Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meandering on . . .

Today is the birthday of Joseph Jenkins Roberts (March 15, 1809 – February 24, 1876) was the first (1848–1856) and seventh (1872–1876) President of Liberia.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born a free man during a time of slavery in America and was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, (USA). He attended the Norfolk Academy and Maury High School. As a boy he worked in his family business on a flatboat that transported goods from Petersburg, Virginia to Norfolk, Virginia on the James River. After the death of his father, his family moved to Petersburg, Virginia, where he continued to work in his family's boating business and serve as an apprentice in a barber shop. In 1829, his family moved to Liberia and established a trading store in Monrovia.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts became the first non-white colonist governor of Liberia in 1842. The legislature of Liberia declared itself an independent state, with Joseph Jenkins Roberts elected as its first President in 1847, and July 26th is still celebrated as Liberia’s Independents Day and a National Holiday. His major accomplishments include gaining the recognition of Liberia from most European nations and halting the slave trade on Liberia's borders.

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