Recent News Articles

Liberia and Barbados Genealogy Tracing Unearths Shared Histories

14 May 2024 10:33 AM | Anonymous

For Dr. Shantal Monroe-Knight, Minister of Culture in the office of Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, the strong ties between Liberia and Barbados bear significant historical importance that should never be allowed to fizzle.

“Unless we are careful guardians of our own stories, the past can never be repeated,” Dr. Monroe-Knight told visiting Liberian pilgrims at the Archives Genealogy Marketplace Wednesday.

The event showcased Barbados culture and heritage; genealogical research done on families  that migrated  to Liberia in 1865.

Her comment come in the midst of a firestorm in the US States state of Florida where 72% of the books have been pulled from the nation’s schools.

“I don’t know if you all can remember fundamentally, that in these contemporary times, there are already efforts to reframe the narrative of slavery and its impact. Across the United States there are already places in which they are rewriting textbooks, in which they are putting aside certain  texts and creating a narrative that not only were slaves complacent but that they benefited and were satisfied. So, if we are not careful, if we don’t pass on those stories, if we don’t pass on the legacy of resilience, for our children, we have to be careful, least it is repeated.”

The roots of slavery were heavily entrenched in not just Africa but the Caribbean as well. Between 1820 and 1864, only 11,000 African Americans emigrated to Liberia. This includes 4,000 free Black people and 7,000 former slaves who gained freedom by agreeing to emigrate to Liberia. The significance here is not in numbers but in the meaning that Liberia held for African Americans in the 1800s. Similarly, Barbados, the birthplace of British slave society and the most ruthlessly colonized by Britain’s ruling elites. They made their fortunes from sugar produced by an enslaved, “disposable” workforce, and this great wealth secured Britain’s place as an imperial superpower and cause untold suffering.

At the time, the inhumane legacy of plantation society helped shaped modern Barbados.

For Dr Monroe-Knight, this is a part of the journey that three and four generations have passed, illustrating that it means that the current generation has fundamental responsibility from the ongoing pilgrimage that must be true to that mantle.

You can read more in an article by Rodney D. Sieh published in the frontpageafricaonline web site at:

Blog posts

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software