Wednesday, March 30, 2005


The refugees at Buduburam are from the country of Liberia. Liberia has a fascinating history - it was the first republic founded in Africa and was established by former slaves resettled in Africa from America.

  • History of Liberia

  • If you're a history buff, this is a great book that will give you further background on the founding of Liberia.

    For most Americans, Liberia is a remote place in a distant continent with no connection to their daily lives. Few of us know that in the early 19th century, it was, in fact, an American colony, and to this day, contains communities called Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Maryland founded by freed American slaves and populated by descendants of those slaves. Author Alan Huffman tells this story in his remarkable Mississippi in Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today. The book begins as the author's attempt to flush out the details of a fascinating Mississippi family story about a prominent plantation owner's (Isaac Ross) desire to repatriate his slaves in Africa, but ends up being a complex and sensitive exploration of the legacy of slavery in the American South and Liberia. As Huffman traces Ross' descendants and those of his family's repatriated slaves, an intricate story of displacement, cultural identity, immigration, oppression, and racial politics unfolds. Ironically, when America's freed slaves immigrated to Africa, they brought with them the only social paradigm they knew, that of the Southern plantation. Overcoming severe hardship, they recreated that culture, and by the time Liberia became Africa's first independent republic in 1847, the minority American settlers had become the country's ruling class. Huffman adeptly shows how this legacy contributes to the current crisis in Liberia.


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