portrait of henry garnet and a map of liberia

From Abolitionist to Diplomat: Henry Highland Garnet and Early Relations with Liberia

12:15 - 1:00 pm EST

In Person


To commemorate Black History Month, NMAD’s Historian, Dr. Alison Mann, will offer a talk on the notable Black abolitionist, Henry Highland Garnet, and his brief diplomatic appointment as U.S. Minister to Liberia.

Following the American Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, the United States entered an era of Reconstruction from 1865 to 1877 that saw an unprecedented number of Black Americans elected or appointed to serve in all branches of government. At the State Department, this period marked the beginning of African American diplomatic appointments as U.S. ministers, the first Black chiefs of mission.

As a self-emancipated formerly enslaved person turned activist, Henry Highland Garnet’s advocacy of the American Colonization Society’s mission supporting African American emigration to Liberia elevated his public profile. This also put him at odds with other prominent African American leaders who denounced the Society’s activities as a racist scheme.

Please join us to learn more about Garnet and the enduring alliance between the United States and Liberia.

At the conclusion of the event, guests are invited to visit our preview exhibit, Diplomacy Is Our Mission.

Please RSVP by February 15, 2024.

For further information or if you require reasonable accommodations to attend the event, please contact Emma Guyette (guyettee@state.gov).