Post by Mack A. Damia
On Tue, 10 May 2011 19:32:55 -0700 (PDT), tomcervo
Post by tomcervo Post by Dave in Toronto
Slaves WERE sometimes freed (some became slave owners themselves) many
of them decided to accept the American government's offer of passage
to Liberia where they established a colony. They always referred to
themselves as Americans - as did the Africans and British - and they
regarded the native population as 'savages' and treated them the same
way as did the European colonizers. The new country _The Republic of
Liberia_ became very active in the slave trade and was one of the last
countries to declare it illegal. Some time in the 1930's I think.
Got a cite for that--Wiki says nothing.
It's all there.
Here it is:
Tension reached crisis point in the late 1920s when the government of
a country with a founding charter explicitly condemning the slave
trade as ‘that curse of curses’ was accused by the US State Department
of allowing large numbers of its people to be sold into slavery. The
motive remains disputed. Some argued it was a way for a bankrupt
country to make money; others said it was the best way of getting rid
of trouble-makers from the tribal hinterland. Defenders of the Americo-
Liberian elite suggested that the authorities were simply continuing a
longstanding tradition whereby tribesmen effectively ‘belonged’ to
village elders who could do with them what they wanted.
France and Britain sought to exploit the allegation in the hope of
absorbing Liberia into their colonial holdings but in a rare and early
display of multilateralism, the League of Nations asserted itself. A
three-man committee was convened in April 1930 consisting of a
representative each from the League (a British dentist called Dr
Cuthbert Christy, who later died an authentic African colonial death
after he was gored by a buffalo in the Congo), Liberia and the United
States. The committee heard evidence for three months concerning
allegations of slavery among the workforce at the Firestone rubber
plantation and of native Liberians being rounded up at gunpoint by
government forces, loaded on to ships and taken out into the Atlantic
to work on plantations on a Spanish island colony called Fernando Po.
In September 1930 the committee issued its report, clearing Firestone
of malpractice but finding proven the charges against the government
related to Fernando Po, stating that the native Liberians were
exploited ‘under conditions of criminal compulsion scarcely
distinguishable from slave raiding and slave trading’.
When it became known that the president, Charles King, accepted the
committee’s findings, critics within his party attacked him for
threatening to hand Liberia to the ‘white man’ and in December 1930 he
was forced to stand down. He was replaced by his Secretary of State,
Edwin Barclay. Interestingly, the powerbrokers of Liberia showed no
remorse about the slavery taking place in their country (Barclay was
himself heavily implicated in the export of slaves) but were incensed
at what they believed to be President King’s willingness to kowtow to
foreign powers as represented by the League.
After the hubbub surrounding King’s departure had died down, new fears
emerged that slavery had returned to Liberia and the Anti-Slavery and
Aborigines’ Protection Society viewed the country with growing
concern. In a 1935 letter to the High Commissioner in London of the
Union of South Africa, the society said it regarded the West African
country as ‘one of our most difficult and anxious problems’. What the
society needed was someone willing to go to gather up-to-date
information on the ground. Graham Greene, a young writer who had
already worked for several years as a journalist for The Times, would
make the perfect snoop.