Slavery Uprising, Resistance, Rebellion: The Kru People
man of the Kru people
map of Liberia
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, current President of Liberia (as of 2011), part Kru heritage
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Presidential inauguration following the 2005 Presidential election
Mary Broh, mayor of Liberia's capitol city Monrovia
George Weah as soccer player
George Weah as politician
From the 16th-19th century, slaves kidnapped from their various homelands in Africa were faced with great adversity as they were overcome by the firepower of their weapon wielding imperialists, the slave masters.
Nevertheless, while it was difficult, many African people did not resign to capture but either fought back with a vengeance or stealthily averted their capture altogether. These African people have a legacy of being champions and warriors to avoid capture.
The Kru People - legacy and future generations
Historically, the Kru people are notable among the African people who were most capable of self defense from entering the slave trade.
The Kru people are an ethic group living in the interior of Liberia, comprising 7% of the country's population. The 24th and current president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf elected in 2005 is herself of mixed heritage, part Kru.
The mayor of Monrovia the capitol city of Liberia is also part Kru. Her name is Mary Broh.
While it is commonly known that many freed slaves of the late 1800s returned to Africa and settled with their autonomy and freedom in Liberia, West Africa, it is much lesser known that African people who averted ever being captured as slaves did colonize and settle in Liberia. The Kru people are among them and the ethnic group has survived centuries as free people. In present day, many generations beyond the slave trade, the Kru people stand proud of their strong ancestry.
The present day population of the Kru people in Grand Kru County, Liberia is low, just over 60,000 people, where there are dilapidated and impassable roads. The isolation of the people and lack of transportation is said to be likely contributing to/ in correlation to the low population. Nevertheless, there is a much more expansive population of Kru people and their ethnic subgroups in Maryland County of Liberia and other areas in Liberia.
Some very notable people are known to be of Kru heritage, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mary Broh included.
A famous soccer player, successful politician and humanitarian, George Weah is also of the Kru people. Born in 1966, he had a long career as a famed professional soccer player (European footballer) and won many accolades including FIFA World Cup soccer player of the year in 1995.
He was a well known humanitarian for aiding his country Liberia and ran against Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for President in the 2005 election but many thought that Sirleaf's Harvard education and graduate studies trumped Weah's lack of formal education.
Beyond the southern part of Liberia, to find more Kru people in the world, you would need to head to Cote d'lvoire including the forest regions near the coastal lagoons. It is estimated that there are some 3 million Kru people living in these regions altogether.1 They speak various dialects amounting to 24 languages called the Kru languages.
Cote d'lvoire is a West African nation neighboring and sharing a border with Liberia. The population of Cote d'lvoire is around 21 million people and the Kru people comprise over 11% of that.
1. Encyclopedia britannica eb.com. Online retrieved 11/7/2011 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/323851/Kru