Discrete patches of tropical, anthropogenic Dark Earths contain approximately three times the amount of carbon as adjacent soils due to long-term human inputs of organic and pyrogenic materials. Tropical Dark Earth soils are globally widespread and have been found in Amazonia, Australia and tropical West Africa, but they represent a small proportion of total area. In Ghana and Liberia, African Dark Earths (AfDE) contain substantial amounts of black carbon (BC) from charred human waste, which contribute to stable soil carbon. At the same time, AfDE is substantially more fertile and productive compared to adjacent soils. How inputs to AfDE simultaneously enhance organic C cycling and storage is not well understood. The goal of this study is to characterize soil organic matter in AfDE and contrasting adjacent soils to ascertain mechanisms that enable concurrent C cycling and C storage.