p.m. at the Grand Hotel of
     Beaux-Twenty Club.
          Community   leaders,   Liberian   representatives   and
     secondary and college students will be among  those  at  the
     services saluting "the George Washington" of Liberia.
          Dr. John  Rupert  Picott,  executive  director  of  the
     Association  for the Study of Afro-American Life and History
     in washington, will deliver special remarks.
          The  Liberian  national  anthem  and the "Star-Spangled
     Banner" will be among the music played.
          The  observance  stems  from  the  work  of  Joseph  H.
     Jenkins, a retired English professor at the  Virginia  State
     College and chairman of the Roberts Memorial Fund.
          Jenkins, who is not  a  descendant  of  the  man  being
     honored  and  often  is asked if he is, appeared before City
     Council in November 1976, urging that a marker be built.  In
     June  1977,  the  city  provided  the  site and $1,900 for a
     marker and the service.
          Through  the non-profit foundation, more than $3,000 in
     additional contributions was received.  A brochure  will  be
     published  later  this  year and will include a biography of
     Roberts, his inaugural address and other pertinent writings.
     The  cover  will  be  a  reproduction  of a 1844 painting of
     Roberts done by Thomas Sully and owned by  the  Pennsylvania
     Historical Society.
          Contributions toward the projects here come  from  many
     types  of people, and Wert Smith of Smith Advertising, in an
     effort to  stimulate  community  awareness  of  the  Roberts
     memorial  program,  donated five billboards to publicize the
          "We  have taken it slowly and quietly, tried to involve
     as many people as possible  and  the  achievement  has  been
     gratifying," Jenkins said.
          A 6-foot-long marker,  42  inches  high,  will  be  the
     monument, Jenkins said, instead of a statue of Roberts.
          "The marker provides the dignified recognition in  this
     community  where  he once lived.  His real achievements were
     elsewhere," Jenkins said.  "He achieved mightily  in  Africa
     and there are many monuments there,
          "The airport in Liberia is named for him, [as  is]  the
     university   which   he   served  as  president.    Here  in
     Petersburg, where he lived during his formative years,  this
     marker  is  sufficient-  it indicates he was once a resident
     here and that the people here appreciated him."
          The  inscription  on  the marker reads, "Joseph Jenkins
     Roberts, resident  of  Petersburg  1809-1829,  President  of
     Liberia 1847-1851, 1868-1876."
          On the back it reads, "Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts  worked
     100 yards northwest of this spot."  The names of the council
     members authorizing the memorial also appear.
          Roberts,  who  worked  in a barber shop on Union Street
     and made his public profession of religion in a church  that
     used  to stand in the neighborhood, would have walked in the
     area where the marker stands.
          "It is a proper place for the marker," Jenkins said, "a
     site associated with black  activity  in  Petersburg  and  a
     place,  so visible, city residents and visitors to this city
     can't miss it." LeeNora Everett in RICHMOND  TIMES-DISPATCH,
     June  4,  1978,  P. D-1,3 (related story on page D-8)  Also,
     THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT,  June  5,  1978,  "Statue  of  Liberian
     Dedicated,"  stated,  "The Liberian ambassador to the United
     States referred Sunday to his nation's first president as  a
     noted  general and statesman `who inspired the gratefullness
     of succeeding generations of Liberians.'"

                     ROBERTS HAD FAITH IN LIBERIA
        PETERSBURG- On the Jan. 1, 1825 Register of Free  Negroes
     and  Mulattoes  in the Petersburg clerk's office appears the
     name Joseph Jenkins, son of Amelia Roberts.
          Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts,  whose  formative  years were
     spent in Petersburg and who would become the first president
     of  Liberia,  was  described in that 1825 registration as "a
     lad of colour, 16 years old in March next-  rather  above  5
     feet  6  inches  high in shoes, light complexion, grisley or
     reddish brown hair..."
          It concluded: "he deserves to be registered."
          To become registered, blacks  had  to  show  they  were
     needed  in  the  community's  labor  market.   After a court
     granted them that status, they carried  their  legal  papers
     with them, since they had to be presented upon demand.
          At the time Roberts worked in a barber  shop  on  Union
     Street  and  on  one  of  his  father's boats, which carried
     freight from Petersburg to Norfolk.
          Four  years  later,  Roberts  went to Liberia under the
     sponsorship of the American Colonization Society.
          William N. Colson, who had owned the shop where Roberts
     had worked, joined in a mercantile operation  that  included
          In 1836, Roberts wrote Sarah H.  Colson,  wife  of  his
     business  partner,  to  tell  her  of her husband's untimely
     death in Monrovia.
          The  letter, which is in the archives at Virginia State
     Library's Johnston Library, relates  that  Colson  was  well
     during  the passage, but 15 days after his arrival he became
     ill with a fever.
          Roberts' faith is shown in passages of the letter: "...
     the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away.  He works  in  a
     misterious  way his wonders to perform, though it seems hard
     at this time, God does all things well for  them  that  love
     and  fear  him.    You    cannot  tell for what cause he had
     thought proper to remove him from this world of  bustle  and
     confusion,  for his part, he is gone to the realms above, he
     is gone to Abraham's bosom and expects to meet you there."
          From colonization to the era of the commonwealth to the
     establishment of an independent  nation,  Roberts  gave  his
     service to Liberia.
          During the last years of the colonial period,  he  held
     minor  offices,  and when independence was declared in 1847,
     he was elected Liberia's first president, his  term  staring
     in the next year....
          Today's ceremony honoring Roberts is not the  first  in
     the state.
          During the tenure of Gov. William M. Tuck and the 100th
     anniversary  of  Liberia as a nation, Joseph Jenkins Roberts
     Day, March 14, 1847, was held in Virginia.
          Historian  and  civil  rights leader Luther P. Jackson,
     who taught at VSC from 1922 until his death in 1950, saluted
     Roberts in the January 1947 Virginia Education Bulletin.
          It is fitting, Jackson wrote, "that the Negro  teachers
     of  Virginia  should  honor  one  of  their  native  sons by
     publishing an  account  of  his  life  in  their  magazine,"
     emphasizing  Roberts'  "distinction  as  a  merchant trader,
     statesman and an educator."
          VSC   archivist  Lucious  Edwards  Jr.  reflected  that
     Roberts, who had no formal education, faced a  situation  in
     Liberia  similar  to the one that exists in the Middle East.
     "There were  several  different  kingdoms  in  Liberia-  the
     Maryland  Colony,  the  Virginia Colony- he united them, got
     their support."
          A  little-known  fact,  Edwards said, is that the first
     four presidents of Liberia were  from  Virginia.    RICHMOND
     TIMES-DISPATCH, June 4, 1978, P. D-8
          Liberia was founded by free colored people, sent out in
     1822  by  the  American Colonization Society, of which Henry
     Clay was president.   Joseph  Jennings  [sic]  Roberts,  the
     first  president  of  the  republic,  was elected October 5,
     1847- he was a native of Portsmouth, and was carried out  on
     a  ship commanded by Capt. Henry Peters.  HISTORY OF NORFOLK
     Stewart. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1902, p. 384
          A cheerful trend of the period, which,  unhappily,  did
     not  accomplish  the  desired  result,  was  the activity in
     Petersburg and nearby counties of auxiliary societies of the
     American Colonization Society.  The purpose was to encourage
     the liberation of Negro slaves  and  their  colonization  in
     Liberia.    Letters  of the time often contain references to
     vessels sailing from City Point with large numbers of  freed
     Negroes.    The  CYRUS made several voyages for the purpose.
     When its captain died during one of the journeys, his  wife,
     Mrs. Pamela Gary, piloted the ship home.  A passenger on the
     HARRIET in 1829 was  Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts,  who  was  to
     become  the  last  governor  of  Liberia  under the American
     Colonization  Society  and  the  first  president   of   the
     independent  nation.    Roberts  probably  was  a  native of
     Norfolk rather than Petersburg, but he long made his home in
     Petersburg.  Liberia enjoyed its most successful years under
     his leadership, and local esteem for him  was  shown  during
     his  several  visits  to  Petersburg.  PETERSBURG'S STORY: A
     HISTORY.    James  G.  Scott  and  Edward  A.   Wyatt,   IV.
     Petersburg, Va.: Titmus Optical Co., 1960, p. 64-65
                        THE AMERICO-LIBERIANS
          ... But it resulted  in  a  new  and  very  practicable
     document's  being  adopted  by  the  Society,  known  as the
     Constitution of 1838.  This was brought  to  the  colony  by
     Governor Buchanan, who arrived at Monrovia on April 1, 1839.
          On landing, he presented the new  constitution  to  the
     settlers.  It was accepted by unanimous vote, subject to one
     slight change that was later agreed to by the Society.   The
     colonists  thus,  for  the  first time, themselves in effect
     enacted a constitution.  They might  have  objected  to  the
     Society's  document, might have insisted on their own.  That
     they did not do so was the act of a free people, an  act  of
     sovereignty.    The  Constitution  of  1838 became their own
     constitution.  The Society remained  the  servant,  not  the
     master of the settlers.
          Governor Buchanan's  administration  was  constructive.
     In  particular he addressed himself to breaking up the slave
     trade still carried on at points along the coast, notably by
     groups  of Spaniards who had slave "factories" at a distance
     from Monrovia in the direction of Cape Mount.  Buchanan  let
     his  zeal  outrun  his  authority (he was also United States
     agent) but he was never seriously called to account, and his
     actions  went  far toward the final destruction of the slave
          There  were  others  than slavers who had a foothold on
     the Liberian coast.  British  traders  had  for  many  years
     maintained  establishments  for  dealing  with  the natives,
     bartering so-called "trade goods" for ivory, palm  oil,  and
     other local products.  These traders denied the right of the
     new  Liberian  Government  to  control  trading  within  the
     territory  over which the colonists claimed sovereignty.  In
     particular, they denied the right of  the  colony  to  exact
     customs  duties.    They  were  upheld  in  their  denial by
     officers of the British Navy, operating off the coast.
          Soon after Buchanan's accession as governor, the matter
     of the British right to trade regardless  of  Liberian  laws
     came to a head.  A British subject was accused of trading in
     defiance of the colonial laws and  was  brought  before  the
     Liberian  court.    The  legal question involved in the case
     (Commonwealth of Liberia vs. John G. Jackson, Master of  the
     British  schooner  Guineaman)  was  a  close one, turning on
     whether or not his act in taking aboard a cask of  palm  oil
     constituted  trading.   The case was tried before Lieutenant
     Governor J. J. Roberts,  sitting  as  Chief  Justice.    Mr.
     Roberts  was later to become Liberia's first President.  The
     facts in the case were well established.  Roberts' charge to
     the  jury  is  remarkable for its fairness and for its clear
     expression of the difficult legal points involved.   It  led
     to  a  verdict  of  guilty  and  the  defendant  was  fined,
     protesting  that  he  would  bring  the  matter  before  Her
     Majesty's  Government  and  if  necessary before Parliament.
     The real issue was Liberia's right as a sovereign nation  to
     govern   its  territory  and  territorial  waters,  a  right
     constantly denied by the British.
          Two  points  about this case are especially noteworthy:
     first,  the  carrying  of  the  matter  into  court  by  the
     Liberians;  and  second,  the  personality  of the presiding
     judge.  Joseph Jenkins Roberts was a Negro, born free in the
     United  States,  where  he had received a liberal education,
     which did not, however, include the law.  He had,  in  fact,
     followed  mercantile  pursuits,  establishing  in  Liberia a
     successful trading company and  owning  vessels.    Yet  his
     charge  to  the  jury was a masterpiece, its legal soundness
     never successfully challenged.
          Governor Buchanan died at Bassa Cove September 3, 1841.
     Lieutenant Governor Roberts succeeded him and  was  affirmed
     as Governor by the Society the following January.
          The constant denial of the European powers,  especially
     Great   Britain,   of  the  right  of  Liberia  to  exercise
     sovereignty  continued  to  be  the  chief  concern  of  the
     administration at Monrovia.  The colony will still pitifully
     small and weak, numerically and physically.    Exclusive  of
     recaptured Africans and natives, it numbered less than three
     thousand.  But it was strong in purpose and  its  leadership
     was acquiring formidable stature.  That this little group of
     people should come to such a degree  of  political  maturity
     within two decades is astonishing.  Their task had been more
     than one of creating a settlement against heavy  odds;  they
     now  had to face the might of the British Government.  David
     was to meet Goliath.
          The  British,  in  the  person of their naval officers,
     persisted in resisting Liberian sovereignty.   The  position
     of  Her  Majesty's  Government was stated by Captain Denman,
     R.N., who claimed that "as British traders had  for  a  long
     series  of  years  carried  on an undisturbed trade with the
     natives," at Bassa Cove in particular, the Liberians had "no
     right   now   to  insist  upon  their  compliance  with  any
     regulation made by the Government of Liberia."
          By 1843 the matter was in diplomatic channels, with the
     British trying to pin down American  policy.    The  British
     minister  in  Washington was instructed to address Secretary
     of State Upshur, inquiring as  to  the  degree  of  official
     patronage  and  protection  accorded  Liberia  by the United
     States and, if such protection was  extended,  requesting  a
     definition  of  the geographical limits of Liberia.  To this
     inquiry Secretary Upshur replied, setting forth clearly that
     Liberia  had  no  political  relationship  with  the  United
     States.    He  skirted  around  the  question  of  Liberia's
     sovereignty,  but said that the United States "would be very
     unwilling to see it [Liberia]  despoiled  of  its  territory
     rightfully   acquired,   or  improperly  restrained  in  the
     exercise  of  its  necessary  rights  and   powers   as   an
     independent settlement."
          With this mild warning to the British from  Washington,
     Liberia  was  left  to  fend  for  itself.   And the British
     resistance continued.
          Governor  Roberts,  in  a  message  to  the legislative
     council dated  January  18,  1845,  recited  the  reiterated
     position  of the British as communicated to him by Commodore
     Jones of H.M. Ship Penelope.  "The Liberian settlers,"  said
     Commodore  Jones,  "have  asserted  rights  over the British
     subjects alluded to [traders on the coast] which  appear  to
     be  ...  inadmissible  on  the  grounds  on  which Liberia's
     settlers endeavor to found them  For the rights in question,
     those  imposing  customs  duties  and  limiting the trade of
     foreigners by restrictions, are sovereign rights, which  can
     only  be  lawfully  exercises  by  sovereign and independent
     states, within their own borders and dominions.  I need  not
     remind  your Excellency that this description does not apply
     to `Liberia' which is not recognized as a subsisting state."
          In reporting to his council this statement of Commodore
     Jones,  Governor  Roberts  presented  an  able  argument  in
     refutation  and  then  said,  "I  feel,  gentlemen, that the
     position assumed by the British officers  ...  will  not  be
     sanctioned  by  the  British Government.  In the meantime, I
     would advise [that] a statement, setting forth the facts  in
     relation  to  the misunderstandings that have arisen between
     the Colonial Authorities and British  subjects,  trading  at
     Bassa  Cove,  be  furnished  the  British  Government by the
     people of Liberia."
          But  this dignified and exceedingly diplomatic position
     taken by Mr. Roberts, in reliance upon the British sense  of
     fair  play,  was of no avail.  In April, 1845, Her Majesty's
     brig Lily entered  the  harbor  of  Grand  Bassa,  seized  a
     Liberian  schooner,  the  John  Seys,  on suspicion of being
     engaged in the slave trade, and took it to Sierra Leone  for
     adjudication.   Here the schooner was fully acquitted of the
     slaving charge by the admiralty court.  But the entire  cost
     of  the  proceeding  was assessed against the vessel and the
     British continued to hold the John Seys on the pretext  that
     the  Liberian  settlers  possessed no sovereign rights, that
     they were not authorized to establish a national  flag,  and
     that the John Seys was therefore a vessel having no flag, no
     national character.
          This  was  the  last  straw.   Governor Roberts was now
     arguing on familiar ground.  "I am  decidedly  of  opinion,"
     said  he, "that the Commonwealth of Liberia, notwithstanding
     its connection with the Colonization Society, is a sovereign
     independent  state,  fully  competent  to  exercise  all the
     powers of government ... [and that] the citizens of Liberia,
     as an infant Republic, entered into a league or compact with
     the Society, confiding to them  the  management  of  certain
     external concerns.... In this no surrender of sovereignty as
     a body politic was ever contemplated  by  the  Liberians  or
     understood  by the Society....  That an arrangement so novel
     and without precedent should in  its  operations  experience
     some  jarrings  is not surprising.... We have associated the
     idea that colonies have always commenced their existence  in
     a  state  of  political  subjection  to  and dependence on a
     mother country, and for that reason could not  be  sovereign
     states  nor  exercise  the  powers  of sovereignty until the
     dependence was terminated.    Hence  we  often  talk  as  if
     Liberia  needed  to  go  through  the  same  operation.  But
     Liberia never was such a colony; she never was in that state
     of  dependence, and therefore needs no such process in order
     to become a sovereign state."
          It is significant, and certainly speaks volumes for the
     soundness of Mr. Roberts'  argument,  that  a  full  century
     later,   Dr.   Huberich,   a   world-renowned  authority  on
     international law, reached the same conclusion  as  did  the
     Liberian   Governor,   and  by  the  same  general  line  of
          "That  settlement,"  says Dr. Huberich, speaking of the
     landing at Cape Mesurado, "marks  the  beginning  of  a  new
     state, not the settlement of a colony.  The settlers did not
     retain any political connection or remain  in  subordination
     to any foreign power.  They created a state of their own....
     As an independent sovereign state the settlement  had  power
     to  extend  its  frontiers, and acquire sovereignty over the
     territories acquired by it,  and  to  subject  all  persons,
     whether  its own citizens or foreigners, to its laws and the
     jurisdiction of its courts, in the same manner  and  subject
     to  the same limitations as are imposed by international law
     on all states.  The British  and  French  Governments  were,
     therefore,  wrong  in  their contentions that the Settlement
     could not acquire  additional  territory,  and  subject  the
     foreign  traders to the laws of the Settlement extended over
     the new acquisitions.  It had the right to  subject  foreign
     vessels within its territorial waters to its regulations and
     port charges, and impose customs duties on foreign imports."
          Certain as he was that Liberia possessed and always had
     possessed the rights of a sovereign power, Governor  Roberts
     nevertheless   recognized  the  confusion  that  existed  in
     people's minds because of the peculiar relationship with the
     Colonization  Society.    He  felt that the time had come to
     sever that relationship; that his country was not ready  for
         "That  some  measures  should  be  adopted,"  said   the
     Governor  to  his  legislative  council, "which may possibly
     relieve us from the present embarrassments  is  very  clear,
     but  how far it is necessary to change our relationship with
     the Colonization Society for that purpose is  a  matter  for
     deep  consideration....   In my opinion, it only remains for
     the Government of Liberia, by formal act,  to  announce  her
     independence-  that  she  is  now  and  always  has  been  a
     sovereign independent state;  and  that  documents  of  this
     proceeding,  duly  certified by the Colonization Society, be
     presented to the British and well as to  other  governments,
     and  by  that  means obtain from Great Britain and the other
     powers just and formal  recognition  of  the  Government  of
          Governor Roberts was not unmindful of  the  fact  that,
     sovereign or no sovereign, Liberia owed its existence to the
     Society.  Continuing, he said:  "We  should  remembers  with
     feelings  of  deep gratitude the obligations we are under to
     the American Colonization Society; they have made us what we
     are,  and  they  are deeply interested in our welfare; and I
     firmly believe they will place no obstructions in the way of
     our future advancement and final success."
          So the question of sovereignty  and  independence  were
     referred  to the Society.  On receipt of the Society's reply
     an extra session of the council  was  called,  meeting  July
     13-15,  1846.   After a calm dispassionate discussion of the
     issues a call was  authorized  for  a  special  election  to
     determine  whether  the  people were prepared to assume full
     responsibility for their government.  The vote was taken  on
     October   27,   1846,   a  slight  majority  voting  in  the
     affirmative,   about   two-thirds    of    the    electorate
     participating.    This  result  was  disappointing,  but was
     clearly incumbent on the Governor and council to proceed.
          The  matter accordingly came before the next session of
     the legislature in January, 1847.  That body  seemed  to  be
     closely  divided  and  a  serious  struggle  impended.   But
     Governor  Roberts  brought  matters  to  a  sudden  head  by
     introducing  a resolution to determine whether the wishes of
     the people as expressed in the special  election  should  be
     complied with.  This floored the opposition and a resolution
     was  adopted  ordering  an  election  for  delegates  to   a
     constitutional convention.
          The sessions of the convention commended in Monrovia on
     July fifth and continued until the twenty-sixth.  A draft of
     a proposed constitution had been prepared by Professor Simon
     Greenleaf  of the Harvard Law School.  Mr. Greenleaf came of
     an old New England family and was a leading  member  of  the
     Massachusetts  bar.   His TREATISE ON THE LAW OF EVIDENCE is
     still regarded as a legal classic.   He  had  become  deeply
     interested  in  the Liberia project and was president of the
     Massachusetts Colonization Society.
          The  Greenleaf  draft was transmitted to the convention
     by   the   American   Colonization    Society    with    its
     recommendation, and shortly thereafter with its request that
     a clause be added to the effect that title to the  territory
     should   remain   vested   in   the  Society.    This  draft
     constitution was bitterly denounced by one of the members of
     the   convention,   who  presented  a  substitute  which  he
     represented as his own, but which was  found  to  be  almost
     identical  with  the  Greenleaf  proposal.    The  Society's
     request for a clause retaining title was vehemently  debated
     and  finally  rejected,  with the suggestion that this was a
     matter to  be  settled  between  the  Society  and  the  new
          Finally, after weeks of painstaking work, the Greenleaf
     constitution,  with  a  few changes, was adopted, subject to
     confirmation by popular vote.
         Meanwhile,  and as a part of the work of the convention,
     a "Declaration of Independence" was adopted and on  July  26
     was  signed  by  all  the  delegates.  Of this document, Dr.
     Huberich  says,  "A  a  state  paper  the   Declaration   of
     Independence  is characterized by a calm dignity and a clear
     presentation of the facts of  the  historical  evolution  of
     Liberia....      It   is  not  a  declaration  of  political
     independence, for the Liberian community was from the moment
     of  its  establishment  a  free,  sovereign  and independent
     State....  The Liberian Declaration  of  Independence  is  a
     political  manifesto.    It  is  an  appeal addressed to the
     Nations of the World to recognize Liberia as a member of the
     Family  of  Nations, with all the rights and privileges of a
     free and independent sovereign State.
          Before  adjourning,  the  convention  adopted  a  flag,
     similar to that of the United States, but with eleven rather
     than thirteen red and white stripes, representing the eleven
     members who constituted, and with a single star in the  blue
          An election was called  forthwith,  and  of  the  votes
     actually  cast a substantial majority confirmed the adoption
     of the constitution.  Joseph Jenkins Roberts was elected  as
     first  President of the Republic of Liberia.  The opposition
     to the constitution as presented  had,  however,  continued,
     especially  in  the  Sinoe  area, and manifested itself by a
     considerable  number  of  the  colonists'  refraining   from
     voting,  largely  because  of  sympathy with the plea of the
     Society that it retain title to the territory,  leaving  the
     new  Government  somewhat  in  the  position  of a political
     tenant.  Had all the qualified voters gone to the  polls  it
     is  probable  that  the  constitution  would still have been
     adopted, but by a very small margin.
          During  the  first  week of the convention sessions the
     British sloop-of-war  Favorite  arrived  at  Monrovia.    It
     carried  authority  from  Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of
     England, for the commanding officer, Captain  Murray,  R.N.,
     in   the   event   of  a  declaration  of  independence  and
     sovereignty,  to  salute  the  Liberian  flag  and  to  give
     assurance  that  it  would  be  respected by citizens of Her
     Majesty's Government.
          Thus,   with   the   adoption  of  the  Declaration  of
     Independence and the  formation  of  the  Republic,  British
     opposition  to  Liberia's  exercise  of  sovereignty ceased.
     But,  as  will  be  seen,  the  attack  in   its   political
     independence  was  to  be  replaced by nutcracker tactics by
     both British and French, exerted upon her boundaries.
          The  European  powers,  generally, followed the lead of
     Britain in recognizing the new Republic, but it remained for
     Abraham  Lincoln,  in 1862, to bring about similar action by
     the United States.
          Mr.  Roberts  served  as President from January of 1848
     until 1856, and again  from  1872  to  1876.    He  died  in
     Monrovia  February  24,  1876,  one of Liberia's truly great
     men.  It is in his honor that Roberts Field  is  named,  the
     great  air  base  built  during  World  War II by the United
     States Army Air Forces.
          The  period  of  emigration  to  Liberia may roughly be
     considered as extending  to  about  1867.    At  that  time,
     according to the records of the Colonization Society, 13,136
     settlers had gone to Liberia, including 1,227 who settled in
     "Maryland  in  Liberia."    In  addition  there  were  5,722
     recaptured slaves sent  by  the  United  States  Government.
     After  1867  emigration declined and those who then came are
     perhaps not to be counted as "settlers."   Rather  they  are
     people who moved to an already settled Liberia to join their
     fortunes with those of their race who had become  the  proud
     citizens  of  the  Republic.    LIBERIA,  AMERICA'S  AFRICAN
     FRIEND, R. Earle Anderson.  Chapel Hill, N.N.: University of
     North Carolina Press, 1952, p. 75-82
          Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born at  Norfolk,  Virginia,
     March  15,  1809.    He was free born and received a liberal
     education in his native State.  Accompanied by  two  younger
     brothers,  one  of  whom later became bishop and the other a
     physician, he sailed on the Harriet and arrived at Monrovia,
     March  24,  1829.  He engaged in mercantile pursuits and his
     trading firm became  one  of  the  most  prosperous  in  the
     Colony,  owning  its  own  vessels  and trading posts on the
     Coast and in the interior.  From the outset of his career in
     Liberia  he  took  a  keen  interest  in  the affairs of the
     Colony.  In 1833, scarcely four  years  after  his  arrival,
     Roberts  was  appointed  High  Sheriff,  and  was  one  of a
     committee sent to the United States to present a memorial of
     the  colonists  to  the  Society.    In  the succeeding year
     Roberts addressed a communication to  the  Society  accusing
     certain  prominent  Liberians  of being engaged in the slave
     trade, which resulted in the  enactment  of  stringent  laws
     against  the  trade.    In  1839 Governor Buchanan appointed
     Roberts to lead the expedition against Gatoomba,  a  mission
     that  was carried out in a brilliant manner.  Upon the death
     of Buchanan  (September  3,  1841)  Roberts,  as  Lieutenant
     Governor  became  the  Chief of State.  On January 20, 1842,
     Roberts was appointed Governor, which office he  held  until
     1848  when  he  became  President  of  the Republic.  He was
     re-elected President in 1849, 1851 and 1853, and  was  again
     elected  in  1871 and 1873, serving until 1876.  He declined
     nomination for a new term on the ground of age and enfeebled
     health.  Upon termination of his fourth term the Trustees of
     Donations for Education in Liberia appointed  him  President
     of  Liberia  College  (1856)  and  later (1861) Professor of
     Jurisprudence and International Law which position  he  held
     until  the  time  of  his  death.    It was one of the great
     ambitions of Roberts to establish in Liberia an  institution
     of   higher   learning,  and  he  succeeded  in  having  the
     Legislature pass the necessary legislation and grant a  site
     for the College.  Of his work as Governor and President, Sir
     Harry Johnston says: "Roberts had rendered great services to
     the  Liberian  Republic,  only  to  be  matched  by those of
     Ashmun.  It is possible that but for his vigorous management
     the  State might never have had any independent existence at
     all, but have drifted into such a  condition  as  to  render
     annexation  by  Sierra  Leone a necessity for the welfare of
     West Africa."  Roberts'  public  services  as  Governor  are
     dealt  with  in  this  and  the  succeeding Chapter.  Of his
     services as first President and in the succeeding years  may
     be  mentioned  the brilliant work of guiding the Republic in
     the first decade of its existence, his success in  obtaining
     the  recognition of the Republic by some of the Great Powers
     of Europe, due largely to his rare tact in  negotiation  and
     his  charm  of  manner  and vigorous convincing personality.
     Roberts continued his public services after  the  expiration
     of  his  first  eight  years' incumbency of the presidential
     office.  He led the expedition sent in aid  of  Maryland  in
     Liberia  and  was largely instrumental in bringing about the
     incorporation of  that  State  in  the  Republic.    Roberts
     married  Jane  Rose,  the daughter of C. M. Waring.  Roberts
     died in Monrovia, February 24, 1876, as few weeks after  the
     termination  of  his last term in office.  THE POLITICAL AND
     LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF LIBERIA, Charles Henry Huberich.  NY:
     Central Book Co., Inc., 1947, p. 770, 771, 1728.  The latter
     page, Subject-Index, contains very many  page  citations  on
                     DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO LIBERIA
     ROBERTS, JOSEPH JENKINS (Mar. 15, 1809-Feb. 24, 1876), first
     president of Liberia, West Africa, was born of free, colored
     parents at Petersburg, Va. having seven-eights  or  more  of
     white  blood.    He married at an early age in Virginia, but
     lost his wife, and in 1829 he migrated to Liberia  with  his
     widowed  mother  and  younger  brothers  and  there became a
     merchant.  The governor of the colony at the time, Thomas H.
     Buchanan,  a  white  appointee  of the American Colonization
     Society, was having trouble with the natives, who  were  not
     reconciled to the invasion of the American freedmen.  During
     the fighting with the Dey and Golah tribes,  Roberts  became
     one  of  Buchanan's  most  efficient  leaders.  Owing to his
     energetic work, most of the more  threatening  natives  were
     reduced  to  submission.   He then made every effort to make
     friends with the natives, and, after Buchanan died,  he  was
     appointed  in  January  1842 the first colored man to become
     governor of Liberia, at that time, however  comprising  only
     the  northern  part  of  what  is  now  its  best territory.
     Although the colony of Maryland was not formally a  part  of
     Liberia until 1857, its governor, John Russwurm gave Roberts
     full cooperation.  The necessity of organizing the  country,
     pacifying  the  natives,  and  repelling  the  illicit slave
     traders, called for larger revenues than Roberts or Russwurm
     had.  Accordingly, they decided to lay import duties on good
     brought to Liberia.  This precipitated  grave  international
     difficulties,  for  Liberia was not a sovereign country, nor
     was it, on the other hand, a recognized colony of the United
     States.    The  British  approached the United States on the
     subject but received a non-committal answer.  Since positive
     action  seemed to be necessary, Roberts, after strengthening
     his treaties with the  native  tribes,  visited  the  United
     States in 1844 in the hope of adjusting the matter.  At such
     a difficult time, when the question  of  the  annexation  of
     Texas  was  forcing  the  slavery question to the front, the
     American government avoided  taking  any  strong  action  in
     defense  of  Liberia,  and the American Colonization Society
     gave up all claims to the colony.
          He  returned,  continued his purchase of lands from the
     chiefs, and in 1847 called a conference  at  which  the  new
     republic  of  Liberia was proclaimed.  He was elected as the
     first president, and re‰lected in 1849, 1851, and  1853,  he
     served his country carefully and wisely.  As soon as the new
     nation  was  proclaimed,  he  hurried  to  England.      His
     unexpected   success  there  was  due  largely  to  his  own
     character and finesse.  He was a  man  of  intelligence  and
     poise, slight and handsome, with olive skin ands crisp hair.
     He was an excellent conversationalist and had the manners of
     a  gentleman.    His  second wife, Jane (Waring) Roberts, to
     whom he was married in Monrovia in  1836,  was  a  woman  of
     education and spoke excellent French.  In Europe he received
     unusual attention.  He signed a commercial  treaty  in  1849
     with   Great   Britain,   which  recognized  Liberia  as  an
     independent nation and gave Englishmen freedom of  domicile.
     Before  he  left England, ten thousand dollars was raised by
     his English friends and given to him to  buy  the  territory
     between  Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the slave trade was
     flourishing.  Later he visited France and Belgium, where  he
     was  received by Leopold I, and also Holland and Prussia. In
     1852 he again visited France, where he was received  by  the
     prince president, afterward Napoleon III.  These visits were
     largely instrumental  in  obtaining  speedy  recognition  of
     Liberia.  After finishing his term he continued to be active
     in the interests of Liberia, even to the  extent  of  taking
     the  field  against  rebellious  natives.    In  1856 he was
     elected first president of the new College  of  Liberia  and
     continued in that office until his death.  He visited Europe
     again in 1854 and 1862, and on his return from the last trip
     he  was  appointed  Belgian  consul  in Liberia.  In 1869 he
     visited the United States, where  he  addressed  the  annual
     meeting of the African Colonization Society at Washington on
     AFRICAN COLONIZATION (1869).  When there  arose  in  Liberia
     the financial difficulties with regard to a British loan (re
     Edward James Roye) liberia came near revolution.  At the age
     of  63  and already broken in health by his long service, he
     was again elected to the presidency in 1871.  Re‰lected,  he
     served  until January 1876 and died at Monrovia in February.
     Malone,  ed.,  Vol  VII,  Part  2, p. 10,11.  NY: Scribners,
     1963.  (A number of references given  at  end  of  article.)
     (Dr.  Du Bois (1868-1963) was a prominent editor and author;
     see WHO WAS WHO, Vol. IV, p. 266.
          Joseph  J.  Roberts  was  the  son  of  "Aunty   Robos"
     according  to WHO WAS WHO, Historical Volume, rev. ed. 1967,
     page 518.  Chicago: Who's Who, Inc., 1967.
                       ALL HAIL, LIBERIA, HAIL!
     LIBERIA,  a  republic  on  the southwestern edge of the west
     coast of Africa, just west of the Gulf of Guinea.    It  has
     about  350  mi.  of  coastline  facing directly on the south
     Atlantic, and its boundaries extend inland  for  an  average
     distance of about 120 mi., with a maximum depth of about 190
     mi.  The area of Liberia is 43,000 sq. mi., about as big  as
     the  state of Ohio.  In addition to the Atlantic frontage on
     the southwest, it is bounded  on  the  northwest  by  Sierra
     Leone, on the north and northeast by Guinea, and on the east
     by the Ivory Coast.  The Liberian littoral was once known as
     the  Grain Coast because the "grains of paradise," a pepper,
     which was an important item of export.  The settlement  near
     the  present  capital,  Monrovia,  of  freed slaves from the
     United  States  was  responsible  for  the   name   Liberia.
     Monrovia    commemorates    James   Monroe,   during   whose
     presidential   term   the   first   settlement   was   made.
     Robertsfield,  the  countries chief airport, and Robertsport
     recall the name of  Liberia's  first  president,  Joseph  J.
     Roberts,  whose  term  of  office began July 26, 1847.  (The
     Liberian national anthem  is  titled,  "All  Hail,  Liberia,
     Hail!.)  COLLIERS ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1965, vol. 14, p. 549
          A greasy rat roast baking in the oven.  Little children
     licking  their  fingers  after  gobbling  down smokey monkey
     meat.  Sweet potato greens fried in fish oil.
          These  delectables  didn't  titilate  the taste buds of
     students at Huntington Intermediate School.  In  fact,  they
     turned  up  their  noses when told about the tasty dishes by
     African missionary Emma Mitchell.
          Mrs.  Mitchell  spoke to special education classes last
     week about her mission to Liberia.  She captivated  students
     for more than an hour with tales of her adventures.
          "I lived in a mud hut at first,  12  miles  outside  of
     Monrovia,  the  capital of Liberia," she told the classes as
     she projected slides of her experiences into a screen.
          Using   simple   words,  but  vivid  descriptions,  she
     recounted the life she led in Africa and the people she met.
     At  times she interjected African phrases and encouraged the
     children to repeat them with zest.  Soon they were  shouting
     "Good  Morning"  in  African as if they'd known the language
     for years.
          "Liberians speak 28 different dialects so we teach them
     English," she told the students.
          Mrs.  Mitchell was a junior in college when she decided
     to be a missionary.  She has spent three separate  terms  in
     Africa,  each  lasting  about  three  and a half years.  She
     plans to return with her husband this spring to start a  new
     mission  sponsored  by  St.  Timothy's  Holiness  Church  in
     Newport News.
          In  the mission schools, people of all ages come to get
     an education, she explained.  "It's not unusual to  have  18
     and  20  year olds in first and second grade.  But it's hard
     to get girls to come to school," she said.   Many  Liberians
     do  not  think  it  is  important  for  a  girl  to  have an
          Huntington  students  grimaced as Mrs. Mitchell flashed
     pictures of an African funeral  procession  on  the  screen.
     "They  decorate  their  bodies  with chicken blood and white
     chalk to chase evil spirits away from the dead person," said
     Mrs. Mitchell.
          Women in Liberia age very fast, she continued.    "They
     look like 60 when they are only in their 30s."
          Carver Foreign Mission where Mrs. Mitchell  taught  was
     started  in  1960  and she was one of the first missionaries
     there.  Now over 300 students are enrolled in  classes  that
     go through the sixth grade.
          "Everyone wears a uniform in school so the  rich  child
     doesn't  embarrass  the  poor  child  who  can't afford nice
     clothes," she said.
          Liberians  look  just  like  Afro-Americans,  said Mrs.
     Mitchell.  "You can't  tell  us  apart  until  we  open  our
     mouths," she laughed.
          They don't wear big bush  hairdos,  though,  she  said.
     But braids are very stylish.  She showed the group a picture
     of one girls who had 62 braids in her hair.
          Monrovia  is  a  very  beautiful  city,  she  told  the
     students, as she showed them slides of huge  new  government
     buildings  and  lovely  landscaped  streets.  But just a few
     miles outside the capital are mud huts and villages.
          Sometimes  she  and  the  other missionaries would trek
     through the bush country  visiting  tribal  villages.    She
     would  sleep  on  the  dirt  floor  of  the  mud huts with a
     mosquito net over her.   This  was  not  only  to  keep  off
     insects, but also to offer some protection from other creepy
     crawlers such as snakes and lizards and scorpions.
          If  something  crawled on you at night, you didn't dare
     scream, she told the students.  "What you  might  scream  at
     during  the  night, the little children play with during the
     day.  Their toys are living things.
          Men  in  Liberian  villages  have many wives, she said.
     And women  often  give  away  their  children  to  missions.
     Diseases such as tuberculosis are widespread.
          The weather may have something to do with the health of
     the  people,  said  Mrs. Mitchell.  Liberia has two seasons.
     One is six moths of constant rain.  The other is a six month
     dry season.
           Living in a mud hut during the rainy season is  not  a
     very  pleasant  experience and many huts have to be repaired
     after the rain is over.   Some  Africans  are  now  building
     homes from zinc.
          In spite of the seasons,  Liberia  is  green  all  year
     around, Mrs. Mitchell said.
          She  also  showed  pictures  of  the  Firestone  Rubber
     Plantation which has a 99 year lease in Liberia.
          After the slide show, she displayed several relics from
     the  country  and  let  some  of  the  students model tribal
     clothes.  Ellen Betts Rowe in the Newport News DAILY  PRESS,
     Feb. 19, 1975, p. 8 (includes picture showing native dress)
                           EMERGING AFRICA
          Bloody skirmishes were not uncommon in the  early  days
     of the colony.  History has it that one particular attack of
     the natives resulted in their capture of a cannon fortifying
     the  original  settlement on what is now known as Fort Hill,
     Monrovia.  While the majority of the colonists fled, one  of
     them,  Matilda  Newport,  reportedly  offered  to  show  the
     natives how to use the cannon.  After  the  curious  natives
     congregated  in  front  of  the  weapon for instruction, she
     fired it at point-blank range, thereby routing the enemy and
     rallying  her  own  retreating  forces.   For this legendary
     exploit, Matilda Newport became  famous  in  early  Liberian
     history  and  is today remembered on the annually celebrated
     Matilda Newport Day (December 1).
          In  1839,  the  various  settlements  united  to form a
     Commonwealth of Liberia under Governor  Thomas  Buchanan,  a
     cousin  of  the  American  President, James Buchanan.  Eight
     years later a Constitution and a  Bill  of  Rights,  modeled
     after  those  of the United States were promulgate.  On July
     26, 1847,  a  Declaration  of  Independence  proclaimed  the
     territory a free and independent state.
          Recognition by Great Britain followed in 1848,  and  by
     France  in  1852.    Other  nations  followed suit, although
     opposition of the slave-holding southern states delayed  the
     recognition  of  the  United  States  until  1862 during the
     Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
           Manufacturing  cities  in  Europe soon became aware of
     the inexhaustible supply of  tropical  and  subtropical  raw
     products in West Africa, and Liberia with its underdeveloped
     natural resources offered them a choice temptation.  England
     and  France eventually began a campaign against Liberia with
     the ultimate objective of  removing  her  from  the  map  of
     Africa.   Their main fear was that the free Negroes who were
     entering the country might find access to British and French
     possessions  and  give  the  native  population  politically
     "dangerous" ideas.
          Consequently,  England  and  France  robbed  Liberia of
     thousands of valuable agricultural and  forest  lands.    In
     1908  England  brought false charges against the country and
     followed these up with a fruitless attempt to take  military
     possession   of  Monrovia.    The  United  States,  however,
     intervened in Liberia's favor during the  administration  of
     Theodore Roosevelt and prevented further European meddling.
          Liberia was beset with further  difficulty  during  the
     world-wide depression of the 1930's.  The seriousness of the
     situation  was  underlines  by  the  international   scandal
     revolving  around  the  reported  continuance  of a thriving
     forced labor trade condoned by corrupt  Liberian  officials.
     The  League  of  Nations corroborated certain of the charges
     made and implicated a number of  high  officials,  including
     the Vice President, who was forced to resign.
          During this  period  Liberia's  economic  position  was
     severely  weakened  by  its  inability to meet payments on a
     number of international loans negotiated for normal national
     upkeep.    As a result of Liberia's indebtedness, the League
     proposed a  state  of  international  receivership  for  the
     country,  but was unable to overrule Liberia's own rejection
     of  the  plan.    The   British   Government   later   tried
     unsuccessfully  to  induce the United States to administrate
     Liberia as a protectorate.
          The crisis passes when the Firestone Company of America
     absorbed  the  defaulted  international  loans,  which   the
     Liberian Government eventually paid in 1952, 15 years before
     maturation date.  Since World War II Liberia has  enjoyed  a
     period   of  considerable  economic  development  under  the
     capable administration of  President-elect  William  Tubman.
     LEADERS, Vol. I, Lancelot Evans, ed.  NY: M. W. Lads,  1964,
     p. 308
                        THE CHANGING CONTINENT
          Portuguese adventurers of the 15th  century  were  most
     likely  the  first white men to see and explore the Liberian
     coast from Capt Mount to Cape Palmas.
          The  first  permanent  settlement  of this territory at
     Capt  Mesurado  in  1822  was  sponsored  by  the   American
     Colonization  Society,  a private corporation which financed
     the return of emancipated Negroes to Africa.  By 1839.,  the
     group  of settlements which had sprung up in the interim had
     found  it  mutually  advantageous  to  join  forces  and  to
     establish  a  commonwealth.    Liberia's  first governor was
     Thomas Buchanan,  a  cousin  of  James  Buchanan,  the  15th
     president  of the United States.  Eight years later, on July
     26,  the  commonwealth  proclaimed  itself  an   independent
          For the remainder of  the  19th  century,  Liberia  was
     ruthlessly  carved  up  by a host of European nations, which
     were  interested  not  only  in   exploiting   its   natural
     resources,  but  also  in preventing it, as a nation of free
     Negroes, from becoming  a  base  for  the  dissemination  of
     politically  dangerous  ideas  to  colonial  territories  in
     adjacent areas.
          Soon  after  the turn of the century, the United States
     directly intervened to save the country from financial ruin,
     made  imminent as a result of a series of disastrous foreign
     loans negotiated largely  through  British  concessionaires.
     Particularly  hard  hit  by  the  Depression  of the 1930's,
     Liberia found itself further humiliated by an  international
     scandal  involving  a number of corrupt government officials
     who were condoning a thriving forced-labor trade.
          Due to its strategic value, Liberia became an important
     base for Allied military operations in Africa  during  World
     War  II.    The  country did not become financially solvent,
     however, until its defaulted loans  were  paid  off  by  the
     Firestone  Corporation,  when  then  invested heavily in the
     development of many new  rubber  plantations.    The  wealth
     flowing out from this booming industry has helper to improve
     public-health and educational facilities in the  country....
     comp. and ed., et al.  NY: Bellwether Publishing Co.,  1971,
     p. 183
          Liberia is Africa's oldest republic.  It was originally
     intended to be a home for freed American  slaves  under  the
     auspices  of  the  American  Colonization  Society  (founded
     1816).  The society  established  a  small  colony  at  Cape
     Mesurado  (Montserrado)  in  1821-22.    In late 1822 Jehudi
     Ashmun, a Methodist minister, became  the  director  of  the
     settlement  and  Liberia's real founder.  In 1824 the colony
     was named Liberia, and its principal  settlement  was  named
     Monrovia.  Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Liberia's first non-white
     governor, proclaimed Liberian independence in 1847, expanded
     its boundaries, and worked to end the illicit slave trade on
     Africa's western coast....
          President  William V. S. Tubman was Liberia's president
     from 1944 until his  death  in  1971.    His  successor  was
     overthrown  in  a  1980  coup  that  terminated  more than a
     century of rule by the True Whig Party and also  marked  the
     end of Americo-Liberians' long political domination over the
     indigenous,   inland-dwelling   Africans....      THE    NEW
     ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991, vol. 7, p. 331
                        EDUCATION IN  LIBERIA
          ... The strictest economy was universally  applied  (in
     1920)   both  as  a  matter  of  necessity  and  of  policy.
     Education, in particular, was bound to suffer as  Government
     subsidies were cut to the bone, and one of the first victims
     of this austerity was Liberia College, which  had  been  for
     over 60 years the country's principle centre of learning and
     the pride of its citizens
          This  college  had  been founded in 1856 as a result of
     the efforts of  Dr.  Simon  Greenleaf  and  other  prominent
     Massachusetts   citizens   whom   the  Rev.  John  Payne,  a
     missionary  of  the   Protestant   Episcopal   Church,   had
     approached   in   1848  for  assistance  in  establishing  a
     Theological School  at  Cape  Palmas.    Greenleaf  and  his
     friends,  who  included  George  N.  Griggs  and Joel Giles,
     raised  funds  to  promote  education  in  Liberia  and   to
     establish  a  non-sectarian  higher  educational institution
     rather than a Theological School.  Greenleaf approached  the
     President  of  Liberia, J. J. Roberts, about the project and
     consulted him on a number of details, including  the  choice
     of a site.  In 1850, on the advice of President Roberts, the
     Legislature of Liberia granted a  Charter  to  the  proposed
     College and in the following year it incorporated a Board of
     Trustees, and assigned 100 acres of land at  Clayashland  to
     help support the institution.
          It was not until 1856, three  years  after  Greenleaf's
     death,  that  construction  began  on the three-storey brick
     building on the outskirts of Monrovia.    Roberts,  who  had
     been  succeeded  by  Benson  as  President  of the Republic,
     agreed to become the first  President  of  the  College  and
     personally  supervised  its construction which was completed
     in 1861 at a cost of nearly 18,000 dollars.  It is  symbolic
     of  Liberia's devotion to education that the country's first
     President was the head of its first  institution  of  higher
     learning.      Nearly  all  later  Presidents  were  closely
     associated with the College at some time in their career and
     no  less  than  three served, like Roberts, as Presidents of
     the College.
          It  is  also  significant  that  the Americans, who had
     played so important a part in helping to  establish  Liberia
     as  a  Colony  and  later  as  an independent State, were so
     largely responsible for the setting up of its first national
     institution   of   higher   learning.      Simon  Greenleaf,
     incidentally,  was  also  President  of  the   Massachusetts
     Colonization  Society and the author of a draft Constitution
     for the Republic which, after being modified in Liberia  and
     approved   by  the  Constitutional  Convention,  became  the
     country's basic law.  American supporters of Liberia College
     collected  22,000  dollars and some 4,000 books of which 600
     came from Harvard College.
          The  Liberian  Government,  for  its  part, granted the
     College 20 acres of land at Monrovia for a campus  site  and
     1,000  acres  of  unoccupied  land  to  be  selected  by the
     Trustees anywhere in the Republic.  Almost as  soon  as  the
     College  began  to operate as an independent institution the
     Government took over the task of its  financial  management.
     By  1904,  the Government was spending 10,000 dollars a year
     on  the  College-  a  substantial  portion  of  the   entire
     appropriation for education.
          Some of the best brains in the country were at  various
     times  induced  to teach at the College, including Alexander
     Crummell, a graduate of  Cambridge  University  in  England.
     Dr.  Edward  W. Blyden, an eminent Negro scholar born in the
     West Indies, Garretson W. Gibson,m Arthur  Barclay,  Charles
     D.  B.  King,  and  Edwin  J.  Barclay.  The last four, like
     Roberts, served as Chief  Executives  of  the  Republic,  so
     strengthening the support which the College has consistently
     received from the Government.
          But  the  College  also  saw  difficult  days including
     periods when, owing to lack of  funds,  teaching  staff  and
     adequately   qualified   students,  it  had  to  close  down
     altogether or move essential courses elsewhere.   The  first
     of  these  blows  to  education in Liberia occurred in 1895,
     when the President of the  Republic,  Joseph  J.  Cheeseman,
     ordered  the  College  to  be  closed following unfavourable
     reports sent to the Board of Trustees by Professor Cook, who
     had  been  sent  from  the  United  States to be Head of its
     Industrial Department.  Cook eventually became President  of
     the  College  but  the  courses  which took place during his
     administration were held at the College of West Africa,  and
     it  was not until William D. Coleman became President of the
     Republic that the Government made  a  determined  effort  to
     re-open  the College and guarantee its financial security by
     a fixed annual grant.  As the Board  of  Managers  noted  in
     their statement on the re-opening of the College in 1900, it
     was Coleman who called the attention of the  Legislature  to
     "the  duty devolving upon the people of Liberia to take upon
     themselves   the   responsibility   of   promoting    higher
     education...."   Clarence Lorengo Simpson, THE MEMOIRS OF C.
     L. SIMPSON, Former Liberian Ambassador to Washington and  to
     the  Court  of St. James. THE SYMBOL OF LIBERIA, p. 125-125.
     London: The Diplomatic Press and Publishing Co., [1961]
          Since 1939 education has been compulsory  for  children
     between  the  ages  of six and 16 and is free at the primary
     and secondary schools.  In 1974 Liberia became a full member
     of   the  West  African  Council  in  order  to  provide  an
     international yardstick for measuring  the  quality  of  its
          The government provides for the education  of  teachers
     and   sponsors   the   employment   of   foreign   teachers.
     International aid has also enabled the government to  expand
     the  quality  and  availability  of  education.    There are
     several vocational schools, including the Booker  Washington
     Agricultural   and   Industrial   Institute   at  Kataka,  a
     government school.  Advanced training  is  provided  at  the
     University  of  Liberia  (1951)  in  Monrovia, at Cuttingtom
     University College (1889) in Suakoko (Episcopalian), and  at
     the  William  V. S. Tubman College of Science and Technology
     (1978) in Harper.  Several community colleges have also been
     established  in  the  Monrovia  area.   The Monrovia Torrino
     Medical College trains paramedical students.  Liberians  who
     study  abroad  receive  advanced training under a government
     foreign  scholarship  program  and  from   donor   agencies.
     ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991, vol. 29, p. 893
          Six years of primary school education are  followed  by
     three in middle school and three in high school.  Only about
     half of the children of school age, however, attend  school.
     The University of Liberia (founded as Liberia College, 1862;
     university, 1951) is in Monrovia.  Ibid., vol. 7, p. 331
          In  this crowded year (1721) President Monroe secured a
     strip of land on the  African  coast  as  a  home  to  which
     liberated  slaves  might  return and build a civilization of
     their own.  The coasts of Liberia were the shores from which
     many slave were kidnapped before the slave trade was finally
     destroyed (1808).  The town  of  Liberia  was  appropriately
     named Monrovia.
          The Virginians were intensely  interested  in  Liberia.
     Judge  Bushrod  Washington,  of Mt. Vernon, was president of
     the Association (National Colonization Society,  Washington,
     D.C., organized December, 1816) which pushed this benevolent
     work.  Much might have been accomplished from Liberia  as  a
     base,  especially by the patronage of the Federal government
     (which was ultimately expected), had not the Civil War  made
     the plans negatory.  THRU CENTURIES THREE, W. H. T. Squires.
     Portsmouth, Va.: Printcraft Press, 1929, p. 399
          There were, nevertheless, vague hopes that the shipment
     of free Negroes to Africa would somehow lead to the ultimate
     elimination of the slave system.  The notion  persisted  for
     decades  that if enough slaves could be freed and colonized,
     the final result would be that all would go back to,  or  be
     forcibly   deported   to  the  land  of  their  fathers,  or
          It  was  also  contended that colonization was the best
     means of bringing Christianity to Africa  and  reducing  the
     African slave trade by persuading the Africans to "drive off
     greedy slavers and welcome American traders seeking tropical
     products."    One  authority estimates that over a period of
     years, the organization saved an average of 20,000  Africans
     annually  from  being  sold  into slavery.  The society also
     tended to promote national unity until about 1840, since all
     sections of the country were represented in its membership.
          Liberia, on the western coast of Africa, was chosen  as
     the  place  to  which free Negroes should be sent.  By 1830,
     about 1420 had been transported to that country.
          The Nat Turner insurrection in 1831 revived interest in
     the  colonization  movement,  even  though  the   succeeding
     General  Assembly refused, by a narrow margin, to make funds
     available for its promotion.  There had been hope  that  the
     federal government would appropriate money for the movement,
     but these proved  vain.    Another  handicap  was  that  the
     proslavery   argument  advanced  by  Thomas  R.  Dew,  which
     appeared at about this time, was critical  of  colonization,
     and  made  it doubly difficult to persuade future Assemblies
     to give financial aid.  In 1850 the General Assembly finally
     appropriated  $30,000  a  year  for  five  years  to support
     emigration.  But the Civil  War  was  approaching,  and  all
     these  efforts  were  largely futile, since a grand total of
     fewer than 15,000 Negroes emigrated over the years, of  whom
     the  American Colonization Society was responsible for about
     12,000.  Both Thomas  Jefferson  and  Abraham  Lincoln  were
     advocates of colonization.
          Virginia Negroes were  prominent  in  the  colonization
     movement.    Lott  Carey, who had taught himself to read and
     write and had been made supervisor  in  a  tobacco  factory,
     purchased  his  freedom  and that of his family.  He studied
     for the ministry, and was the spiritual leader of the  first
     shipment  of  free  blacks to Liberia in 1821.   He was made
     Vice-Agent of the settlement.  He died there suddenly  seven
     years later.
          Joseph  Jenkins  Roberts  was  also  born  a  slave  in
     Virginia  [sic].    His emancipated parents had to leave the
     state, under the act of 1806, which forced free  Negroes  to
     leave  within  a  year, and young Roberts went to Liberia in
     1829.  In 1841 he was made governor of the colony, and  when
     Liberia  became  a Republic seven years later, he was chosen
     its first President.  After the American Civil War,  he  was
     re-elected  President,  and  is  credited  with  averting  a
     revolution at that time.  VIRGINIA: THE NEW  DOMINION,  "The
     Sable Cloud," Virginius Dabney.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
     1971, p. 230, 231
          Outsider's knowledge of the west of Africa began with a
     Portuguese sailor, Pedro de Cintra, who reached the Liberian
     coast in 1461.  Subsequent Portuguese explorers named  Grand
     Cape  Mount,  Cape  Mesurado (Montserrado), and Cape Palmas,
     all prominent coastal features.  The area  became  known  as
     the  Grain Coast because grains of Melegueta pepper, then as
     valuable as gold, were the principal item of trade.
          In  the  beginning of the 19th century the tide started
     to rise in favor of the abolition of slavery, and the  Grain
     Coast  was  suggested  as a suitable home for freed American
     slaves.  In  1818  two  U.  S.  government  agents  and  two
     officers of the American Colonization Society (founded 1816)
     visited  the  Grain  Coast.    After  abortive  attempts  to
     establish settlements there, an agreement was signed in 1821
     between the officers of the society and local African chiefs
     granting the society possession of Cape Mesurado.  The first
     American freed slaves landed in 1812 on Providence Island at
     the  mouth of the Mesurado River. They were followed shortly
     by Jehudi Ashmun, a white  American,  who  became  the  real
     founder  of  Liberia.    By the time Ashmun left in 1828 the
     territory had  a  government,  a  digest  of  laws  for  the
     settlers,   and  the  beginnings  of  a  profitable  foreign
     commerce.  Other settlements were started along the St. John
     River,  at  Greenville,  and  at  Harper.    In  1839 Thomas
     Buchanan was appointed first governor.  On his death in 1841
     her  was  succeeded  by  Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a black man
     born  free  in  Virginia  in  1809;  Roberts  enlarged   the
     boundaries   of   the   territory   and   improved  economic
     conditions....  THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1991,  vol.
     29, p. 893
           The  American  Colonization Society, organized on Dec.
     28, 1816, sought to settle free American blacks  in  Africa.
     In 1822 it established the colony of Liberia, to which 2,638
     blacks migrated during the  next  decade.  The  society  won
     support  from  many clergy as well as from some leading free
     blacks who believed that blacks  would  never  receive  just
     treatment  in  America.   Most free blacks, however, opposed
     the scheme because they believed  that  its  promoters  were
     primarily  interested  in  removing  the threat posed to the
     institution of slavery by the presence of free blacks.  They
     were  also repelled by the society's racist arguments, which
     characterized them  as  an  inferior,  degraded  class  that
     should  be  removed  from  the  United  States.  The society
     continued its efforts into the 20th century, although it was
     never  successful  in  convincing large numbers of blacks to
     emigrate to Africa.    By  Ronald  L.  Lewis.  Bibliography:
     Staudenraus,  Philip  J.,  The African Colonization Movement
     (1961).   From  Grolier's  Academic  American  Encyclopedia;
     downloaded from Tandy PC-Link On-Line Service, June 1990.
          Having  taken  an  early  and  lively  interest  in the
     American Colonization Society, and written something on  its
     behalf, I was induced in the year 1819, to devote myself for
     some  time  to  the  foundation   of   auxiliary   societies
     throughout  the  United States, the collection of funds, and
     the selection of the first colonists.  This led me to  visit
     all  the principal towns, from Milledgeville, in Georgia, to
     Portland, in Maine.   As duty bound, and by  choice  led,  I
     invoked  the  aid of the ministers of all denominations, and
     especially of my own, without distinction  of  party.    For
     visiting  the  former I was honoured with a printed pamphlet
     by one  "Sopater  of  Berea,"  addressed  to  Bishop  Moore,
     advising  him  to  recall me to Virginia and to my duties at
     home.  While I received much kindness from ministers of  all
     denominations,  I  experienced  still more from those of the
     Episcopal Church....
          In  advocating  the  claims of the Colonization Society
     from Northern pulpits, I always commended it for this, that,
     however  we  might  differ  as to the subject of slavery, we
     might all agree touching this mode of benefiting the African
     race; and there has been a very general and happy agreement.
     Vol. II, p. 362-363.
          The  people  of  Norfolk were not blind to the evils of
     slavery.  Thoughtful men complained of the  inefficiency  of
     Negro  labor  and  the diversion of the European immigration
     from the South....  Considerations such as  these  no  doubt
     were  influential in the forming of the Norfolk Colonization
     Society, to aid in sending Negroes to Africa.   In  January,
     1821,  fifty  Negroes  sailed from Norfolk for Africa on the
     NAUTILUS, with clothing, furniture, tools, etc.    With  the
     vessel  there  were  a number of native Africans, apparently
     just rescued from slave dealers and on their way home.    At
     the sight of these uncivilized creatures mingling with their
     American cousins, "all hearts were touched,  and  many  eyes
     were  filled  with  tears.    After the service numbers came
     forward  and  joined  the   Society,   while   others   gave
     contributions.   Several poor blacks gave their little mites
     to their brethren who were going out."  (Quote form Norfolk,
     by Thomas J. Wertenbaker, 2nd edition, edited by  Marvin  W.
     Schlegel,  p.  127.    Durham,  N.C.: Duke University Press,
          The legislature of Tennessee has passed a law  granting
     the sum of ten dollars to the Colonization Society for every
     person deported from that state to Liberia.    Norfolk,  Va.
     AMERICAN BEACON, Sept. 4, 1835.
                        ACCOUNTS FROM LIBERIA
          Accounts  from  Liberia, via England, are to Jan. 25th.
     Numerous letters have been received from the Colonists, from
     recent  emigrants,  and  from Bishop Scott, of the Methodist
     Church, and from Bishop Payne of  the  Protestant  Episcopal
     Church.    These  all  give encouraging accounts of Liberia.
     The three emigrant vessels which sailed last  November,  the
     Joseph  Maxwell  from  Wilmington,  N. C., the Linda Stewart
     from Norfolk, and  the  Shirley  from  Baltimore,  also  the
     Oriole,  which  sailed from New-York in October- had arrived
     in safety, with three hundred and sixty emigrants.    These,
     so far as appears, are pleased with the country, have passed
     safely through the acclimating fever, and are full  of  hope
     and  courage  for the future.  Bishop Payne, who is visiting
     the Protestant Episcopal  missionary  stations  in  Liberia,
     appears  to  be  much  pleased  with what he has seen of the
     country and its inhabitants.  He had made  arrangements  for
     extending  the missionary operations of the Episcopal church
     to Monrovia.  President Roberts had returned from his recent
     visit to England and France.  The settlement of the Fishtown
     territory had been resumed, with encouraging prospects.  The
     saw-mill at Buchanan was in successful operation.
          A letter from  John  D.  Johnson,  who  emigrated  from
     Williamsburg,  N.  Y.  a  few  months  since,  contains  the
          "I  have  not  ability to describe the advantages to be
     reaped in this country, nor have I the time.  My business is
     so much better than it ever was before, that I am constantly
     occupied in attending to it.
          This  is  a  great  country  for men and women who love
     liberty and love themselves, for money can  be  made  here."
     6, 1853, p. 115
          There  was  a  theory  in  the  1800s  among  generally
     well-intentioned people that the black and white races could
     never live together side  by  side.    One  answer  to  this
     incompatibility  was  to  colonize  all  the  free blacks in
     Africa.  Thomas Jefferson was among  the  first  to  propose
     that emancipated slaves be removed to a remote land.
          In 1816, a New Jersey minister spearheaded a series  of
     meetings   that   led   to  the  creation  of  the  American
     Colonization  Society.    That  same   year   the   Virginia
     legislature  endorsed  the  idea  of  "an  asylum beyond the
     limits of the United  States"  and  encouraged  the  federal
     government to work on colonization plans.
          The Episcopal Church  in  Virginia  also  endorsed  the
     idea.    In  addition to Jefferson, other prominent Virginia
     politicians agreed with the principle, but  falling,  as  it
     did,  in  a  philosophical  middle  ground,  both proslavery
     forces and abolitionists opposed the idea.
          Despite opposition, the Colonization Society was formed
     the following year with the high-minded goal of  easing  the
     plight  of the "free people of color" by packing them off to
     a colony established for that purpose in Liberia.    A  plea
     went  out  to state legislatures for funds to underwrite the
     plan, and over  the  next  decade  more  than  2,500  blacks
     emigrated to Liberia.
          In  1821,  a   group   calling   itself   the   Norfolk
     Colonization  Society met to adopt a formal constitution and
     become an auxiliary to the national group.  James Nimmo, the
     first  president,  again  offered  lofty  purposes  for  the
     society, including giving to free blacks  the  freedom  they
     could  not enjoy here, converting heathen tribes to religion
     and promoting the civilization of Africa.  He also indicated
     that a ship in the Norfolk port was being outfitted for such
          It took Nat Turner's bloody rebellion in 1831, however,
     for Virginians to really get fired up  about  the  movement.
     In  December  of that year, 350 blacks left the Norfolk port
     aboard the "James Perkins" in what may  have  been  less  an
     emigration and more a flight from the frightened whites.
          In 1833, the Virginia Legislature created  a  statewide
     commission to ascertain the number of free blacks willing to
     emigrate to Liberia and also made an appropriation for  that
     purpose.    The  board  determined  that  there were none in
     Princess Anne County who wanted to leave.
          The  commission  then requested that the courts appoint
     local boards to investigate the matter and to also  come  up
     with demographics such as age and sex of free blacks in each
     county.  In Princess Anne  County,  William  Whitehurst  and
     Clerk  of  the  Court  John J. Burroughs comprised the local
     board.  Though the number of free blacks  here  was  reduced
     between  1830  and  1840 from 342 to 202, it appears that it
     wasn't due to colonization.
          One opinion on the matter may be found in a letter that
     Burroughs wrote to  the  American  Colonization  Society  in
     1838.  He was replying to the question of whether any blacks
     in Princess Anne County had been willed to Liberia by  their
     masters  when  they  died.   Burroughs wrote that although a
     number had been emancipated by will, no provisions had  been
     made  for  the  emigration.  He added that a number had been
     made "comfortable" because their masters had left them "land
     and property."
          "I have endeavored to persuade some of  the  many  free
     people  of  color among us, to go to Africa," he wrote, "but
     we have hitherto failed to our attempts.  I  attribute  this
     indifference to ignorance and the great ease with which they
     procure the necessities of life and the  mild  and  merciful
     conduct of the whites."
          He closes his letter, saying, "I should be gratified to
     see a spirit of emigration manifesting itself among our free
     people of color.  May success crown your labours in the good
     cause of colonization."
          Though emigration societies hung  on  until  after  the
     Civil  War,  their  labors were never crowned with much more
     success than that found in Princess Anne.  Mary Reid  Barrow
     in VIRGINIA BEACH BEACON, Jan. 29, 1984
                           CALLED TO SERVE
          Eight  of  the family of William Jackson (1757-1812) in
     four generations were ministers.  Two of them were known  to
     be  members  of  the  American  Colonization  Society.   The
     membership certificate  of  the  Rev.  Johannes  E.  Jackson
     (1783-1845)   of   March,   1840,  is  illustrated  in  this
     publication.  It will be noted that it is  signed  by  Henry
     Clay, President of the Society.
          Also, his brother, the Rev. William Jackson (1793-1844)
     was an active member of the Board and Executive Committee of
     the Colonization Society in New York and other places  where
     he resided.
          The Jacksons are  maternal  ancestors  of  the  editor.
     (JACKSON  SCRAPBOOK:  CALLED  TO  SERVE,  Volume  9  of  the
          For   [Littleton   Waller  (1774-1860)]  Tazewell  this
     uncomfortable situation  developed  when  several  petitions
     from  the American Colonization Society were referred to the
     Senate  Committee  on  Foreign  Relations.    The  petitions
     requested the United States government to set aside from the
     annual revenue a suitable fund for the purpose of  assisting
     humane  individuals  willing  to liberate and colonize their
     slaves and for aiding free blacks who desired to emigrate to
     a  colony  on  the west coast of Africa.  This measure would
     commit the United States to  the  acquisition  of  territory
     outside  the  territorial limits, for Monrovia, purchased by
     the Colonization Society in 1821 and later known as Liberia,
     was  considered  too  small to accommodate a large influx of
     blacks from the  United  States.    Therefore,  the  Foreign
     Relations  Committee had the responsibility of investigating
     the feasibility of the requests and making a report  to  the
     Senate.  After several weeks of deliberation, Tazewell wrote
     and read to the Senate a lengthy report expressing the views
     and recommendations of the members.
          The  United  States  government,  Tazewell   told   the
     senators,  had  every right to acquire new territory, either
     by discovery, conquest, or negotiation.  The  precedent  was
     established  by  the  procurement  of Louisiana and Florida.
     Acquisition of  territory  on  the  west  coast  of  Africa,
     however,  was  a different matter.  This was a distant land,
     not contiguous to the United States, and quite unlilkely  to
     be  admitted  into  the  Union  as  an  equal  member of the
     confederation.   Nor  could  the  senators  find  among  the
     constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress any authority
     to possess additional  domain  to  provide  for  the  common
     defense or to promote the general welfare.
          Other  observations,  while  outside   the   realm   of
     responsibilities   relegated   to  the  committee,  were  of
     particular concern to Tazewell and Nathaniel Macon, and they
     took  this opportunity to air their views.  Tazewell posed a
     primary question: If it were possible for the United  States
     to  possess  land  on  the  coast of Africa, did the federal
     government have the right to transport  thither,  at  public
     expense,  any  part of the nation's population?  He answered
     with a resounding no, terming the very  thought  a  prologue
     for  dangerous  consequences.    Although  the  Colonization
     Society's proposal currently applied only to  a  portion  of
     the  black  population, and partially upon a quasi-voluntary
     basis, could not this precedent be used at some future  time
     to  force  emigration of both blacks and whites, urging them
     by use of bounties and rewards to leave  the  country?    Or
     could  not  residents  of the United States be encouraged by
     oppression to accept financial aid to "fly from the land  of
     their birth"?  Then Tazewell raised the most sensitive issue
     of all: Could  the  federal  government  rightfully  intrude
     within  the confines of a state for the purpose of uprooting
     a portion of its inhabitants and locating  them  permanently
     elsewhere?   Most emphatically not.  The Constitution of the
     United States expressly denied the national  government  the
     power  to  impair  the  political  strength  of any state by
     reducing its population.   Moreover,  the  framers  of  that
     document wisely abstained from bestowing upon the government
     they created any power whatever over the black population of
     the country, whether this population was bond or free.  "Any
     attempt to endow the federal government with such a  power,"
     Tazewell  reminded  the  Senate,  "we  know as an historical
     fact, would have frustrated all the labours and defeated the
     great  objects  of  the  patriot statesmen assembled for the
     purpose of framing this plan of government."   The  proposal
     made   by  the  American  Colonization  Society,  therefore,
     constituted a contradiction of the very  foundation  of  the
     nation's  governmental  principles,  namely  that each state
     should have the exclusive right to decide not only who  were
     black,  but  also  who  were  free  persons.  Any attempt by
     Congress  to  assume  such  authority  would  be  a   direct
     violation of the Constitution and productive of consequences
     terrible beyond imagination.
          From  constitutional  arguments  Tazewell turned to the
     prohibitive costs of the colonization proposal.    A  modest
     estimate,  he  believed,  would be $100 for each person, and
     the sum needed to transport merely the  free  Negroes  would
     exceed  $28  million.    Using the same formula, the initial
     expense of colonizing  the  slave  population  would  be  at
     minimum  $190  million.    This  figure  did not include the
     compensation  that  the  government  would  have  to   offer
     slaveholders  to induce them to release their property.  The
     amount involved in accomplishing  this,  Tazewell  declared,
     would baffle all calculations.
          While praising the generous feelings and  philanthropic
     purposes  of  the Colonization Society, the report concluded
     with  a  stern  warning  against  the  establishment  of   a
     powerful,    self-created   organization   which,   although
     numbering  in  its  ranks  many   distinguished   government
     officials,  could  pose  a dangerous threat to the future of
     the nation.  Should  there  be  any  collusion  between  the
     society  and  the  government  to  restrain  or  prevent the
     exercise of constitutional powers or prerogatives,  such  an
     organization,  despite  "the  purity and intelligence of its
     members, must be looked at with suspicion and distrust."  On
     this note Tazewell ended the report.
          The Foreign Relations Committee did not deal  with  the
     pros  and cons of slavery as such, nor did Tazewell, even in
     letters to his closest friends, speculate on the  future  of
     the  southern  labor system.  He was an indulgent master who
     directed  his  overseers  to  treat  slaves  well,  and  his
     reputation for kindness was so widespread among the Negroes,
     said his daughter, Ann, that frequently  in  probate  cases,
     when slaves had to be sold to effect a division of property,
     they would beg Tazewell to purchase them.  Whenever possible
     he did so.  While obviously a man of humanitarian instincts,
     Tazewell also was engaged in  agriculture  for  profit,  and
     slaves  were  part  of  the  system.    Undoubtedly,  he had
     conflicting emotions, as  did  numerous  plantation  owners,
     about  the  continuation of human bondage, but agitating the
     matter without offering  concrete  and  realistic  solutions
     seemed  to him illogical and dangerous....  LITTLETON WALLER
     TAZEWELL,   by   Norma   Lois    Peterson,    p.    150-153.
     Charlottesville, Va.: The University Press of Virginia, 1983
          (The  views  of the father of L. W. Tazewell, above, on
     slavery follow:)
          I   have  chosen  to  invest  my  Executors  with  this
     authority over my Lands, because I would not wish my Negroes
     to  be sold for the payment of my debts-  They came to me by
     the Laws of the Land & by the Laws of the Land they shall go
     from  me,  for  I  have  no  power  in justice to make their
     Happiness pay  for  my  Follies  or  extravagancies  however
     answerable for them the Laws may make them.  As human Beings
     the Laws have placed  them  in  my  poŸseŸsion-    As  their
     Governor   I  have  drawn  the  profits  of  their  Labours,
     rendering them out of such profits, as comfortable a support
     as I could.
          The Laws have made their condition a  sad  one,  but  I
     will  not  make  that condition worse by considering them as
     Hogs or Horses-  But into whosesoever hands they may fall  I
     implore   their  merciful  government  of  them,  for  their
     fidelity to me.  As Men's  Minds  become  more  enlightened,
     perhaps  it  maybe  found  that the good of Society does not
     consist in tolerating this kind of  servility-    when  this
     event  happens  the  Holders  whoever they may be of such as
     have served me will  without  incurring  the  imputation  of
     doing  an  Injury to to the public, be able to exercise that
     liberality which then will be manifest.  Extract of will  of
     Henry  Tazewell  (1753-1799),  dated  March  10, 1790.  From
          TAZEWELL, HENRY (1753-1799),  American  lawyer;  judge,
     Virginia   supreme   court   (1785-93)   and  chief  justice
     (1789-93); judge, Virginia court  of  appeals  (1793);  U.S.
     senator (1794-99).  His son LITTLETON WALLER (1774-1860) was
     also a lawyer and  politician;  practiced  in  Norfolk,  Va.
     (1802-22);  U.S.  senator  (1824-32);  governor  of Virginia
     (1834-36);  in  retirement,  honored  as  Virginia's   first
     citizen  (1836-60).   WEBSTER'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, 1st
     edition.  Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1965
          Whereas Slavery, throughout its entire existence in the
     United   States,  is  none  other  than  a  most  barbarous,
     unprovoked, and unjustifiable War  of  one  portion  of  its
     citizens upon another portion ; the only conditions of which
     are  perpetual  imprisonment,  and  hopeless  servitude   or
     absolute extermination ; in utter disregard and violation of
     those eternal and  self-evident  truths  set  forth  in  our
     Declaration of Independence : Therefore,
          WE, citizens of the United States,  and  the  oppressed
     people,  who,  by a recent decision of the Supreme Court are
     declared to have no rights which the White Man is  bound  to
     respect  ;  together  with  all other people degraded by the
     laws thereof, Do, for the time being  ordain  and  establish
     for  ourselves,  the  following Provisional Constitution and
     Ordinances, the better to  protect  our  Persons,  Property,
     Lives,  and  Liberties  ;  and to govern our actions.  (From
                             MORE SOURCES
          Historical   data   covering   the   organization   and
     operations  of  the  American  Colonization   Society,   the
     emigration   of  American  free  Negroes,  their  subsequent
     struggles,  etc.,  are  voluminous.    The  records  of  the
     American   Colonization  Society,  THE  AFRICAN  REPOSITORY,
     published by the Society, and records of the  various  State
     Colonization  Societies are the principal sources.  The best
     digested accounts are to be found in  Sir  Harry  Johnston's
     comprehensive  treatise,  LIBERIA (London, Hutchinson & Co.,
     1906);  Prof.  Frederick  Starr's  LIBERIA  (Chicago,  1913-
     privately  printed),  LIBERIA-  OLD AND NEW, by J. L. Sibley
     (London, 1928), and especially  Dr.  Charles  H.  Huberich's
     LIBERIA (New York, 1943).   (This  is  a  note  in  LIBERIA,
     AMERICA'S  AFRICAN  FRIEND,  by  R.  Earle Anderson.  Chapel
     Hill, N.C., University of North  Carolina  Press,  1952,  p.
          THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, as noted  herein,  has
     three  articles  on J. J. Roberts:  Vol. 7, p. 331, Vol. 10,
     p. 107,  and  Vol.  29,  p.  893.    (Chicago:  Encyclop‘dia
     Britannica, Inc., 1991)
          An important source is the DICTIONARY  CATALOG  OF  THE
     The New York Public Library.  Boston; G. K. Hall, 1962.   It
          Armistead, Wilson.    CALUMNY  REFUTER  BY  FACTS  FROM
     COLOURED PRESIDENT  ROBERTS...    Presented  to  the  Boston
     Anti-Slavery  Bazaar.    NY: W. Harned, Anti-slavery Office,
          Liberia  College.    PROCEEDINGS OF THE INAUGURATION OF
     LIBERIA COLLEGE...  Monrovia:  Published  by  order  of  the
     Legislature of Republic of Liberia, 1862.
          Roberts, Joseph  Jenkins.  AFRICAN  COLONIZATION.    An
     address  delivered at the fifty-second annual meeting of the
     American Colonization Society...  NY: American  Colonization
     Society, 1869.
          ________.    THE  REPUBLIC  OF  LIBERIA.    An  address
     delivered  by the Hon. Joseph J. Roberts at the fifty-second
     anniversary meeting of the American Colonization  Society...
     Washington, D.C.: Colonization Society Building, 1869.
          Also the following from Howard University Library; note
     HISTORY, p. 787, 788, re two Brown citations, below.
          Armistead,  W.  A.    TRIBUTE  FOR  THE NEGRO, 1948, p.
     524-526, 534.
     DISTINCTION, 1926, p. 46-49 [Jane Roberts (1809- ), wife  of
     J. J. Roberts]
          Brown, W. W. THE BLACK MAN, 1863, p. 163-165.
          Pendleton,  L.  A.  A  NARRATIVE OF THE NEGRO, 1912, p.
                             -  F I N  -

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