“Our campus has been transformed since the appointment of our new Principal; we can now boast of a well furnished and renovated cafeteria and a conference hall which accommodates over 1,400 students. We are indeed proud of our Principal, Mr. Alexander M. Massey,” these were words of one of the students, Esther Kollie during an interview with our staff on the campus of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Monday, April 20, 2015.
The visit and subsequent tour of this historic campus by our team of reporters Monday, April 20, 2015 saw what is believed to be a complete change in its campus infrastructural development convincible made those, especially residents of Kakata where the institution is situated, speaking to our reporters pour praises on the administration of the institution for ‘job well done’.
For his part the Principal of the institute, Alexander M. Massey in a brief chat with our staff refused to give in to people he called detractors or enemy of progress, and spoke of the success story of his administration and blamed those who were in change prior to his appointment for their failure to complete several projects that were paid for.
Speaking further, Mr. Massey complained how numerous projects that were earmarked for the campus and paid for were left undone, noting that there were no records to indicate who the contractors or sub-contractors were.
He further denied that his administration is marred with nepotism and mismanagement, and stressed that those who are in the employ of the Booker Washington Institute are all qualified individuals who he said are possesses rich credentials to occupy those positions they currently in.
Mr. Massey an alumina of the institution told reporters that his interest as Principal of this great institution is to see it become one of the best in the Liberian educational system.
He also disclosed that his administration is being faced with numerous challenges including damages made by the previous administration by committing BWI to public criticism; for its failure to complete projects that were funded by the central government for the institutions.
Concluding, the BWI Administrator admonished those who he called detractors that are in the constant habit of creating confusion to desist, noting, “I am not here to enrich myself but rather to contribute to the growth and development of this institution,” he told our staff immediately after touring the entire campus to ascertain the facts surrounding the growth of the institution.
But with all of these situations, our reporters toured the entire campus and saw several projects being undertaken by the current administration.
Booker Washington Institute (BWI) was in 1929 as the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute, it was the country's first agricultural and vocational school. BWI was founded with assistance from Americans and is named after American educator Booker T. Washington. Located east of the country's capital of Monrovia, the school sits on a large rural campus and has about 1,800 students.
During the 1920s Liberian President Charles D. B. King visited the United States and toured the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama founded by Booker T. Washington. Upon his return to Liberia, President King hired Massachusetts Institute of Technology's first African-American graduate, Robert Robinson Taylor, to design a campus for a similar school in Liberia. The government donated 1,000 acres (400 ha) in Margibi County for use by the new school, which was named after Washington. The school opened in 1929 with the financial assistance of the Firestone Natural Rubber Company and the Phelps Stokes Fund. Firestone had opened the world's largest rubber plantation in Liberia in 1926. Other supporters included the American Colonization Society, missionary boards, and individuals.
American James L. Sibley served as the first principal of the new school.All principals of the institute were white until 1946. BWI's board of trustees was run by Americans until the Liberian government assumed control in 1953. Board meetings were held in New York City. Prior to 1980, the school was one of several in the country to participate in the Army Student Training Program used to train officers for the Armed Forces of Liberia.