Roberts, Joseph Jenkins

Roberts, Joseph Jenkins

(1809–76) first president of Liberia; born in Petersburg, Va. Of mixed black and white heritage, he emigrated to Liberia with his widowed mother and three brothers in 1829. He became a successful merchant and caught the eye of Liberia's white governor, who appointed Roberts as his successor. The first African-American governor of Liberia, Roberts went on to become the first president of the new country in 1847, serving six terms in all. His major accomplishments include gaining the recognition of Liberia from most European nations and halting the slave trade on Liberia's borders.
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