Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

History (D.A.)



First Advisor

Konrad Tuchscherer

Second Advisor

Philip Misevich

Third Advisor

Maria DeLongoria


This work is an examination of the role and impact of American mission schools on the culture of the peoples of Sierra Leone. Colonial capitalism – that is, colonialism with a capitalist component – was accompanied with western values and Christianity. The incorporation of Sierra Leoneans into colonial society was facilitated through education. Education served the purpose of socialization, in order that the institutions and system introduced into West Africa would be maintained. This research explores how the British colony sustained its control through education, although it eventually was weakened by the success of the missionary schools. This research provides a historical, intellectual, and political analysis of the establishment and impact of American mission schools. These schools were essential in bringing about the social change in the young colony. Education serves the purpose of the architects of that education; therefore, it is rational that pre-colonial education attended to the interests of indigenous Africans. Colonial education, although it may have some benefits to the colonized, ultimately serves the interests of the colonizers. Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa offers a lens to view this uneven relationship. Rodney explains the way colonial schooling was education for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusion, and the development of underdevelopment. This study offers insight into the rise of the Sierra Leonean ruling class and a permanent underclass that continues to present a problem for advancement in the country.