The most significant contribution to the Liberian national and Pan-Africanist dialogue in a generation or two
Prof. Carl Patrick Burrowes has written a masterpiece. This is the book I have been looking for most of my life. I salute him and commend him for this most seminal contribution to the literature. Yet this is more than just an important contribution to the academy.
Prof. Burrowes’s comprehensive history is the most significant contribution to the Liberian national and Pan-Africanist dialogue in a generation or two. I would not be leaning towards hyperbole if I classify this immediately with the literary contributions of my hero E.W Blyden. Why? Because finally, through this book we have a deeply researched and cogently argued narrative that through a very “longue duree” approach that situates the political, economic history, societal and cultural dynamics of the peoples and places in the area that has become the modern day polity of “Liberia” within the times series context and realities of the rest of the region.
Burrowes has shown us all, Liberians, our fellow Africans and non-regionals the connectivity between the dynamics of events within the Liberian space and Africa as a whole. He has shown us the ocean, when for too long we have only seen the waves before us. In that regard, it is also a deeply political and transformative contribution to our discourse on how Liberia is to progress, based on a fuller knowledge of the forces that have manifested over the past 400 plus years in what has since 1822 become the modern republican polity.
This is not just history. It is my story, it is our story. It is a book that must be taught in universities, schools, at Liberia’s foreign service training centre and further afield. This matters today more than ever before because, as the great Southern American scribe William Faulker once wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”