By Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
We are approaching the 200th anniversary of the first organized immigration of freed black slaves to Africa from the United States. As a result of President Monroe's American Colonization Policy, on February 6, 1820 about 80 freedmen departed on a journey out of New York Harbor destined for Africa. This move ultimately created the Republic of Liberia; Africa’s oldest independent and Democratic Republic to this day. A republic with a bloody history.
In The Dung Beetles of Liberia we meet the descendants of these American settlers, the "Americo-Liberians," also known as "Congo People" through the eyes of Ken Verrier. Ken's story is based on the remarkable true account of a 19 year old American who arrives in Monrovia in 1961. Follow his fast paced adventures that take place just when the stirrings of revolution were getting started. The extremes of wealth and poverty are stunning and the opportunities to make money everywhere. Predictions of future chaos become obvious.
Throughout the 1960's Monrovia is prosperous and grand; with magnificent buildings such as the Ducor Palace Hotel and the Executive Mansion to show off their wealth to the world. The Americo-Liberians have created a society that replicates the Ante-Bellum South from which their ancestors fled. The ex-patriot community, on the other hand, is an assortment of escaped German Nazis, spies of the Israeli Mossad, and a mixture of Europeans attached to global industries that were raping the land of its treasures and resources. Who are the Dung Beetles?
In stark contrast to these two groups are the Liberian Peace Corps volunteers who are bringing education and supplies to the interior country people and the small Catholic missions dotted throughout the country.
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