The history of the Liberian nation state would be incomplete without acknowledging the contributions of the first group of freed slaves who touched down in 1822 on what is today known as Providence Island, establishing a haven for freed slaves from the United States of America, and 25 years later, declaring the independence of Africa’s first non-colonized republic. In a landmark declaration, the Government of Liberia, by directive of President George Manneh Weah, has now established a National Steering Committee to plan and execute activities to commemorate the bicentennial celebration of the resettlement of freed slaves in 1822 and the founding of the republic.
According to an Executive Mansion press release issued August 28, 2021, the Government of Liberia has set aside the year 2022 to mark the bicentennial of a movement that began on February 6, 1820, as an attempt to repatriate freed slaves.
“The year is symbolic as it commemorates 200 years since the first group of freed slaves touched down on what is now called Providence Island,” the release stated.
Members of the National Bicentennial Anniversary Steering Committee include the Ministry of Information as Chair; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as 1st Co-Chair; and the Monrovia City Cooperation as 2nd Co-Chair.
Other members of the Bicentennial Anniversary Committee include the Ministries of Finance Development Planning, Justice, Commerce and Industry, Agriculture, and the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection.
Other Agencies of Government include the General Services Agency, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National Police, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, National Port Authority, Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company, Bureau of Maritime Affairs, Roberts International Airport, and the Liberia Revenue Authority.
The Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs will accordingly coordinate between the Steering Committee and the President. The Committee will also be supported by a Technical Secretariat to ensure deliverables are met timely and efficiently.
“The bicentennial program will be formally launched by His Excellency President George Manneh Weah for Africans and friends of Liberia in the diaspora to reunite with Liberia,” the release stated.
The festival is expected to be a year-long event commencing from January 2022 through December 2022.
The first meeting of the steering committee will be held on Monday, August 30, 2021, at the Cecil Dennis Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 11 AM.