John Hanson (Liberia)

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Senator John Hanson, c. 1856, from a daguerreotype attributed to Augustus Washington[1]

John Hanson (d. c. 1860) was an African American associated with the American Colonization Society, which sought to relocate black Americans in Liberia. In Liberia, he served as a senator from Grand Bassa County.

Senator Hanson has recently been confused with an earlier John Hanson, a white politician from Maryland who served as President of the Continental Congress during the American Revolution. According to this urban myth, John Hanson of Maryland was actually black, and also the first President of the United States. Internet sites promoting the hoax use the photograph of Senator John Hanson of Liberia to support the claim, even though photography had not yet been invented when the earlier John Hanson was living.[2][3]


  1. ^ American Colonization Society, Library of Congress. Accessed October 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Audrey Peterson, "Black History Urban Legends", American Legacy, March 6, 2009. Accessed October 18, 2009.
  3. ^ Gevinson, Alan. "Was There an African-American President Before Barack Obama?", accessed 8 October 2011.