Liberia: America’s Stepchild

Director: Nancee Oku Bright
Country: USA / Liberia
Year: 2002
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: English


Once the pride and hope of black Africa, Liberia was founded in 1821 by American freeborn blacks and former slaves who returned to West African shores and the land of their ancestors. Liberia was also the home of indigenous tribes who were not always welcoming to the American expatriates. This documentary traces the aspirations, struggles, wars and volatile political history that led to the establishment of Africa’s first independent republic and to the devastating civil war of the 1980s which lasted seven years and left the country in poverty and despair.

About the Director

Nancee Oku Bright

Also Known As: Nancy Oku Bright

Biography: Dr. Nancee Oku Bright is a Liberian Documentary Filmmaker, Director and Producer based in New York. She works as Chief of the Humanitarian Affairs Section for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission. She attained a Doctorate in Social Anthropology and a MA from Oxford University. She has made a number of short ethnographic films on refugees in Sudan and on life in contemporary Liberia. She is best remembered for the short documentary film, Liberia: America’s Stepchild, which premiered on PBS in 2002. It is the sixth offering of World Story and ongoing series of specials on PBS. The film tells series of parallel stories of America’s relationship with Liberia, the settlers’ relationship with the indigenous people and explores the causes leading to the Liberian civil war that devastated “our little, tiny, winy country,” Liberia. Nancee Oku Bright has also written a book, Mothers of Steel: The Life of Eritrean Refugee Women in Sudan and has written for the BBC, several British papers, as well as Vogue (USA), New York News-day and the Miami Herald.


Films Shown in AFF, Inc. Programs:
Liberia: America’s Stepchild (2007).

Liberia: America’s Stepchild (2002).