“Long Live Liberia, Happy Land, our home of glorious liberty by God’s command”
A Statement of Hope, Harmony, Progress – One Liberia, One People!
The April 22nd Memorial Group (A22MG), envisions an all-embracing Liberia where we can respectfully and genuinely work together hand in hand, in harmony. We envision a Liberia where the last 40 years have served as a lesson to us all in how difficult it is to rebuild: homes, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, farms, businesses, but above all, trust in each other, synergistic alliances and friendships that lead to progress and prosperity. After 40 years, the A22MG is still imbued with undying optimism, anticipation and expectation of an emergent Liberia. “With all our hearts united in union strong; by God’s command, let mighty always be her power”. By God’s grace, let us ALL Arise and Shine!
On this day 40 years ago, April 22nd 1980, thirteen officials of the Liberian Government were killed on South Beach in Monrovia, Liberia, as a result of a military coup d’etat that toppled the government of President William R. Tolbert, Jr., on April 12th 1980. The horrific and savage image of those 13 men tied to stakes was indelibly etched in the minds of not only Liberians but globally, marking a tremendous down turn in the blood stained history and demised economy of our beloved nation as we once knew her. We remember these men today, their patriotism, distinctive minds and contribution to country.
Killed at the Executive Mansion on April 12th, 1980
- His Excellency President Dr. William R. Tolbert, Jr.
- Captain Gabriel Moore
- General Charles E. Railey, Jr.
- Lieutenant “Railroad” Vesseley
(There were others who also lost their lives in addition to those listed above.)
The 13 Slain on South Beach, April 22nd, 1980 include:
- The Honorable Dr. Cyril A. Bright
- The Honorable Joseph J. F. Chesson, Sr.
- The Honorable C. Cecil Dennis, Jr.
- The Honorable Richard A. Henries, Sr.
- The Honorable Charles D. B. King
- The Honorable D. Franklin Neal, Sr.
- The Honorable P. Clarence Parker, III
- The Honorable James T. Phillips, Jr.
- The Honorable James A. A. Pierre
- The Honorable John W. F. Sherman
- The Honorable Frank J. Stewart, Sr.
- The Honorable Frank E. Tolbert, Sr.
- The Honorable E. Reginald Townsend
Additional Honorees include:
- Commander Spurgeon Capehart
- General Emmett Walter Cooper
- Commander Varney E. Dempster
- The Honorable H. Carey Thomas
- The Honorable A. Benedict Tolbert
Liberia is a young nation and many of us simply do not know what the contribution of these notable men was to our country. Here are a few of the accomplishments of the William R.Tolbert, Jr. Administration, comprised of these men, we would like to share with you; contributions to Liberia from July of 1971 to April of 1980:
- Instituted free public elementary and high school education and subsidized up to fifty percent tuition, books and board for all College and University students throughout the country.
- Began construction of a new campus for the University of Liberia moving it from Monrovia to Fendell so as to allow a greater number of students from all strata of society to enter university.
- Enacted legislation, policies, and strategies, to execute the war on illiteracy, poverty, and disease undermining Liberia’s nascent democracy.
- Invested over one million dollars in 1972 in a wholly government-owned mechanized Agricultural Company (AGRIMECO), to spearhead land clearance and development of vast areas to cope with the proliferation of agricultural co-operatives.
- Established three public corporations (LPMC, LPPC and LCCC) to maximize the production of oil palm, coconuts, cocoa, and coffee.
- Established essential national and continental development finance Institutions such as the National Housing Bank, the Agricultural Bank and Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), in order to stimulate capital flow into the Agricultural, Housing and priority development sectors.
- Co-facilitated formation of the African Development Bank (ADB) for continental financial growth and management.
- Expanded health facilities to include free medical care to prenatal mothers and infants up to two years.
- Constructed thousands of low cost housing units in Gardnersville(Stephen Tolbert Estates), Barnersville Estate, Matadi and New Matadi Estates, Cabral Estates in Sinkor, and the New Georgia Estate.
- Established the Ministry of Action for Development for implementation of Government’s policies related to self-reliance, decentralization and self-sufficiency in agriculture.
- Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
- Enacted the Revenue and Finance Law of 1977 to abolish the regressive ‘austerity’ tax and to make the income tax structure more progressive.
- Strengthened regional integration, interdependence, and cooperation with improvement of ties with MRU and ECOWAS countries.
- Constructed infrastructure consisting of highways, secondary and farm-to-market roads, bridges, urban and rural markets, clinics and hospitals, schools, the Hotel Africa complex, RIA terminal, and the Gabriel Johnson Tucker Bridge.
- Increased revenue and receipts from $77.5 million in 1972 to $185.5 million in 1978, an average annual growth rate of over 15 percent.