Hypocritical Liberia Must Rename Capital Monrovia, Named After Slave Owner, James Monroe
Dear Fellow Citizens:
It’s with profound and renewed vigor I write this plea. I am both honored and ashamed to confess the sins of our founding ancestors and us – their living descendants!
Liberia, Africa’s first independent Black nation and the Door of Return, is arguably the beacon of freedom and hope in this continent. Founded in 1822 and independent in 1847, Pepper Coast, as this area was once called (and part of the Malian Empire) before European occupations and colonizations – was the prophesy envisioned by Blacks and Frees Slaves yearning to return home to Africa to escape slavery and racism and with hope of reconnecting with their ancestors’ spirits.
With efforts from these free men and women together with local colonization societies in America, the journey for freedom and “kicking out” started to materialize especially when politicians in the U.S. Congress joined and advocated for the movement.
Not out of sensing the indignity and wrong that slavery is (was), White politicians only pushed for the “kicking out” campaigns because they felt whites and blacks couldn’t coexist – let alone see Blacks as neighbors or equal fellow citizens of their Union. One such local politicians was James Monroe; the 5th president of the U.S (1817-1825).
James Monroe, after whom the capital, Monrovia, of the new republic Liberia, is named, was a staunch supporter of the movement to send Blacks to Africa.
MONROE WAS A SLAVE OWNER!
One of the greatest honors one can bestow upon another in Africa is to name ones child after another person. I’ve see men and women cry unapologetically at Daynabor (a Mandingo occasion literally means to show the child to the world and reveal her name for the first time). Like true Africanism, this act in itself has no financial value – no amount of money can pay for that RESPECT. Now imagine that honor ENJOYED by an individual who ENSLAVED Blacks (our ancestors forcefully plugged out like cassava roots). At the time, similar to the Black Lives Matter movement that is unstoppable and turning the establishment over its head – the repatriation of Blacks, due in part to the eventual ending of slavery: the motion was already in play!
Black Lives Matter is more than police brutality and the unpunished and unjustified killings of Blacks in America! It seeks to relegate and destroy the systemic RACIST cultures towards Blacks all over the world. Like Rev. Al Sharpton so eloquently stated during the late George Floyd’s memorial, “…get your knees off our necks.”! I applaud all Africans who’ve come out in support of BLM – but it falls short of an apology!
As we see the statues of men once held in high esteem forcibly fall and removed (Columbus in America, Leopald in Belgium, Ghandi in Ghana, amongst many), it is time we address our alliance with and the growth of colonization – a mindset that holds Black African history, traditions, culture, foods, medicines, religions, languages and pigmentations inferior to others!
Where is our identity? By whose narrative are we examined and labeled. It is HIGH TIMES, and we need to seize the moment to start the journey away from colonialism and an inferiority mindset.
I am asking and encouraging you to look at the possibility of renaming our capital Monrovia (named after a SLAVE OWNER). It’s hypocritical of us to demand change in America but ignore to address our identity and issues at home! We owe it to the next generation of leaders do CHANGE and to quote professor Patrice Lumumba – “you are only successful when your successor succeeds.”
I am a proud son of Nimba and least we forget, Sanniquellie (capital of Nimba), was the first home of the Organisation of African Unity (O.A.U).
The task NOW is given to you to seek guidance from your Citizens to suggest a name that is both SYMBOLIC and HISTORICALLY relevant. If I may, DUCOR!
Thanks for your timely consideration.
A son of Sanniquellie
Former Acting President
IEMSA, Inc (IE)