This Day in Black History: April 12, 1980

Liberian President William Tolbert Jr. assassinated in capital city of Monrovia.

Posted: 04/12/2012 07:00 AM EDT

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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