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Politics News

Liberian author identifies historical pitfalls

A Liberian writer and author of the book titled: ‘Liberian: A Heritage Betrayed’ Mr. Sam K. C. Jalwood identifies pitfalls of Historian A. Doris Banks Henries’ accounts of native tribesmen, who were here prior to the arrival of settlers or Americo-Liberians.
He made the observation Friday, 12 April during launch of his book in the edifice of the Gardnersville Wesleyan Church in Stephen Allen Tolbert Estate, Gardnersville, outside Monrovia.

Mr. Jalwood outlines that Ms. Henries, through her writing, was able to tell the world that the settler group, which of course she was a part, did not enslave the tribesmen, despite series of ill-treatments recorded to have been meted out to the tribesmen by the settlers.

He discloses that instead of blaming President Charles D. B. King and his government for the Fernando Po Slave Trade, which many well informed international human rights organizations condemned, she selected to say that, ‘the tribesmen were working on their own farms and claiming that it was a forced labor?’

He notes that what seems to bother not only him but any legal analyst about Ms. Henries’ analyses on the Fernando Po saga, is that she refused to cast blame on the belligerent accessory (the king’s administration) in the entire scam, despite the fact that all of the Fernando Po arrangements were guarded by Liberian laws in consultation with both the Liberian and Spanish Consuls.

According to him, if one took a look at the agreement, one would realize what was expressly written s, that is, “on arrival of the boys (Liberian Laborers) at the Fernando Po to the curator, the curator and the Liberian Consul would engage the boys in the syndicate.

Mr. Jalwood explains the syndicate would then see things done according to Spanish law, in the presence of the Liberian Consul, who was then to superintend the engagement of the said boys as per the law of the Colony.

He suggests that the national motto of Liberia should be rephrased from “the Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” to that of the Love of Liberty Brought Us Together.

Jalwood maintains that looking at such kind of interactions and agreement, to what extent should students of history and philosophy be expected to downplay the involvement of the Liberian government in the ‘forced’ labour deal it signed with syndicators Agricola of Fernando Po by hands of S. A. Ross for the recruiting agents.

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In light of these analyses, he says can’t Liberians start to contemplate that Mrs. Henries had not fairly treated the Fernando Po forced labour deal and all those human rights violations that were practiced right in her presence by her settler colleagues, almost up to the 1979? And were not the tribesmen forced to build roads with their bare hands and beaten by government militia forces in the process?

He recommends that a motion on amendments should be moved on some shallowness in the wordings and intent of the national motto, and that Government should encourage individual scholars to research not only on Monrovia but also on the various tribal towns around the country, noting that, it is only then will the “ignored fact” be revealed and our ‘heritage’ not ‘betrayed’ again.

That civic education should be reintroduced in various Liberian schools, communities and local social groupings so that Liberians will be educated on their civic duties and responsibilities to the state thereby dignifying the Liberalization policy, adding that only then will our ‘heritage’ not be ‘betrayed’.

Earlier, the chief launcher, Pastor and General Overseer of the Free Pentecostal Global Mission-Liberia Rev. Joseph T.S. Menjor, expresses disappointment over the low attendance that mars the launch and appeals to the organizers to re-launch the book so that the larger society which include university students and professors, government officials, lawmakers and marketers, among others, to receive the message contains in the book to provide their expert opinions on the work and make recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the launch committee, Rev. Daniel B. McGee sas the book, which is sold for US$25.00, is available at all AEL offices in the country.

A. Doris Banks Henries (February 11, 1913 – February 16, 1981) was an American educator and writer in Liberia, and Assistant Minister of Education during the Tolbert administration.During the 1930s, she worked as principal at Fuller Normal School in Greenville, South Carolina.

Dr. Banks first traveled to Liberia as a Methodist missionary in 1939. She became a professor at Liberia College in 1942. She was dean of William V. S. Tubman Teachers College until 1955, when she became an administrator at the University of Liberia.

In 1959 she became Director of Higher Education and Textbook Research in Liberia’s Department of Public Instruction. In that role, she worked for Africanization in curricular materials, saying “It should be the policy of African schools to include in all programs as much literature written by Africans as is available.” She served as president of the Liberian National Teachers Organization and the National YMCA, and chaired the Liberian Methodist Board of Education. She rose to the rank of Assistant Minister of Education in 1978. By Emmanuel Mondaye

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