The University of Liberia and United States-based Princeton Theological Seminary, have jointly kicked off a three-day International Conference on the Afterlives of Slavery in the Trans-Atlantic World in Monrovia.
The event is held under the theme: “Colonization, Christianity, and Commerce: The Afterlives of Slavery in the Trans-Atlantic World,” the conference is geared towards understanding the impact of the more than four hundred years of slavery on former slaves and the local population.
The conference is convening at the EJS Ministerial Conflex in Congo Town. It kicked off on October 17, and will climax on October 19.
It is part of events commemorating Liberia’s Bicentennial Celebration in observance of the arrival of free people of color, including former slaves, in Liberia in 1822 to settle following the abolishing of slavery in the 1800s.
Several Liberian and international historians, clergymen, and clergywomen are discussing Colonization, Christianity, and Commerce at the conference which brings together local and foreign guests at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
Liberia’s Minister of Information, Ledgerhood J. Rennie, officially launched the conference on behalf of the Visitor of the University of Liberia, President George Manneh Weah.
In his opening statement, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., President of the University of Liberia (UL), said the conference is historical because it is a part of the Bicentennial Ceremony and the first of its kind in the existence of the University of Liberia.
“…[It] is expected, as it is seen today, to bring together UL’s faculty, staff, and students, along with Liberians from all walks of life, senior policymakers, government officials, as well as dignitaries and academics from abroad, and the sub-region to deliberate on those fascinating topics that befit the occasion,” said President Nelson.
Prof. Dr. William Ezra Allen, Chairman of the Afterlives of Slavery International Conference Planning Committee, University of Liberia, said the conference is being held to deliberate on the lives of people of African descent who, having been emancipated, relocated to Africa.
“Some returned to familiar surroundings, families, and acquaintances. Others encountered strangers with whom their only shared trait was skin color,” said Allen.
“Our deliberations over the next three days will explore the lives of this diverse group of [formerly] enslaved people and of those indigenes they encountered,” he added.
Prof. Afe Adogame, Chair, Afterlives of Slavery Conference Planning Committee, Princeton University, USA, said the timing of this conference is particularly important. He said it comes at a time Liberia is commemorating its 200 years of existence.