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Julia Gaffield

was born in Port-au-Prince in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, to a mixed-race mother and a white father, Pascal Sabés, who refused to recognize Alexandre as his son. Alexandre Pétion is one of the founders of the independent country of Haiti and was president of the southern Republic of Haiti between 1807 and 1818. During the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), Pétion fought for both the French and the rebel armies, but played a key role in helping the rebels defeat the French in the final war of independence (1802–1804).

As a child, he was not sent to school but instead was trained as a silversmith. Despite the fact that his father would not legally recognize him, Alexandre used his last name but also added “Pétion” to it—Pichoun meaning my little one having been his childhood nickname When he was 18 years old he joined ...


Raymond Pierre Hylton

college administrator, entrepreneur, and first and sixth president of Liberia, was born either in Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Petersburg, Virginia, the son of James Roberts and Amelia (maiden name unknown). A persistent rumor that his father was an unidentified white man remains no more than mere speculation. James Roberts and his wife were freed people and had seven surviving children. The family ran a boat and trading business that plied the James River. The Robertses probably lived for a while in Norfolk and later moved to Petersburg, where Joseph alternately worked for his father and in a barbershop owned by the Reverend William Nelson Colson, an African American minister and businessman. The Colson business was located at Wythe and Sycamore streets—an historical marker indicates the actual site.

By 1829 James Roberts had died leaving considerable financial assets and property in Petersburg Joseph as the eldest child ...


Peter J. Duignan

fifth president of the Republic of Liberia, was born in Newark, Ohio, the son of John Roye, a wealthy merchant. His mother's name is unknown. His father died in 1829, leaving some personal property and land to Roye. He went to public schools in Ohio, attended Oberlin College, and taught for a few years in Chillicothe. He also tried his hand as a sheep trader and shopkeeper in various parts of the Midwest. After his mother died in 1840 he was influenced by the emigration movement to escape American prejudice. He rejected the idea of going to Haiti and instead traveled to Liberia in 1846 just before an independent republic was installed there in July 1847, taking with him a stock of goods.

At the time of Roye s arrival the new republic faced a variety of ills The dominant Americo Liberians remained a small minority threatened ...