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Erin L. Thompson

Major movements of the black population within the United States began with the importations of the slave trade and continued with the movements of runaway slaves. After they were emancipated, many blacks moved to the North and West to find economic opportunities; some, disappointed, returned to the South. Blacks have also migrated to the United States from other countries, notably those in Africa and the Caribbean.


Elizabeth Heath

The Maji Maji revolt, or Maji Maji Rebellion, was initiated by the stateless peasant societies of the Matumbi region and grew into a mass uprising against German Colonial Rule. Since 1891, when the German East Africa Company had taken control of what is now mainland Tanzania, these societies had been subjected to taxes, compulsory labor service, and compulsory cultivation of export crops such as coffee, sisal, and rubber. In 1902 German governor Count Adolf von Götzen tightened the company’s grip by forcing Africans throughout much of the colony to grow cotton, a crop that is both difficult to grow and hard on the soil. Resentment grew among the Matumbi and other rural people, especially after the company began imprisoning noncompliant chiefs, such as the Kisangire leader Digalu Kibasila. In late July 1905 Matumbi laborers began uprooting cotton plants on a nearby plantation, effectively declaring war on the Germans.

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The struggle against slavery throughout the Americas involved different forms of rebellion. Many slaves escaped; some merged with the urban free black and colored population, while others became maroons and set up their own communities in the backlands, often in cooperation with indigenous peoples. Slaves who remained within the system worked to undermine it, through sabotage of production. At the same time they found ways of using their owners' dependence on their labor to influence their terms of work. And from time to time these slave workers, sometimes in alliance with freed people, erupted in rebellion in an effort to destroy slavery outright.