Renowned Historian Speaks on Liberia’s foundation today

MONROVIA – Activities leading to the official launching of the Bicentennial Celebration slated for Monday, February 14, 2022 will receive a boost today when a renowned Liberian historian, Dr. C. Patrick Burrowes, passionately called “the people’s professor” because of his willingness to share his deep knowledge of Liberian history freely with others, will be speaking today, Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 5 pm Liberian time.

According to a release from the US Embassy near Monrovia, Dr. Burrowes will be speaking on the topic, “Repatriates, Recaptives and African Abolitionists: The Untold Story of Liberia’s Founding in 1822”, and it is expected to draw a sizeable number of people who are eager to get detailed information on the historicity of the arrival of the first batch of freed slaves from the United States of America at the end of the abolition of slavery to form what is today.

In August 2021, Dr. Burrowes’ years of searching for documents to get to the roots of Liberia’s foundation paid off when he discovered the1821 original handwritten agreement for the purchase of the Cape of Mesurado between members of the American Colonization Society(ACS) and ethnic groups that later became Monrovia which got missing since 1835

The document’s whereabouts had been unknown for so long, Burrowes said, that there was speculation it had never existed at all. For the historian, finding the purchase agreement has been the most significant discovery of his career, he said. And for historical understanding of Liberia’s origins, this document helps debunk several prevailing myths about the acquisition of territory that became its capital.

According to some historical accounts, no land surveys of the territory were conducted, so its precise dimensions went unspecified. Various sources would later provide hugely inflated numbers, but Burrowes deduced from an 1824 map that the initial purchase involved only about 140 acres. He added that a similar piece of land in much of the United States would have sold for considerably less in that era.

The buyers were two White men: U.S. naval Lt. Robert Stockton and Eli Ayres, an agent of the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization founded in 1816 that sought to encourage and facilitate free African Americans to return to their ancestral continent.

Burrowes, who has spent several decades researching the ACS, said the text of the 1821 purchase agreement matched Ayres’s handwriting on other papers and that Stockton’s signature on the document matched his signature on other letters from the period.

Dr. Burrowes born in Liberia received his PhD from the Temple University in the United States of America. He was a tenured Professor of Communications and Humanities at the Penn State University.

Comments are closed.