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Colonization of free blacks in Africa From Arkansas to Liberia

Colonization of free blacks in Africa was an issue on which both whites and blacks were divided.

Africa's Liberia began as a settlement of free blacks and freed slaves from the US established in 1822. The U.S. state of Arkansas emigrated more free and freed blacks to Liberia, more than any other US state.

During the term of the fifth president and founding father of the United States, James Monroe, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed.  ACS, in 1817 sent free and freed blacks back to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia.

Free and freed blacks begin the journey to Liberia in Africa.
Free and freed blacks begin the journey to Liberia in Africa. 

Arkansas emigrated free and freed blacks to Liberia, more than any other US state.

The Library of Congress states, “The roots of the colonization movement date back to various plans first proposed in the eighteenth century. From the start, colonization of free blacks in Africa was an issue on which both whites and blacks were divided.  Some blacks supported emigration because they thought that black Americans would never receive justice in the United States. Others believed African-Americans should remain in the United States to fight against slavery and for full legal rights as American citizens.  Many whites saw colonization as a way of ridding the nation of blacks, while others believed black Americans would be happier in Africa, where they could live free of racial discrimination. Still, others believed black American colonists could play a central role in Christianizing and civilizing Africa”.

 
Colonization of free blacks in Africa was an issue on which both whites and blacks were divided.
Colonization of free blacks in Africa was an issue on which both whites and blacks were divided.

Interesting Facts About Liberia

Liberia is a settlement of freed slaves and free blacks from the US established in 1822. 

The U.S. state of Arkansas, passed a law in 1842 prohibiting the immigration of free blacks into the state, also Manumission or slave owners freeing their slaves was also prohibited. Therefore roughly, 700 free blacks and freed slaves left from Southern and Eastern Arkansas to Liberia, more than any other US state.

Liberia is located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. 

Liberia is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Arkansas. 

Liberia’s capital city Monrovia is named after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States. 

Nine Arkansas counties led the way emigrating the most blacks to Liberia from 1880 to 1890; Conway, Faulkner, Jefferson, Lee, Lonoke, Phillips, Pulaski, St. Francis, and Woodruff

Two major groups of Liberia’s native African population are the Kpelle around 20% largely farmers and Bassa around 13% who mainly city dwellers.  

Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it became better known its first civil war 1989 until 1997, second civil war 1999-2003.  The 2014-2015 Liberian Ebola endemic where hundreds of people died, Doctors Without Borders described the situation as tragic and disastrous. Many hospitals closed under the weight of treating people with the Ebola virus. 

Did you know, Emigration is leaving your native country while immigration is going to another county.


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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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