U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy, on behalf of the United States government, presented 20 historic photographs to the National Museum of Liberia on March 17, 2022. The photographs were taken by Charles Allmon, an early National Geographic photo editor who also worked as a supervisor for the Firestone Plantation in the 1940s, and were donated to the museum by Dr. John C. Yoder , a political scientist and historian at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, USA.
The Liberian government, Firestone, and the United States Armed Forces collaborated during the 1940s to improve aspects of Liberia’s infrastructure to increase Liberia’s rubber production, support Allied forces during World War II world and to attract outside investment in mining and forestry. This effort was consistent with President Tubman’s open door policy, Firestone’s business interests, and American strategic concerns to meet wartime demand for rubber.
Presenting the photographs, Ambassador McCarthy said the United States and Liberia have a rich history, including diverse communities, cultures and traditions, many of which date back thousands of years before the founding of our modern nations.
“Above all, this donation would not have been possible without the help of Dr. John C. Yoder. Dr. Yoder in 2019 taught and lectured at the Joseph S. Gaunnu Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Cuttington University in Liberia as a Fulbright Specialist – a scholars exchange program sponsored by the US State Department. It was Dr. Yoder who met Charles Allmon and received his photographic collection in 2010. The original photographs are held at Indiana University as part of its extensive collection of Liberian documents,” the Ambassador said. McCarthy.
He underlined the importance of national museums which are natural centerpieces of the country’s tourism strategy and can be powerful attractions for national and international tourists.
According to Ambassador McCarthy, “The United States looks forward to continuing to support Liberia’s efforts to preserve your national history and culture, working in partnership with the government and other stakeholders. The Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Presentation, a merit-based grant competition administered by the Department of State, is our primary vehicle for such activity. We currently have a project focused on the preservation and protection of Providence Island.”
Representing were Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie, Deputy Culture Minister Margret Cooper-Frank, Acting National Museum Director Kollie Kennedy, Deputy Minister of Technical Services Boakai Fofana and Deputy Minister of Administration Jurah Sanoe. the government of Liberia during the donation ceremony. In addition, Don Darden, Managing Director of Firestone Liberia, and Richard Falla both attended, representing the important historical connection between Harbel, Firestone and Liberia.
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