Gregg Mitman’s new book highlights land use, racial injustice, and America’s shared history with Liberia

Nearly 6,000 miles separates the United States and the West African country of Liberia, but their histories are forever intertwined. In fact, Nelson Institute affiliate Gregg Mitman, who also serves as the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says that to better understand the history of racial injustice and exploitation in America one must also understand Liberia’s history. Through his new book, Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberia, Mitman explores this history, specifically looking at the ways in which the Firestone plantations in Liberia impacted, and continue to impact land use, the environment, the economy, and racial injustice in both countries.

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