In this book, Ambassador Martinus L. Johnson, Sr. recounts his experiences growing up in Liberia, obtaining an education in the United States, and ultimately representing his beloved country on four continents. Ambassador Johnson represented the Republic of Liberia for more than 25 years in some of the world's greatest countries as they underwent significant political change: Germany, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and the former Crown Colony of Hong Kong. During his years as a diplomat, he also served as the First Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations in New York. In reflecting on his career, Mr. Johnson expresses awe at the destruction of Germany during World War II and pride in the United States' Marshall Plan in developing Germany following the war. He clarifies the historical relationship between Liberia and the United States and points to an estrangement in that relationship when Liberia established diplomatic relationships with USSR and China. Born in Edina, Liberia, Mr. Johnson is uniquely qualified to chronicle the struggles of his beloved country. His grandfather was a great grandson of Elijah Johnson who was among the early settlers who immigrated to this small West African country under the auspices of the American Colonization Society. Within the context of Liberia's political engagements, Mr. Johnson weaves his personal recollections from childhood of significant political and sociological events. Mr. Johnson also presents readers with his personal thoughts and first-hand accounts of the major political, historical, economic, and social movements that led to the Liberian civil war, the almost complete destruction of the nation, and the major impediments facing the Liberian Nation today in its struggle toward recovery.
Ambassador Martinus L. Johnson, Sr. was born March 24, 1929, in Edina, Grand Bassa County, Liberia, West Africa. He completed his early education in Edina and graduated from high school, The College of West Africa, in Monrovia. He traveled to the United States in 1950 for higher education, where he completed an Associate of Arts Degree at Evanston Collegiate Institute, now Kendall College, in Evanston, Illinois. In 1952, he transferred to The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Political Science, graduating in 1954. After completing his undergraduate education, Ambassador Johnson married his first wife, Barbara Crane, and returned to Liberia with the intent of serving his country. In 1956, two years after his return, he began his career in the Liberian Foreign Service with an assignment to the Embassy of Liberia in Bonn, Germany, as Second Secretary and Vice-Consul. This initiated his 25-year career of service to his country as a diplomat. During this period, he served as First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations; First Secretary and Consul, Liberian Embassy, Cairo, Egypt; Consul General, Hong Kong; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Liberia to the Arab Republic of Egypt; and was commissioned Liberia’s First Ambassador (non-resident) to the Imperial Court of Iran, State of Kuwait, and the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia. During his career in the Liberian Foreign Service, Ambassador Johnson was honored with numerous decorations, including Order of the Collar of the Nile First Class (Arab Republic of Egypt), Knight Commander, Humane Order of African Redemption (Liberia), Commander of the Order of the Star of Africa (Liberia), and Cross of Merit First Class (Federal Republic of West Germany). In 1981, Ambassador Johnson was recalled by Liberian President Samuel Doe. He returned to Liberia and continued serving his beloved country, as a consultant and administrator, until the crisis of 1990 forced him to flee to the United States for his safety. In the United States, Ambassador Johnson continued a career of service by sharing his administrative expertise, experience and knowledge in various capacities, and teaching Third World diplomacy at Wayne State University in the Peace and Conflict Studies Center. He became actively engaged in local United Methodist Church affairs, including outreach to Liberia. Currently, he resides in Livonia, Michigan, with Julia Simmons Johnson, his second wife of 16 years. Ambassador Johnson is the father of five children: Joyce, Martinus Jr., Michael, Jutta, and Michelle; five step-children: Louis and David Mitchell, Gail Summerhill, Julie Ivy and John Simmons; a total of sixteen grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
I love this! Short and sweet. I feel that life goes by too quickly when I am in my cforomt zone. When I push myself and get into new situations my mind slows down and absorbs so much more in a 60 second span than it does in a whole day of familiarity. Excellent post Jocelyn. btw, hopefully we can meet at SOCAP 11