We’re coming up on June, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the next round of the World Party Reading Challenge. For June, our challenge is to read a book either set in Liberia, or by a Liberian author.
Why Liberia? Well, because Juneteenth (celebrated on June 19th) originally commemorated the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation and therefore, the end of slavery, in the state of Texas. The holiday is now considered a celebration of both African-American freedom and achievement.
Before the abolition of slavery, freed slaves were given the chance to immigrate to the west coast of Africa, to an American colony established in 1821. In 1847, the colony declared independence from the US, thereby establishing the country of Liberia. There is debate over the intentions of sending freed slaves to Liberia. It can be seen as an opportunity for the former slaves to live truly free lives, and as a way for white Americans to get rid of free African-Americans that 1) could instigate rebellion amongst the slaves and 2) they didn’t want integrating into society.
Whatever the true motive, Liberia is still a country, and we are going to celebrate Juneteenth by reading about it. Even if Liberia came before Juneteenth. Because both exist due to the end of slavery for a group of individuals.
However, having said all of that, I do realize the choices for reading may be limited. A few intriguing sounding books that I found are:
- The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood, by Helene Cooper
- This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President, by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
- Bai T. Moore’s Murder in the Cassava Patch, which is a novelette that you can read here
- And, although it hasn’t been released yet, Bound to Secrecy, which is by a Liberian born author, Vamba Sherif
Once you’ve read your June book, don’t forget to come back here and live a link to your post with Mr Linky: