Cultural and Historical Resources: Liberia and Liberian English
Below you will find an short list of resources discussing the history and culture of Liberia. The resources have been divided into fiction and non-fiction sections.
Murder in the Cassava Patch– Written by Liberian novelist Bai T. Moore (1968), the book is often taught in high schools in Liberia. Through the story of a murder case in Liberia, the book explores the increasing relationship of Liberia with the West and the inter-generational tensions found in Liberia at the time.
Sundown at Dawn: A Liberian Odyssey– Written by Wilton Sankawulo (2005), this popular piece that is also taught in Liberian classrooms, presents the tale of Dougba who finds himself in prison due to the corruption in the Liberian state, though finds peace and solace in fighting for a better country based in the belief that the most important thing is helping others.
Liberia: The Rise and Fall of the First Republic– Written by G.E. Saigbe Boley, a politician and office holder under two administrations in Liberia, the book chronicles the history of the ruling political party (the True Whig Party), from 1877 to 1980.
Liberia: Portrait of a Failed State– Provides a general introduction and history on Liberian politics. The book spans from the founding of the country in the 19th century up until its publication (2004). Written by John Peter-Pham and Claude A. Clegg, the book pays particular attention to the relationship between US and Liberia, which is seen as a virtual US colony.
Madame President– A biography of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, written by Helene Cooper, a Pulitzer prize winning journalist of the New York. Outlines the many difficulties President Sirleaf had to overcome on her journey to becoming president.
The House at Sugar Beach– A memoir by Helene Cooper (see above) that discusses her childhood growing up in a privileged family in Sugar Beach, Liberia, fleeing Liberia after a military coup in 1980, and returning years later to report on the war and the history of Liberia.
This Child Be Great– A memoir by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female president on the African continent. It chronicles her life from a child to her becoming president in 2006.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Final Report Liberia)- The final report released in 2009, presents the causes and descriptions of the nearly two decade long civil war and policy recommendations following the war.
The Role of the State in the Development of Literature: The Liberian Government and Creative Fiction– A journal article by John Victor Singler, who has written widely about the development of Liberian English in Liberia. Discusses the history of literature within Liberia, how it created divisions within society, and how the state promoted literature that was to be consumed outside of Liberia.
Firestone and the Warlords (PBS Frontlline)- A Frontline video and audio podcast explaining the role of the Firestone tire company and its role in propping up warlord Charles Taylor during the civil war.
Liberia an Uncivil War– A documentary film released in 2004 depicting the horrors of the 15 year civil war.
Return to Liberia: Life After Surviving Ebola (Al Jazeera)- A short documentary presenting stories of survivors of the Ebola crisis in Liberia.
Vice Guide to Liberia (Vice News)- Produced by Vice News in 2009, it examines several stories in Liberia, with a special focus on stories related to the Liberian civil war.