“Succeeds admirably in putting us back in touch with the diverse sources of support for the American Colonization Society. We learn much about the complex nature of human motivations and about the changes in attitudes, goals, and government policy that occurred over time.”—Paul D. Escott, author of Uncommonly Savage: Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States
“Thought-provoking and challenging. These deeply researched and gracefully written essays refine our understanding of this often misunderstood group.”—Douglas R. Egerton, coeditor of The Denmark Vesey Affair: A Documentary History
New Directions in the Study of African American Recolonization closely examines the movement to resettle black Americans in Africa, an effort led by the American Colonization Society during the nineteenth century. Over a century later, the subject remains vigorously debated: while some believe recolonization was inspired by antislavery principles, others view it as a proslavery reaction against the presence of free blacks in society.
Moving beyond this simple duality, the contributors to this volume link the movement to other historical developments of the time, revealing a complex web of different schemes, ideologies, alliances, and motives behind the relocation of African Americans to Liberia and other parts of Africa. Considering the perspectives of both black and white Americans, as well as indigenous Africans, these essays address the many religious, political, and social aspects that influenced the recolonization project. Within nuanced nineteenth-century contexts, the contributors explain what colonization, emigration, immigration, abolition, and emancipation meant to the many different factions that supported or opposed recolonization.
Beverly C. Tomek, associate chair of humanities at the University of Houston-Victoria, is the author of Colonization and Its Discontents: Emancipation, Emigration, and Antislavery in Antebellum Pennsylvania. Matthew J. Hetrick is a history teacher at the Bryn Mawr School.