dimanche 2 octobre 2016

U.S.A. / Liberia: These men are concrete bridges between America and Africa.

There are men in the story that are true bridges between two continents. James Spriggs Payne deserves the homage of the two countries, the United States and his country Liberia. More than any other man, he deserves to have helped soften the horrors of slavery which he was the product. Without erasing the deep scars of this shameful intercontinental traffic, he scored positively the African American memory and deserves to be rightly in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (N.M.A.A.H.C.) inaugurated  in September 2016 by President Barack Obama in Washington.

But who is James Spriggs Payne?

         Descendant of African slaves, born on December 19, 1819 at Richmond, Virginia in the United States. His father, a pastor of the Methodist Church gives him a strict religious upbringing. At the age of 9, his parents decided to return to Africa with the help of American Colonization Society. In 1840, after his studies in Liberia, he returned to the United States to be ordained priest of the Orthodox Church. He exercises his pastoral ministry for nine years before being appointed to high office. In 1858, he resigns, becomes a writer and entered politics.

Priest, Politician and Writer.

         He is responsible for organizing the details for the separation between the Liberian Commonwealth and the American Colonization Society. In May 1867, he was elected president of Liberia. In January 1868, the government is trying to curb piracy and fraud on the Liberian coast. In September 1969, the seizure of a British merchant ship by the government causes a major crisis between the two countries. In December 1870, he lost the election, but he was re-elected in May 1875. On March 1, 1876, he managed to sign a peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain which regulates the issue peacefully of Cape Palmas County, Maryland.

From Orthox Church to Methodist Church.

         In 1880, after leaving his presidential duties, he plays an important role in the Methodist Church. The same year, he represented Liberia at the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio (U.S.A.). On January 19, 188, he was elected president of the annual conference of the Methodist Church in Liberia. In January 1882, he received an honorary doctorate from the College of Liberia for services to the community. He died in Liberia on January 31, 1882. He was only 62 years old.  One of two airports located in the Monrovia suburb of Sinkor bears his name
-Kanyarwunga I.N. Jean, Dictionnaire biographique des Africains (Biographic dictionnary of Africans), online www.NENA.Sen, 2013.
-Melton J. Gordon, A Will to Choose: The origins of African American Methodism, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.

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