Teacher's Guide prepared by Jo Sullivan, Salem Public Schools.

Prior Knowledge:
American students may have almost no knowledge of Liberia (Is it where Quadaffi lives?) and frequently have much misinformation about Africa. It is very important to establish what the images and stereotypes of African peoples and cultures are before embarking on new information. Ask students what they already know about Liberia. Whether or not they are able to list any information, then move to asking them, "What do you think of when you think about Africa?" If students are adolescents, or aware that they are not supposed to have stereotypes about Africa, it may be helpful to ask instead, "What do you think most American students think about when they think of Africa?" Through the lessons related to this issue, refer back to students' prior knowledge and expectations, to make connections and to adjust and discuss images and knowledge gained.

Background and Context:
It is important to balance African American settler aspirations and experience with the reality of the economy, society, and politics of the African coast - real people already lived on the coast. Liberia's origins and history meant that segments of Liberian society lived in uneasy coexistence, sometimes oppression, and then outright conflict. Read aloud or with students the articles on pages 3 - 5 and 7 - 10 as a general introduction to the history of the region and the origins of Liberia as a modern nation. Understanding the history of Liberia leads to understanding the later history of Liberia's failure to bring about the hopes of its founders.