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This Day in Black History: April 12, 1980

This Day in Black History: April 12, 1980

Liberian President William Tolbert Jr. was assassinated during a bloody uprising.

Published April 12, 2012

Liberian President William Tolbert Jr. was assassinated by a group of soldiers led by opposition leader Master Sergeant Samuel Doe. He was 66. Tolbert, an ordained Baptist pastor and former president of the Baptist World Alliance, served quietly as vice president to President William V.S. Tubman for nearly 20 years before succeeding Tubman in 1971.

Tolbert’s progressive programs were met with criticism from his political opponents, and his choice to appoint family members to cabinet positions spurred rivalries with Liberia’s leading families.


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(Photo: Keystone/Getty Images)

Written by Britt Middleton

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