Healthy Soul

July 26, 2012 – Liberia’s165th anniversary of independence

July 26, 2012! One hundred sixty-five years of independence! The oldest republic in Africa, and along with Ethiopia, one of only two continental African countries, never colonized. In fact, again with Ethiopia, and with Haiti, Liberia was one of only three black ruled republics in the mid-19th century! Fascinating!

So here I am hanging out with my neighbors listening to Gamble & Huff tunes, enjoying ice-cold coconut water, crispy fried plantain chips and engaged in leisurely conversation. As the stories spill I am even more fascinated by the connections existing between Liberia and Jamaica – celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence within two weeks – far-reaching historical connections.

Eli Budu Tubman, nephew of William V. S. Tubman celebrates his birthday, that is also Liberia's independence day, rocking to the sounds of Gamble & Huff.

Eli Budu Tubman, nephew of William V. S. Tubman celebrates his birthday, that is also Liberia's independence day, rocking to the sounds of Gamble & Huff.

Eli Alexander Budu Tubman, son of Alexander Glenn Tubman, and nephew of William V. S. Tubman, the 19th and longest serving president (1944-1971), has joined the College of Arts & Sciences as professor of history. From him I learned that Charles Dunbar Burgess King, 17th President of Liberia (1920-30) dealt a severe blow to Garvey’s Liberia Project when he reneged on the country’s offer of land, giving that parcel of land instead to the Firestone Corporation for the production of rubber.

Helen Roberts-Evans shares the personal story of her great-grandmother coming to Liberia from Jamaica with the Garveyites, and although she has lived in several other countries always claims those ancestral lines, even now living on a section of Monrovia known as Kingston Beach.

Alex Bloteh Scere shares stories of independence day celebrations in prior years.

Alex Bloteh Scere shares stories of independence day celebrations in prior years.

Alexander Blotey Scere, nephew of Eli is also here with us. He makes public the open secret that today is also Eli’s 68th birthday. And, in true Liberian style Alex says Eli’s brother, Toe, is his mother’s youngest brother. I then ask why not simply say Eli and Alex’s mother are siblings. The clarification – one ma, not same pa – is offered. Things that make you go Hmmm!

Happy July 26th! No, we didn’t participate in the parades, opting for lessons from history instead.

 

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