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On this 26th day of July, on the Western shore of Africa, in the year 1847, Africa’s first independent nation, Liberia, was birthed when a group of black repatriates from America signed that nation’s Declaration of Independence.

That this was done in an epoch when the humanity of people of African descent were maligned and debased in the crucible of chattel slavery, probably the most oppressive institution ever known to mankind, set Liberia on a journey of the most improbably nation-building endeavor ever undertaken.

The core reasons articulated by Liberia’s founders as their motivation for embarking on this epic journey revolved around the upliftment of their downtrodden race: “…that we would be permitted to exercise and improve those faculties which impart to man his dignity; to nourish in our hearts the flame of honorable ambition; to cherish and indulge these aspirations which a beneficent Creator had implanted in every human heart, and to evince to all who despise, ridicule, and oppress our race that we possess with them a common nature; are with them susceptible of equal refinement, and capable to equal advancement in all that adorns and dignifies man.”

And, through the years of the nation’s history, which have been marked by a myriad of turbulent episodes, the struggle to uplift the downtrodden, especially those within its own borders who are buffeted by poverty, injustice, and inequality remains an unquenchable aspiration of the Liberian people.

Therefore, as Africa’s oldest republic celebrates 167 years of independence, may we the people of that glorious nation whose Star of Liberty shone as a beacon of hope for people of African descent when there was very little else to inspire hope, continue their noble struggle to forge a political comity committed to the upliftment of the downtrodden, especially its own.

In the words of Liberia’s national hymn, written by Edwin James Barclay, Liberia’s 18th President, may we all steadfastly uphold this struggle close to our breasts like a “burnished shield of golden flame” until our nation rises up to its noble destiny!

The Lone Star Forever

When freedom raised her glowing form
On Montserrado’s verdant heights
She set within the dome of night
Midst low’ring skies and thunderstorm –
The star of liberty.
Then forward sons of freedom march
Defend our sacred heritage
A nation’s call from age to age
A nation’s loud triumphant song
The song of liberty!

The Lone Star forever, the Lone Star forever
Oh, long may it flow over land and o’er sea
Desert it, no never!
Uphold it, forever!
Oh, shout for the Lone Starr’d banner, all hail.

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