Prez Sirleaf Highlights J.J. Roberts’ ‘Outstanding Leadership Role’

Prez Sirleaf lays wreath on the memorial site of J.J. Roberts in Monrovia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday, March 15, visited and laid a wreath at the burial site of Liberia’s first President, Joseph Jenkins (J.J.) Roberts.

“In his memory once again recognizing his contribution to Liberia, I lay this wreath,” the President said.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement when she visited the Palm Groove Cemetery on Center Street, Monrovia, to lay a wreath and paid tribute to President Roberts.

The President then recapped the late President J.J. Roberts’ remarkable and outstanding leadership role exhibited in positioning the country with commitment towards its development agenda.

President Sirleaf prayed for God’s protection and the peaceful rest of his soul and the blessings of God on Liberia.

The holiday of the late President J.J. Roberts seeks to honor the first President of Liberia and is celebrated on March 15 each year in keeping with an Act of the Legislature.

The late J.J. Roberts was born on March 15, 1809 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

In 1828, he immigrated to Liberia, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society (ACS). In July 1847, Liberia became an independent state. Presidential election took place in October 1847. Roberts won the election and sworn into office in January 1848.

He was re-elected three times and served as a President for eight years. He died February 24, 1876.

Meanwhile, Assistant Education Minister for Basic and Secondary Education, Felecia Doe-Somah, said President Roberts had a passion to see people around him grow and look even better than him.

She said it was based on such an idea that President Roberts gave back to Liberia all he had for the education of young people.

Minister Doe-Somah therefore called on young Liberians to take advantage of every available opportunity to learn, if they must cope with future challenges.

She noted that the youth should recognize a humble beginning and learn to work within their means and be able to give back to the country.

For her part, the President of the J. J. Roberts Students Association, Ms. Amelia Gueh, said the J. J. Roberts Education Foundation cannot solve all the problems of the growing number of students by itself, and appealed for more assistance to the foundation.

They both made the statements yesterday in Monrovia during the official program marking the observance of President Roberts’ 208th birth anniversary.


  1. J.J. ROBERTS was not President for all the Peoples of Liberia. He was president only, for the settlers ie the AMERICO LIBERIANS and BOAT PEOPLE aka the CONGO PEOPLES; who were seized by the U.S. NAVY; from slave ships bound for the Americas. At the time of J.J.Roberts appointment as Liberia’s first President, the NATIVES were not recognized as citizens of their own home land, Liberia. The first person to be elected by popular vote, was Edwin James Roye. It did not however fit well for the mulatto Americo Liberians, who felt that dark skin people like E.J.ROYE were inferior people to Mulatto settlers. Roye was violently over thrown and replaced by a Mulatto Americo Liberian. Spearheading Liberia’s first Military Coup was then Col. Robert Francis Sherman, a Mulatto Americo Liberian. Who’s not properly placed in Liberia’s History. R. F. Sherman was Liberia’s head of State for a brief period, after the death of E.J.Roye. What happened to the bag of MONEY that was in E. J. Roye’s possession; at the time of his death? Ah! Your guess is as good as mine. Rumors have it that the Coup leader took it– all. As for J. J. ROBERTS, he was 90% white. The only thing that passed J. J.ROBERT as a black man was his hair,which was not straight like that of Whites. Hey; just a piece of our unique Liberian Literature; a piece from Liberia’s History…

    • The indigenous Ethnic groups of Liberia were still participating in the Slave trade. Ironically Freed Slaves went into Liberia and helped put an end to the slave trade. Not every Ethnic group was for Black Africans as a whole. E.J. Roye tried to barrow money from the British who at the time wanted to Colonize Liberia and wanted an all white governement like its other colonize because they believed Black Africans were uncivilized. The British would do a lot to sabotage the Settlers coming back from Slavery. If they stole British money that was a calateral for the British helped enslave many Black Africans and would steal the ships and food from the Settlers. Please stop your bitterness and instead of Blaming the Fall of Liberia on Blaks born into Slavery, you need to blame your White Colonial Masters. Africans must unite, Liberia is a lesson that teaches future nations that if you don’t unite as Black Africans the Europeans and Arabs will continue to enslave us.


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