On Nov 9, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC), International, a group which initially formed in Los Angeles in 2006, and the Liberian government of President George Weah, signed a Memorandum of Agreement for SRDC to accept a significant plot of land in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, and to build a new public building, the Liberian Pan African Public Library, on that land.
This will be Liberia’s first public library, and a gigantic act of cooperation between an African Diaspora group and an African government.
In fact, the scale of this project would be unprecedented in modern times. It represents a major Diasporan commitment towards African development, and directly addresses what the African Union asked the African Diaspora to do, when the AU invited the Diaspora (in 2003) to return to Africa and join the rebuilding effort.
There will be a great leap forward in organizing the project and raising the funds to accomplish this commitment in the coming months. But Liberia, and Africa, are worth it.
Although we haven’t always remembered, Liberia was birthed from African-Americans leaving southern plantations—as freed, escaped or never enslaved—members of the African-American population. They formed the Americo-Liberian section of Liberia’s population ( and sometimes, ingloriously, treated indigenous Liberians just as White Southerners had notoriously treated them, including preventing them from participation in voting, and dominating the political life of the country for most of its history, as a group of Black elites).
No, it wasn’t smooth, and yes, both the U.S. government and the Black American population in this country and in the islands, essentially abandoned Liberia to swim on its own. It more than survived. It declared itself independent in 1847 (the first African country to do that after the age of colonization began in the 19th century), and through several very ill historical winds, thrived. It will hold major celebrations of that independence during the second half of 2022, if the pandemic does not force a drastic change of plans.
All who can make the trip to participate in those Independence and Survival Celebrations, please do so. It will be an exciting journey through African-American and continental African history. Those who go will get a chance to see how when we stand and yet fall, we know how to rise ourselves back up and learn to walk tall.
While there, you will get a chance to see the beginnings of the new library, near the coast, and you will hear about the new scholarship program the SRDC just established to help public school students obtain graduation from government high schools. The project also includes a training program in Library Science to ensure Liberians are ready to run their own new library.
The Liberian story is not a languid or easy one. It is, however, a self-made one. This is the country Marcus Garvey intended to visit and buy land in; and this is the land that allowed the Firestone Rubber Company to acquire a gigantic piece of real estate for pennies on the dollar. Firestone made millions, but paid Liberia and Liberians little of that.
The SRDC is proud to now be a part of the Liberian story. It invites you all to join it in this great quest.
For more information contact: www.srdcinternational.org.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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