The African Gourmet and Chic African Culture

Back to Africa Movement Year of 1817 and 2019

Ghana Back to Africa Movement 2019 and the History of Back to Africa in America 1817.

America and Ghana Wants Blacks To Go back to Africa

In the first back to Africa movement The American Colonization Society (ACS) platform to freed blacks in America was if you do not like it here in America, ships are leaving the harbor, and we want to help you go back to Africa. Ghana recently unveiled a 15-year-long tourism plan that seeks to increase the annual number of tourists to Ghana from one million to eight million per year by 2027.

Discovering my roots in Ghana Africa 2019
Discovering my roots in Ghana Africa 2019

The American Colonization Society (ACS) had its origins in 1816, when Charles Fenton Mercer, a Federalist member of the Virginia General Assembly, discovered accounts of earlier legislative debates on black colonization in the wake of Gabriel Prosser's rebellion.

On December 21, 1816, the society was officially established at the Davis Hotel in Washington, D.C.
 Attendees included James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, and Daniel Webster, with Henry Clay presiding over the meeting.

The ACS was formed in 1817 to send free blacks to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. On February 6, 1820, the first ship, the Elizabeth, sailed from New York for West Africa with three white ACS agents and 88 freed blacks emigrants aboard.

In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. In 1850, Virginia set aside $30,000 annually for five years to aid and support emigration. During the 1850s, the society also received several thousand dollars from the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Maryland legislatures.

Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Mississippi set up their own state societies and colonies on the coast next to Liberia.  Mississippi-in-Africa joined Liberia in 1847; the Republic of Maryland, established as a colony in the 1830s and by 1867, the societies had sent more than 13,000 black emigrants to Africa.
 Because the United States refused to claim sovereignty over Liberia, in 1846 the ACS ordered the Liberians to proclaim their independence.

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 blacks would never receive justice in the United States. Others believed blacks should remain in the United States to fight against slavery and for full legal rights as American citizens. Some whites saw colonization as a way of ridding the nation of blacks, while others believed blacks 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 black Africans.

Beyin Beach, Ghana in 1971
Beyin Beach, Ghana in 1971

In December 1821, Dr. Ayres the American Colonization Society Colonial Agent in Liberia wrote to the ACS Board;

“The Gentlemen of the Board will expect me to say something of the hostility of the natives. There is not a king or headman, within 50 or 80 miles of us, who can arm, properly, 50 men. They are cowardly in the extreme and have little control over their men. Besides, there is the same jealousy and political selfishness existing among them, which has served so much, to check the accumulation of power, and the prosecution of their ambitious schemes, among the different States of Europe. Not one of them, I fear.”

In 1821, the American Colonization Society dispatched a representative, Dr. Eli Ayers, to purchase land. December 1821, with the aid of Robert F. Stockton, a U.S. naval officer, they sailed to Cape Montserado, to purchase land from the African Kings whom they named, King Peter, King George, King Zoda, King Long Peter, King Governor, and King Jimmy.
 King Peter, was reluctant to surrender the land to the white ACS agents but was forcefully persuaded.

Ayres wanted to buy land from the Kings large enough for homes and farms with excellent springs of water, fertile soil on the banks of a river as large as Connecticut and with one of the best harbors between Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope for $300 dollars.  Ayres stated, “We gave them our rum and tobacco, and returned to our vessel. 

The island at the mouth of the river we have named Perseverance to perpetuate the long and tedious trouble we had in obtaining the land.  A settlement will begin immediately at Cape Montsera.”

In May 1825, Jehudi Ashmun, a Colonial Agent in Liberia for the ACS also took steps to buy land from African Kings along the coast and on major rivers leading inland. Like his predecessor Dr. Ayres, who in 1821 persuaded African King Peter to sell Cape Montserado. In his agreement of May 1825, the Kings contracted to sell land in return for 500 bars of tobacco, three barrels of rum, five casks of powder, five umbrellas, ten iron posts, and ten pairs of shoes, among other items.

Ashmun journal contains the following account of the Colonial Agent’s conversation with King Peter and King Long Peter, on August 14, 1825; "The chiefs inquired whether goods had been sent to pay for the lands, I answered that the ACS believed that nearly the whole price had been paid to King Peter many years ago. Should more goods and fresh instructions in relation to the purchase of the lands arrive from America, he would call a general meeting of the Kings."

2019 Year of Return for African Diaspora
2019 Year of Return for African Diaspora

What is 2019 Year of Return for African Diaspora

In Washington, D.C., in September 2018, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo declared and formally launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” for Africans in the Diaspora, giving fresh impetus to the quest to unite Africans on the continent with their brothers and sisters in the diaspora.

At that event, President Akufo-Addo said, “We know of the extraordinary achievements and contributions they [Africans in the diaspora] made to the lives of the Americans, and it is important that this symbolic year—400 years later—we commemorate their existence and their sacrifices.”

Ghana’s parliament passed a Citizenship Act in 2000 to make provision for dual citizenship, meaning that people of Ghanaian origin who have acquired citizenships abroad can take up Ghanaian citizenship if they so desire. That same year the country enacted the Immigration Act, which provides for a “Right of Abode” for any “Person of African descent in the Diaspora” to travel to and from the country “without hindrance.”

In 2013 the United Nations declared 2015–2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent to “promote respect, protection, and fulfillment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent.” The theme for the ten-year celebration is “People of African descent: recognition, justice, and development.”

Definition of the African Diaspora

In the early part of April 2005, the African Union Commission held a two-day meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to create a definition of the African Diaspora. The consensus of the meeting defined the African Diaspora as "Peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality and who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union."
The following factors shaped the globally recognized definition of the African Diaspora by Africans

Bloodline and Heritage
The African Diaspora should consist of people living outside the continent whose ancestral roots or heritage is in Africa. The peoples of African origin whose ancestors within historical memory came from Africa, but who are currently domiciled in other countries outside the continent and claim citizenship of those countries. The Africans who, for various reasons, have settled outside the continent, whether or not they have kept the citizenship of an African country.

The African Diaspora should be composed of people of African heritage, who migrated from or are living outside the continent. In this context, three trends of migration were identified—pre-slave trade, slave trade, and post-slave trade or modern migration.

The definition must embrace both ancient and modern African Diaspora; and the commitment to the African course. The African Diaspora should be people who are willing to be part of the continent or the African family.

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