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A Black Republic: Citizenship and naturalisation requirements in Liberia

Bernadette Ludwig

Abstract

In 1822 Liberia was founded as a place where free(d) enslaved African Americans could find freedom and liberty. While many of them did, the indigenous African population was, for a long time, excluded from citizenry despite fulfilling one of the essential criteria to be eligible for Liberians citizenship: Being Black. This prerequisite remains part of Liberian law today, rendering non-Blacks ineligible for Liberian citizenship. Today, this mostly affects the Lebanese community who originally came as traders and entrepreneurs to Liberia. This article analyses why Liberians defend race-based exclusionary citizenship practices.

Keywords

Race, Citizenship, Liberia, Lebanese, Exclusion

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