America Joins In Bicentennial Celebration

201

The Department of State of the United States government has joined Liberia in commemorating the Bicentennial of the arrival of the first freed black Americans to Providence Island, Liberia.

   In a statement issued Friday, January 7, 2022, the Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Ned Price, said, “Two hundred years ago today, a group of free Black men, women, and children from the United States established a settlement on Providence Island in what would become the city of Monrovia and, in 1847, the Republic of Liberia. Today, the United States joins the Republic of Liberia in commemorating this bicentennial. As two of the oldest continuous republics in the world, the United States and Liberia share a unique history paired with common democratic values. We recognize our common roots and the historical significance of the arrival of these free Black Americans in 1822.”

   According to Spokesman Price, “Over the course of the 19th century, roughly 16,000 Black Americans immigrated from the United States to Liberia with the support of the American Colonization Society (ACS), joining thousands of resettled Africans rescued and freed from the slave trade by the U.S. Navy. We acknowledge the racist nature of the American Colonization Society and that slavery continued in parts of America for more than 40 years after the arrival of the first Black Americans to Liberia. Racism and oppression motivated many freed Black Americans to look for freedom and equality overseas. That struggle for equality continues to this day.

   “Africa’s oldest republic, Liberia, is a stable democracy in West Africa and an important partner of the United States. In commemorating the bicentennial of the arrival of American settlers, we also recognize the ethnic and cultural diversity of Liberia’s indigenous population, one that long predates the arrival of American immigrants, and celebrate the contributions of all Liberians in making the country what it is today.”

   In a related development, the President of the Republic, Dr. George Manneh Weah, has underscored the importance of national peace and unity as critical pillars of national development and transformation.

Pres. George M. Weah

   Delivering a special statement on Friday, January 7, 2022 at the kickoff of the Bicentennial Celebration on the historic Providence Island, the President called on all citizens, irrespective of their social, political, and economic backgrounds to embrace the commemoration of Liberia’s 200 years of statehood towards strengthening national unity and peace.

   The Bicentennial celebration is a year-long event paying homage to Africa’s first republic, whose founding essentially began with the arrival of freed black slaves from the United States of America on what is now called Providence Island 200 years ago.

   In the speech that mainly dwelled on national unity and reconciliation, President Weah called on Liberians to redouble their efforts to promote unity amongst Liberians, no matter where they reside.

   He also encouraged all Liberians to make meaningful contributions to the nation-building process of the country.

    “In Liberia, national unity and reconciliation is the cornerstone to all national development efforts, and is the basis for combating all forms of discrimination and exclusion,” the Chief Executive noted. “As a country which has emerged from a divided past and a recent civil war, it is our only option for survival and continuity as a nation.’

   He added, “We must therefore continue to embrace the tenets of national unity as we move forward—together—towards becoming a reconciled and democratic nation, whose citizens are at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and the world.”

   The President underscored that redefining Liberia’s identity and building a shared sense of nationalism should be at the center of reconciliation in Liberia.

   According to him, the model for genuine national unity and reconciliation should be inspired and founded on positive cultural values, citizenship building, good governance, economic empowerment, and the rule of law.

   “As we commemorate our National Bicentennial, let us recollect memories of all of our ancestors—their various ways of life, their respective histories and cultures, and the way they co-existed with each other as long-lost brothers and sisters returned to the land to form a unique and united country,” President Weah asserted.

   He said though Liberians are from diverse ethnic groups, religious beliefs, and regions, the citizens must continue to co-exist peacefully as one united Liberian nation by the Constitution. “We, as Liberians, can only promote national unity and reconciliation by living together in peace and harmony,” President Weah reiterated.

   President Dr. Weah said further stated, “We can also promote national unity and reconciliation through exercising tolerance by accepting each other’s way of life. In a country such as ours, Liberia, there are so many people with different cultures and traditions, which influence their ideologies about life and about how to approach things.”

   The Librarian leader acknowledged that it is high time Liberians accepted and accorded every person the respect they deserve in matters relating to differences in ideologies and understanding.

   President Weah also emphasized patriotism as a major tool in promoting national unity and reconciliation, noting that they are the bedrock of the national foundation.

   “When there is love for one’s nation, such love will engender a spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and fraternity among us as citizens of Liberia, our common country,” President Weah maintained.

   The Liberian Chief Executive also called on Liberians to denounce and combat acts, writings, and utterances that promote discrimination, intolerance, or lack of justice, emphasizing that these vices are counter-productive to the achievement of national unity and reconciliation.

   “Fellow Liberians, in fostering genuine national unity and reconciliation, we must let go of the past, embrace the present within the context of our diversities, and give birth to the future with unity, peace, reconciliation, and sustainable development as our imperative agenda,” he said, adding, “As President and Chief Executive of our sweet land of liberty, Liberia, I want to call on all Liberians to champion the cause of national unity and to reconcile our differences for Liberia’s growth and development.”

   He urged Liberians to ensure that national unity reigns everywhere in Liberia and peace reigns throughout the length and breadth of Liberia.

   The President paid homage to the indigenous population in 1822 and centuries before, as well as others who came afterward.

   As part of this national unification effort, President Weah planted two cotton tree seedlings on Providence Island to replace the “male and female” cotton trees that once stood there for centuries. 

  The President said, by planting the seedlings on the official commencement of the 2022 Bicentennial, Liberians were reinforcing the common heritage that unites them, as descendants of the indigenous people and the descendants of the settlers.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.