Joseph Jenkins Roberts (March 15, 1809 – February 24, 1876) was the first (1848–1856) and seventh (1872–1876) President of Liberia. Born free in Norfolk, Virginia, US, Roberts emigrated to Liberia in 1829 as a young man. He opened a trading store in Monrovia, and later engaged in politics. When Liberia became independent in July 26, 1847, Roberts was elected the first Black American president for the Republic of Liberia, serving until 1856. In 1872 he was elected again to serve as Liberia's seventh president.