Liberia's Role In The Explosion Of Freedom And Independence In Africa
By Abraham James
The president sent Under Secretary of State J. Rudolph
Grimes to Accra to escort the African leader to Liberia
aboard his official yacht. As the vessel with appropriate
decorations cruised into Monrovia harbor, it was escorted
by a "flotilla" of small boats. Upon his arrival
at the old Executive Mansion on Ashmun street, where
thousands of Liberians had assembled to welcome him,
there was a thunderous applause from the huge crowd.
He smiled and waved to the crowd in acknowledgment of
the spontaneity and warmth of the Liberian welcome.
The words on a large placard carried by one of the well
wishers in the crowd attracted special attention. It
read: "Explosion of freedom and independence in
Africa." The words seemed to capture the spirit
of the visit.
In the parlor of the executive mansion, Dr Nkrumah was introduced to members of the diplomatic corps that had been invited for the occasion. In his welcoming address the president noted the progress that had been made by the Gold Coast. In thanking the British Government for the progress in preparing the territory for independence he emphasized the need to expedite the process. Dr. Nkrumah thanked the president and people of Liberia for the visit .two leaders in their individual oratorical style called for self government and independence for the other African countries that were still under colonial rule. It was a remarkable affirmation of a joint determination to secure freedom and independence for the remaining colonial territories of Africa.
The gesture of the Liberia Government's invitation helped to trigger several important developments. A few weeks after the visit, Time Magazine carried the photograph of the Dr. Nkrumah on the cover of its magazine and provided a lengthy feature story about the Gold Coast's march to independence under the leadership of Dr. Nkrumah. This and other important international media attention provided additional momentum for the African independence movement. Indeed, on March 6,1057 the Gold Coast achieved independence within the British Commonwealth of Nations. This was followed by independence for several other African territories.
While this process was going on, Liberia and Ethiopia brought charges against the apartheid regime of South Africa in the early 1960s. In their presentation to the International Court of Justice at the Hague, the two countries pleaded for South Africa to relinquish control of South West Africa (Namibia). Regrettably, after a lengthy preparation and the allocation of considerable resources to the effort, the court ruled against Liberia and Ethiopia on the ground that the two African states had "no legal interest" in the case. This technical ruling was criticized by legal and other scholars around the world. It is necessary to note that Liberia and Ethiopia were the only two countries that were both members of the League of Nations and the United Nations.
Undaunted by this set back Liberia continued its advocacy for African freedom and independence from colonial rule. Liberia also played a leading role in the drafting and adoption of the Charter for the Organization of African Union (OAU) and has continued to champion many important African causes, over the years.
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