Liberia National Redemption Day
On April 12, 1980, 13 soldiers stormed Liberia’s executive mansion, killing President William R. Tolbert and 26 other government leaders. Shortly after the massacre, 13 cabinet members were publicly executed. The soldiers were led by Samuel Kanyon Doe, a member of the ethnic Krahn tribe who immediately declared himself president of Liberia and set up a military regime called the People’s Redemption Council. He also declared that in the coming years April 12 would be National Redemption Day.
Doe associated his regime with redemption because he believed that as a member of Liberia’s long-repressed indigenous majority, he would lead a restructuring of the country’s power base. His rule, however, was not the welcome change that many anticipated. Instead, his regime was marred by corruption and severe political abuses from April 1980 until his death on September 9, 1990.
For Doe’s political opponents, National Redemption Day was a time to memorialize the many individuals who were killed during that tragic month in 1980. Today, many Liberians observe the anniversary by remembering the slain.
Liberia Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT)
110 United Nations Dr.
P.O. Box 10-9021
Capitol Hill, 1000