Sunday, April 7, 2013


Over the years Liberian patriots made major contributions and broke down barriers within Liberian society. The late Honorable Robert H. Quellie-Kennedy, Sr., my maternal grandfather is among many patriotic Liberians who contributed to the advancement of Liberian society. My grandfather was born in the Zozoma District of Lofa County. At the age of seven, he left Zozoma to live with the Pittman Kennedy family in Careysburg, Montserrado, County.
He obtained a good education because his adopted family could afford to educate him. During that time period my grandfather was among the few fortunate indigenous people who were able to acquire an education and graduate from the University of Liberia. In May 1955 my grandfather married Gertrude H. Harris of Harrisburg. My grandmother is of the Congo/Caribbean ethnic group. A few months into my grandparents’ marriage, they both decided to go back to the Western Province and give back to their indigenous people.
Throughout their early years in Lofa, my grandfather was a school teacher and my grandmother a school nurse and a mid wife. My grandmother did her part by encouraging pregnant women to give birth at the local clinic, instead of their homes because giving birth at home can be quite risky. She also explained how it was important for pregnant women to go to the Doctor, during each trimester. Furthermore, my grandmother instructed classes based on reproductive health and personal hygiene.
I am happy to say that my grandparents were able to help give the education that they received to others in Lofa County. As time passed, my grandfather progressed and became the first principal of the new Voinjama High School. On the other hand, external and internal pressure was placed on the Tubman government to open the provinces of Liberia. In 1964, the Eastern and Western Provinces were made into four counties by an act of the Liberian Legislature. The new counties that became part of the political sub-division of Liberia were Lofa, Nimba Grand Gedeh and Bong Counties. President Tubman then appointed Hon. Robert H.Q.Kennedy, Sr., Hon. Gabriel G. Farngalo, Hon. Moses P. Harris, Sr. and Hon. James Y. Gbarbea as superintendents respectively of the new counties. However, the superintendent position was the last contribution my grandfather made for his county and Liberia from 1964 through 1968. During my grandfather's term, my grandmother assisted in designing the Lofa county flag and then other counties followed the Lofa insignia in designing and creating their own flags.
Furthermore my grandfather often distributed scholarships to Lofa students; in order to further their education at the University of Liberia. In addition, other Superintendents of Lofa county followed my grandfather’s path. All the way through my grandfather’s term and President Tolbert’s administration; students from Lofa County became the highest graduates of the University of Liberia.
As compared to my grandfather, the late Honorable Gabriel G. Farngalo, James Y. Gbarbea Moses Poka Harris and Henry B. Fahnbulleh were educated indigenous men who went back to their counties and also became Superintendents with the exception of Hon. Henry B. Fahnbulleh who represented Liberia as an Ambassador to several African and Asian nations. In the course of Tubman's administration, Kennedy, Farngalo, Gbarbea and Fahnbulleh began to discover how most indigenous Liberians were unfairly treated and suppressed; they began to speak out against Tubman's administration and others did as well.
In 1968, Ambassador Henry B. Fahnbulleh Sr., Superintendents Robert H.Q. Kennedy Sr., Gabriel G. Farngalo and James Y. Gbarbea were charged with conspiracy and high treason to overthrow the Tubman's administration. They were thrown in jail for more than a year. The charges against my grandfather and the other men were a BIG FAT LIE. I believe that Tubman was intimidated by these great men; so that's why he made them a scape goat. I believe that President Tubman was afraid that the Americo-Liberian elite were no longer going to be dominant in the Liberian political affairs. I also believe that Tubman was intimidated by these great men; so that's why he made them a scape goat because they could have possibly ran the Liberian government just as good as him. Educated, Patriotic, Selfless, and Peaceful Indigenous men like my grandfather could have been President back then. The point here is that we should all in one form or another give back to Liberia instead of pointing fingers at the next person and bringing each other down.
In my opinion my grandparents, Farngalo, Gbarbea, Harris and Fahnbulleh are Liberian patriots –The True Sons of The Liberian Soil because they never used violence to fight for what they believed in. Instead after they received their education, they went back to the interior and gave back to their communities and the Liberian society. They also helped to educate their people.
Now that it is 2013, it is time to let go of the negativity and emulate the men and women who positively contributed to Liberia’s improvement in the past. Also, Liberians that are today contributing positively to our improvement are worth emulation. Finally, Liberia’s advancement will not take a day, but let us all try to get our country where it needs to be.

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