The birthday of J.J. Roberts is celebrated on March 15. Joseph Jenkins Roberts served as both the first and seventh president of Liberia. He led the movement for Liberian independence and was so well-liked that he was re-elected three times. Liberian citizens commemorate J.J. Roberts’ birthday as a day of remembrance for the founding father’s sacrifices as the leader of the independence movement. It challenges Liberians to follow in his footsteps as a statesman, diplomat, and humanitarian. Citizens also honor their nation’s historical significance in Africa as the pioneer of democracy in the Western tradition.
The background of J.J. Roberts Birthday
Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born in 1809 in the United States, in Norfolk, Virginia. Son of free people of color, Roberts led a relatively privileged existence for an African American at the time, working in the boating business of his adoptive father, James Roberts. The senior Roberts passed away shortly after relocating with his family to Petersburg. The younger Roberts continued to labor in the business of his late father. He served as an apprentice in the barbershop of William Colson, one of the town’s most educated African Americans. Colson was a minister as well. Roberts’s interest in intellectual pursuits was sparked when Colson granted him access to his library, recognizing his intelligence.
Even though he was a free man, Roberts’ African ancestry imposed certain social restrictions on him despite his becoming affluent and educated. He joined a group of Virginians leaving for Monrovia, the capital of the colony Liberia, after hearing about the American Colonization Society’s endeavors to establish a colony on the African coast. Roberts sailed to Africa in 1829 with his mother and all of his siblings except one.
Roberts was designated high sheriff of Liberia in 1833 to collect taxes from the colonies of indigenous people. The American Colonization Society appointed Roberts as vice governor in 1839, at which point he assumed the role. Roberts became Liberia’s first African American monarch when his superior Thomas Buchanan died two years later. In 1847, when Liberia was proclaimed independent, he had successfully led the call for sovereignty over the previous five years. Roberts was elected the nation’s first president and served for eight years. Roberts, a devout Christian, educated and converted several Liberians to Christianity. In Liberia, he also ended the Atlantic Slave Trade.
5 FACTS ABOUT LIBERIA
Liberia is the oldest republic and the first African country to proclaim independence.
Even at the height of the scramble for Africa, Liberia was the only African black state that had not been colonized by European nations.
From 2006 to 2018, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf served as the first African female chief of state.
Washington D.C. is the other capital named after an American president.
The single star signifies the nation’s status as the only Western-style independent nation in Africa, while the eleven stripes represent the eleven men who signed the Liberian Declaration of Independence.
J.J. ROBERTS BIRTHDAY DATES