Black Colonialism and the Dehumanizing Effects of Slavery on Americo- Liberians in Liberia: A Qualitative Analysis Using the Social Learning Theory

Monique C. Morgan


When the freed slaves from America walked upon the shores of a small West African country, there was a sense of hope and promise. This country they would call Liberia, meaning “the land of the free,” would symbolize their emancipation from slavery. Deeply rooted in each one of the freed slaves was a way of thinking that would cause a division between them and the indigenous people. The freed slaves would call themselves “Americo-Liberians”; they would become the elite in a country that was already inhabited and founded by the indigenous people who lived in the interior. For the next 102 years, a new socioeconomic system would plague Liberia as it did in America. This system would birth colorism, a minority, and ethnic conflict that plagued Liberia. The Social Learning Theory focuses on causes that lead individuals to observe their environment and that of others, which in turn affects one’s behavior. It is therefore hypothesized in this paper that the dehumanizing effects of slavery had an impact on the Americo-Liberians which caused them to practice the same acts of superiority and discrimination they experienced as slaves in America against the indigenous people of Liberia. Scholarly journals, books, and online sources collected by using the document analysis technique were used to test this hypothesis. These sources augmented substantially by expert interviews, which are the main source of the data in detailing the master-slave culture to which the Americo-Liberians were exposed are used to show that eventually Liberians descended into a colonial culture which revealed how the experience as a slave caused them to become oppressors.


Liberia; Americo-Liberians; Social Learning Theory; Slavery

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