Picturing Freedom's Shores: The Visual Culture of African Americans in Liberia, 1821-1865


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


McIntire Department of Art


This dissertation examines the visual culture of antebellum African Americans in Liberia, West Africa as a window into the formation of black American identity in the nineteenth-century Atlantic world. Focusing on the period from 1821, the year of Liberia’s establishment by the American Colonization Society, to 1865, the end of the United States’ Civil War, it argues that art, architecture, and material culture produced in this American ex-patriot community critically participated in antebellum US debates about slavery as well as in emerging transnational dialogues about the destiny of free African Americans in a post-emancipation black Atlantic world.