â The Negro Experimentâ : Black Modernity and Liberia, 1883-1910
West, Laura Elizabeth
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This thesis explores the notion of â black modernityâ in the context of the Liberia at the turn of the twentieth century. Despite Liberiaâ s recognition by the international community as a sovereign nation, Liberia fell subject to the imperial ploys of the European powers in the Scramble for Africa. Americo-Liberians, the governing elite of Liberia, toiled to preserve Liberiaâ s status as an autonomous nation and the only self-governed black republic in Africa. This thesis examines the complexities of Liberiaâ s sovereignty crisis, highlighting the ways in which Americo-Liberians used methods of â modernityâ for their own purposes. Using Liberia as a case study, this thesis argues that the concept of â black modernityâ hinges on contextual factors such as the plight of the people, pending circumstances, power structures, and understanding of self in relation to these variables. Americo-Liberians, unlike most black people at this time, were protected from race-based oppression by the state. Thus, when Liberiaâ s sovereignty was in jeopardy, Americo-Liberians diligently fought to ensure that the Republic of Liberia maintained its sovereignty by using methods of colonialism and diplomacy. While these methods mirrored those of the European imperialists, Americo-Liberians employed these methods to preserve Liberia and, accordingly, challenge the prevailing notions of black inferiority.
- Masters Theses