Today we are kicking off season 3 of A Southern Girl’s View podcast with educator, political activist, politician and my college political science professor, Dr. George Kieh, Jr.
Click play >>here<< to here George’s incredible journey and insight on the Republic of Liberia.
To label George Kieh, Jr in one particular role, or title, is a grave disservice to this man. I first met George back in 1988, at what was then Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), in the first of many political science classes that I would take from him. That first meeting and the classes that followed under his tutelage would forever change my perspective on the world and of myself.
In this episode, George and I chat about his long path from growing up in the Firestone district of Liberia to his current position at TSU. We talk about the inspiration for his political activism that began in his childhood, his days as a political prisoner, his Liberian presidential campaign run in 2005, and of course, our early days at Memphis State and exactly why our class was the best he’s ever had.
Things to Know:
Firestone Natural Rubber Company, LLC is a subsidiary of the Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, the company operates the largest contiguous rubber plantation in the world in Liberia, which first opened in 1926. Firestone’s relationship with Charles Taylor forever damaged Liberia and its people.
Charles Taylor is a Liberian former politician and convicted war criminal who served as the 22nd President of Liberia from 2 August 1997 until his resignation on 11 August 2003. He came to power in a coup that overthrew the government run by Samuel Doe, this all kicked off the first Liberian civil war 1989-1996. After Doe’s torture and execution, Taylor assumed more power and was elected to office in 1997. During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002). The second Liberian civil war was to follow from 1999-2003.
In 2003, a United Nations tribunal indicted Taylor on 17 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was tried in The Hague in 2007 and the trial lasted almost six years. In 2012, Charles Taylor was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to 50 years in prison. Reading the sentencing statement, Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: “The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history.”