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 to Liberia. In Liberia, he served as a senator from Grand Bassa County.

Senator Hanson has 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 myth, John Hanson of Maryland was actually black. 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, as he died in 1783, and photography was not commercially introduced until 1839.[2][3]


  1. ^ American Colonization Society, Library of Congress. Accessed October 18, 2009.
  2. ^ Audrey Peterson, "Black History Urban Legends", American Legacy (via, March 6, 2009; archived October 12, 2012; retrieved July 23, 2015
  3. ^ Gevinson, Alan. "Was There an African-American President Before Barack Obama?", accessed 8 October 2011.