Tomorrow is J.J. Roberts’ 208th Birth Anniversary

Joseph Jenkins Roberts, 1st and 7th President of Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has declared tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15, as the 208th birth anniversary of the Liberia’s first president, Joseph Jenkins Roberts (J.J. Roberts), to be observed throughout the country as a national holiday.
The Proclamation further orders all government offices, public buildings and business houses closed on the day, a release from the Foreign Ministry has said.
The Proclamation, according to the release, is in consonance with an Act enacted by the 42nd Legislature declaring March 15 of each year as the birth anniversary of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, first President of Liberia as a mark of respect and relevance to his memory and untiring efforts in organizing the government of the Republic.
The release states that the enactment is also in appreciation of the leadership role exhibited by President Roberts in negotiating and concluding treaties with foreign powers which gave recognition to the founding of the Liberian nation.
The Proclamation further stresses that it is befitting that such honor accorded the memory of the distinguished statesman serves as a challenge to all Liberians to aspire to higher and noble endeavors by emulating his courage, endurance, selflessness and commitment to the principles and ideals of democracy as portrayed in the works and life of Liberia’s first president.
JJ Roberts (March 15, 1809 – February 24, 1876) was the first (1848–1856) and seventh (1872–1876) President of Liberia. Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, US, Roberts emigrated to Liberia in 1829 as a young man. He opened a trading store in Monrovia, and later engaged in politics. When Liberia became independent in July 26, 1847, Roberts was elected the first Black American President for the country, serving until 1856. In 1872 he was elected again to serve as Liberia’s seventh president.


  1. To the Liberian legislatures, in fairness to all who have served as presidents of Liberia, can you enact a law to create president day in honor of all ex-presidents instead of J.J Roberts, William Tubman etc birthdays?

  2. Let me commend the 42nd Legislature for enacting this law. But I suggest that the National Legislature create a law,setting a special day to honor all of our last presidents for their invaluable services to the nation. All of the past leaders did something’s that need to be appreciated.

  3. At the time of J.J.Roberts appointment as Liberia’s first President, the NATIVES were not recognized as citizens of their own land, Liberia. It was not until 1904; when the NATIVES became citizens of their own home land, Liberia. Even that, “THE NATIVES” were not allowed to take part in any electoral process. That said, and known, we may very well conclude that J.J. ROBERTS was not President for all the Peoples of Liberia.The only thing that made J.J.ROBERTS passed as a black man was his hair, which was not straight; like white people. It was then concluded that dark skin people were not capable of leadership of a “NATION/COUNTRY”. J.J.ROBERTS and the mulattos that were Liberia’s earlier Presidents, were not truly democratically elected. In truth sense, Liberia’s fifth President, E.J. Roye was the first to be elected by the majority. However, that didn’t fit well for the mulatto settlers. They violently over threw Edwin James Roye and killed him; because of the color of his skin–DARK! We should be celebrating E.J.ROYE’S birthday. Let’s make Roye’s birthday Presidents’ Day; in honor of all PRESIDENTS… How’s that? What’s your opinion? Let’s know.

  4. This is my personal opinion! It may be controversial, but Liberia is a small undeveloped country with too many holidays. We need to spend more productive time getting our poor people out of poverty than always worrying about the next holiday. How will we ever develop economically when we spend too many days off work? The private sectors and multinational companies in Liberia put in more productive time than Liberia’s government employees. Many government employees in Liberia hardly put in full productive eight working hours a day. Why will we give them more time off when they can use their sick leave, or vacation time?

    Therefore, Liberia does not need so many holidays. Our law makers need to reduce some nonessential holidays. For example, they can consolidate the Presidents’ birthday into one. In the spirit of fairness and inclusiveness to all presidents of Liberia, why not HAVE ONLY ONE DAY AS PRESIDENTS’ DAY? This day will pay homage to all our past, present and future presidents. History is History! We can learn from it. We cannot change our past no matter what we do; but we can certainly move forward and unite our country by our inclusiveness. Let us put our country first before partisanship and ethnic affiliation if we really want to catch up with the rest of the world.


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