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Tue, 06.18.1811

Beverly P. Yates, Liberian Politician born

Beverly Page Yates

*Beverly Page Yates’ birth in 1811 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black Liberian politician, businessman, and soldier.

Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, Yates was eighteen when he left Virginia for Monrovia, Liberia, in 1829. Like many of Liberia's early colonists, Yates turned to commercial trade for his livelihood and was soon counted among the colony's principal merchants. Operating from a single warehouse in 1838, the trading partners of Yates rapidly expanded its business, and by 1844 owned four warehouses and its ship.

In addition to his prominent role as a businessman, Yates was a leader in Liberia's military affairs and had advanced to the rank of colonel of the First Regiment, Liberia Volunteers.  In 1852, he was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court.  As the running mate of presidential candidate Stephen A. Benson, Yates captured Liberia's Vice Presidency in 1855 and was reelected in 1857.

The ease with which Yates filled each new post drew comment in 1866 from Liberian attorney H. W. Johnson Jr., who observed, "he is at home wherever his fellow citizens feel disposed to place him, whether acting as President of the Senate, as Judge upon the Bench, Commander on the field of battle, or Merchant in his counting-room." As Vice President, he served as president of Liberia's Senate. Beverly Page Yates died in 1883.

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