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LIBERIA: An African-American Colony in Africa by Keleti Sanon
LIBERIA: An African-American Colony in Africa
by Keleti Sanon
arrived from Africa with no common language, no family and nowhere to
go. Twenty years later, he is a college graduate two times over, a
professional aircraft mechanic and a man with a passion for bringing
Africans and African-Americans closer together.
his years driving a cab on the streets of New York City and traveling
the country with United Airlines, Sanon realized that much more than a
hyphen separated Africans from their black cousins. Myths, media and
misunderstanding on both sides kept those of African descent in America
from celebrating their culture.
being asked by a non-black person how he felt about American blacks
being called African-American when they "know nothing about Africa",
Sanon was determined to share the gift of Africa with his cousins so
that no one would ever have to ask him such a thing again.
Keleti Sanon is President of Mandingo Publishing, and author of "Another Chance, Maybe The Last - Relations between African-Americans and Africans", available at Barnes&Noble and Amazon.
He has participated in African Associations across the country and
continues to visit his native Ivory Coast to help bring about hope and
economic change. Sanon is fluent in English, French and his native
language, Mandingo. Contact him at www.keletisanon.com and www.mandingopublishing.com or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
President Abraham Lincoln is applauded for emancipating the American
slaves in 1862, it was not necessarily because he wanted to end slavery.
"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and
if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it...," Lincoln
said on one occasion. What really concerned Lincoln and the vast
majority of white Americans was the possibility of a freed slave
most people of the time, Lincoln himself could not accept the concept
of equal treatment for blacks and whites: "... Make them [Negroes]
politically and socially, our equals? My own feelings will not admit of
this; and if mine would, we well know that those of the great mass of
white people will not," Lincoln said in a speech in 1854. Lincoln was
right. Though most slave owners had children from slave women, the
thought of equality between the two races was un-thinkable. Their
solution would be to send the slaves back to Africa.
1817, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed with the
support of Kentucky politician Henry Clay; Francis Scott Key, author of
The Star Spangled Banner; Bushrod Washington, nephew of President George
Washington and Supreme Court Justice; and William Thornton, architect
of the U.S. Capitol. All were slave owners with moderate politics.
Quakers also supported the effort, believing emancipation of slaves
impossible. Land in Africa was purchased from local tribes for the
purpose of creating a colony for slave owners to ship their slaves back
to Africa. In 1822, approximately 86 freed slaves voluntarily boarded a
ship bound for Africa. Over the next 40 years, nearly 20,000 former
slaves would arrive in Liberia.
Liberian settler, Reverend Lott Cary, left a pastorate of over 800 free
blacks in Richmond, Virginia, to go to Liberia. When asked why he went,
Lott replied, "I am an African, and in this country, however
meritorious my conduct, and respectable my character, I cannot receive
the credit due to either. I wish to go to a country where I shall be
estimated by my merits, not by my complexion; and I feel bound to labor
for my suffering race." Though Cary had more than most blacks at the
time, including his freedom, he identified himself clearly as African.
same type of connection to Africa is possible for the African-Americans
today. Reach out and connect with a heritage deeply rooted within.
Imagine what can happen if we use the freedom we have today to help and
support each other in the United States and Africa. Lack of support,
conflict with local tribes, disease and dissent led to the collapse of
the American Colonization Society. No one wanted to declare American
sovereignty on African soil, so they declared Liberia "free" and
abandoned it, making Liberia the oldest nation in Africa to gain
independence. The first and seventh president of Liberia was
African-American Joseph Jenkins Roberts born in Norfolk, Virginia March
15, 1809. He went to Liberia when he was twenty years old. He owned a
trading store at one point and later became the president when Liberia
became independent from the United States in 1847. Roberts served eight
years during his first term (1848-1856).
at age 62, Joseph Jenkins Roberts served as Liberia's seventh
president. In his second term, Roberts served four years. He died on
Feb. 24, 1876 at the age of 66 in Monrovia, Liberia (West Africa). In
Liberia today, there are remnants of those who made the voyage of their
ancestors in the opposite direction. The Liberian capital is called
Monrovia, after American President James Monroe.
percent of today's Liberian population is descendants of the American
slaves who settled Liberia, many of whom are among the nation's
high-ranking people. The Liberian flag looks much like the American
flag, except that there is one star instead of fifty small ones. The
hope of Liberia represents the unity and love that Africans can have
again: One star, one love, and one Africa.
Africa is a continent, not a country.
There are 53 countries in Africa. It is the second largest continent in
the world, both in area and population. Asia is the largest continent.
Despite the perception by some in the West of one giant safari full of
lions and savages, Africa is a continent rich in people (the population
is over 1 billion) and resources (the oil rush continues in Africa) with
many large cities such as Abidjan, the second-largest French speaking
city in the world with over 5 million residents, in my native Ivory
control a nation of people, the first step is to take away their
language, then their history and sadly, their families. While many
slaves were sold and separated from their immediate families, they were
shamed, beaten and taught differently than their extended African
families as well. For this reason, I encourage every African-American to
visit some part of Africa at least once in his or her life to see
firsthand the good and the bad.
sources and outlets have been successful at keeping Africa and the
African-Americans apart for centuries. We cannot let this culture clash
continue. Our connection to Africa is real and is a fact; let's abolish
mental slavery that continues a cycle of captivity long after a nation
of people has been free. Some feel disconnected from Africa because
media images show conditions that are not conducive as a modern society.
True enough, there are some hard things going on in Africa, but consider this:
How can the African people stand so proud and meek in such adversity?
Why are we [Africans] always happy to return home, once we are or become
citizens in the US? We always keep Africa in our hearts. She is in our
blood, in our mindsets. Perhaps it was [is] this strength and
determination which kept the slaves alive under circumstances which
should have killed them.
perhaps it is this mindset which will return African-American culture
to the dignity and respect it deserves. We must not be afraid to face
the legacy of slavery in this country and focus on the forgiveness
required to move forward. We don't have to dwell on the past, but we can
come together and celebrate the future of both Africa and America.
it is written in the Holy Bible, "Seek and ye shall find" (Matthew 7:7,
KJV). Our native hands are reaching out to our American cousins. Our
roots are your roots. Use these notes and the Africans in your community
to uncover the gift of Africa that is yours for the taking. Dig deeper
and see the truth.
today's society, relations between race is so very much better even
though we still have more work to do, but all races are to be thanked
for their efforts in making a better world as Martin Luther King Jr.
dreamed. God is also showing us humans a sign of coming together, as in
the election and reelection of the first black president, whose mother
is Caucasian and father is directly from Africa (where slaves came
from), he is the product of both sides and directly related to Africa.
personally thank all races for aggressively voting the first black
president in office, because without such collectiveness and support we
could not do it alone. That only shows that the world is changing slowly
but surely for a better relationship between all races as dreamed by
Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. As we benefit today by
the work of Dr. King and the civil right movement of the 60's, lets us
allow the future generations to benefit in more ways to improve
relations tomorrow when we are no longer here.
My voice is for all of Africa, crying out to those who sprung from her shores.
"Come home in your heart." I truly believe, "We must give Africa and
our-selves another chance." Let us remember our heritage as they say in
my Mandingo Tribe, "it doesn't matter how long a piece of wood is lying
in the river, it will never change to a fish."
Another Chance Maybe the Last, Relations Between Africans Americans and Africans by Keleti Sanon
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My name is Toshona E. Carter and I am the Founder
and President of this awesome book club, Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club.
I currently reside in Little Rock, Arkansas. My hobbies include
reading, shopping, traveling and cooking. I work for the State of
Arkansas as a Case Manager II.
BPM: Please tell us about Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club!
Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned is located in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After I mentioned to a small group of sister-friends that I loved to
read and that I had formerly been in two book clubs,
requests were made for me to start my own book club because they also
loved reading. Divas Leaving no Pages Unturned Book
Club was established on July 17, 2010. Our first meeting was held at
Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Little Rock with
only four members. We have grown to 18 members and counting.
BPM: What is the purpose for your organization?
Divas Leaving no Pages Unturned was …