This Child Will Be Great Essay

1886 words - 8 pages

Ellen's Diasporic LifeThe book, This Child Will be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President, takes readers through important key events throughout the life of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as she rises to greatness and success. The events within the book are set in Liberia her motherland, a small country on the west coast of Africa. From the reading we see the many issues that plague Liberia ranging from government corruption, a series of coups, and socio-economic segregation. However, while the book does touch heavily on these aspects of Liberia we see, upon closer examination, that the book is arguably one that tackles the diaspora, feminism, and transnationalism through the life of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and can be used as inspiration for many countries.This Memoir travels through Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's life, but it also takes the reader on a journey through some key stops in the African diaspora. One of the most notable diasporic moments in this book was when Sirleaf described her time at Harvard University and how it played an integral role in informing her on Liberia's history and how that knowledge could be applied to many different parts of the world. She discusses how her knowledge of the settlers was expanded as she attests that even though the Americo-Liberian settlers had more western views and values "they too were, in crucial ways, African" (60). The realizations about Liberia that she came to in the U.S heavily influenced the work that she would do in Liberia and the impact that she would have for the world. Her story shows that sometimes in order to understand one part of the African diaspora, one must go to another. She traveled to Brazil and Barbados while working for the World Bank. In her travels she saw "familiar glimpses of home" (77) and this furthered her understanding of the ways in which the dispersal of African descended peoples evoked the formation of new forms of African rooted practices. Her ability to acknowledge the African heritage that is infused throughout the different places that she speaks of traveling to clearly signify the intensity of these connections and the knowledge that can be gained from them.The Americo-Liberians allow us to see the shift in culture that occurs when a group goes through the diasporic cycle. Indigenous Africans were brought to the United States as slaves where they were subjugated to unfair treatment under the premise of being provided a better life, a more "civilized" way of living. When these slaves are sent back many years later to Liberia they begin to employ the same methods as their European captors, quickly forgetting the plight of their ancestor. Calling themselves Americo-Liberians they even create a false constitution similar to the Declaration of Independence, granting "equality" to all. Both the indigenous and Americo-Liberians are from the same roots essentially yet deviation away from their culture occurred once more. It is hard to say which culture...

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