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Article

Graham Russell Hodges and Thomas Adams Upchurch

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with black nationalism from the seventeenth century slave trade through the late nineteenth century The first article discusses the first formations of African national identities and the influence of various revolutions on black nationalism while the second focuses on the most significant figures ...

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Jeffrey O. Ogbar and Jeffrey O. G.

Black nationalism is the belief system that endorses the creation of a black nation state It also supports the establishment of black controlled institutions to meet the political social educational economic and spiritual needs of black people independent of nonblacks Celebration of African ancestry and territorial separatism are essential components of black nationalism Though not fully developed into a cogent system of beliefs the impulse of black nationalism finds its earliest expression in the resistance of enslaved Africans to the Atlantic slave trade from the sixteenth century Various groups of Africans who felt no particular organic connection as black people were forced into a new racialized identity in a brutal and dehumanizing process of enslavement The transportation and forced amalgamation of hundreds of different African nationalities resulted in Creolized communities in the Americas enslaved Africans revolted and established new societies which functioned autonomously on the outskirts of colonial towns and ...

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David A. Gerber

educator, politician, and civil rights leader, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Michael Clark, a barber, and his wife (name unknown). Clark was the product of a complex, mixed racial ancestry that formed the basis for a lifelong struggle to find a place for himself in both the white and African American worlds. The oral tradition of Peter Clark's family and of the Cincinnati African American community contends that Michael Clark was the son of the explorer William Clark, a Kentucky slaveowner who had children by his biracial slave Betty. Major Clark is said to have freed Betty and their children and settled them in Cincinnati. There she married and started another family with John Isom Gaines an affluent black man who owned a steamboat provisioning business Though it was never authenticated there is little doubt that Peter Clark himself believed the story of this ...

Article

Efforts to colonize African Americans to Africa began at the time of the Revolutionary War. In 1777, the Virginia legislature discussed Thomas Jefferson's proposal for the colonization of the state's free blacks. Proponents of colonization represented diverse interest groups, including blacks and whites, northerners and southerners, as well as proslavery advocates and antislavery leaders. Some colonization supporters believed that whites and African Americans could never live together peacefully in the United States and that African Americans should therefore return to Africa. A number ofslavery s advocates wished to relocate the southern free black population to Africa in order to create a southern society comprised exclusively of enslaved blacks and free whites Some abolitionists supported the movement because they believed that colonization would result in the gradual emancipation of slaves by proving that African Americans were self reliant Other colonization supporters argued that American blacks could go ...

Article

Wilson J. Moses

clergyman, activist, and Pan-Africanist, was born in New York City, the son of Charity Hicks, a freeborn woman of Long Island, New York, and Boston Crummell, an African of the Temne people, probably from the region that is now Sierra Leone. Boston Crummell had been captured and brought to the United States as a youth. The circumstances of his emancipation are not clear, but it is said that he simply refused to serve his New York owners any longer after reaching adulthood. Boston Crummell established a small oyster house in the African Quarter of New York. Alexander Crummell received his basic education at the African Free School in Manhattan. In 1835 he traveled to Canaan, New Hampshire, along with his friends Thomas Sidney and Henry Highland Garnet to attend the newly established Noyes Academy but shortly after their arrival the school was destroyed by local residents angered by ...

Article

Lamont D. Thomas

Cuffe, Paul (17 January 1759–07 September 1817), entrepreneur and Pan-Africanist, was born Paul Slocum on Cuttyhunk Island near New Bedford, Massachusetts, the son of Coffe Slocum, a freedman from West Africa, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Native American. Cuffe moved with his family from insular Cuttyhunk and Martha’s Vineyard to mainland Dartmouth, a bustling maritime community. After his father’s death, Cuffe shipped out on local vessels bound for the Caribbean. He was twice jailed, once in New York during the American Revolution, when the British blockade captured the vessel he was on, and later in Massachusetts, when Dartmouth selectmen ordered him and his older brother John confined for tax evasion. Unable to vote because of their color, they had unsuccessfully petitioned the Massachusetts legislature not to tax them.

Successful blockade runs to Nantucket in his own boat launched Cuffe in the maritime trade By the end of ...

Article

Scott A. Miltenberger

Paul Cuffe was born as Paul Slocum on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the seventh child of the freed African slave Kofi and the Wampanoag Indian woman Ruth Moses. A member of the West African Ashanti tribe, Kofi had been a slave for fifteen years before the wealthy and influential Quaker John Slocum freed him. In the 1740s, spurred by the preaching of the Quaker prophet John Woolman, the Society of Friends began to question the institution of slavery. Many Quakers throughout the Eastern Seaboard started freeing their slaves and organizing in opposition to the institution. Paul Cuffe's African heritage and his experiences with Friends would decisively shape his life.

In 1746 the freed Kofi took the name Cuffe Slocum and married Moses. They moved to Cuttyhunk, where Slocum became quite prosperous. By 1766 he had earned enough money to purchase 116 acres of farmland on the continent at Dartmouth ...

Article

Jane Poyner

Mixed‐race American sea captain who, as a champion of the abolition movement, journeyed to Britain in 1811 to meet sympathetic friends from the African Institution. Cuffee (also spelt Cuff, Cuffe, Cuffey) was born in Massachusetts to a manumitted slave, Cuffee Slocum, and a Native American, Ruth Moses. A committed Quaker, Cuffee was impassioned about the redemption of Africa: he aligned himself with the Colonization Society of America and the idea of a return to Africa of free African‐Americans. To this end, as a means of cutting off the slave trade at its source, Cuffee made two trips to Sierra Leone (see Sierra Leone settlers). To discuss his views on abolition and colonization with friends from the African Institution, Cuffee sailed to Britain, docking in Liverpool in 1811 Here and in London he met fellow abolitionists including the Duke of Gloucester who was president of the African ...

Article

Jane Poyner

Writer, denunciator of slavery, and leader of Africans in Britain. Cugoano was born in the Fanti Country of the Gold Coast, which today is part of Ghana. He was kidnapped and enslaved as a child through ‘some treachery’ by ‘several great ruffians’, and shipped to Grenada, where he began his work as a slave. After some time in the West Indies, he was taken to England by his master and freed. In order to avoid future enslavement, Cugoano converted to Christianity and took the name John Stewart. In the 1780s he became friendly with the political leader, writer, and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, and together they joined the abolitionist group Sons of Africa, in which they contributed to the fight against slavery. Cugoano became acquainted with the abolitionist Granville Sharp and collaborated with him in the struggle to rescue black people in Britain from being kidnapped and sold ...

Article

Fred Lindsey

As early as 1780 Americans debated the return of African Americans to Africa. This action was supported by people on both sides of the color line, primarily because whites thought that this was the best course of action to improve black and white relations in the country, and some blacks agreed. By definition, however, when blacks developed such plans, they were called “emigrationists,” and when whites created matching plans, they were called “colonizationists.” Both groups were determined that blacks should leave the United States.

In many communities, black and white, there were discussions on the merits of colonization and emigration, which to many was the only viable scheme for ending slavery that was generally acceptable to whites. Against this backdrop of public debate over ending the slave trade and repatriating blacks, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in Washington, D.C., in 1816 The ACS was to sponsor the ...

Article

Bertis English

politician, civil rights activist, black nationalist, and labor leader, was born James K. Green in North Carolina. Little is known about Jim's parents or his childhood years, but eventually he became the valued servant of a Mr. Nelson, a wealthy Hale County, Alabama, planter who owned 500 slaves. Despite Green's somewhat privileged position among the bondmen, he was never taught how to read or write, but he did master carpentry. Consequently, Green became one of the relatively few black skilled laborers in the predominantly black cotton, or Black Belt, region of Alabama who were able to use their antebellum earnings to become economically independent once they were emancipated.

Following the Civil War, Green joined the Republican-led Union, or Loyal, League and entered politics. In 1867 he represented Hale County during the state constitutional convention. The same year, he succeeded Greene County Registrar Alexander Webb ...

Article

Gary Ashwill

A self-educated former slave, François Dominique Toussaint-L'Ouverture joined the Haitian Revolution in 1791 and became its foremost general, defeating both French and British forces. In 1802, he was betrayed and captured, and he died imprisoned in France.

Toussaint figures importantly in the early-nineteenth-century writings of James McCune Smith, David Walker, and Henry Highland Garnet, among others, as a symbol and exemplar of resistance to slavery, and as an example of the potential of the black race. William Wells Brown, in his pamphlet St. Domingo: Its Revolution and Its Patriots (1854), compares Toussaint favorably to Napoleon and George Washington: “Toussaint liberated his countrymen; Washington enslaved a portion of his.” George Clinton Rowe's seventy-stanza poem, Toussaint L'Ouverture (1890), lauds Toussaint as the “deliverer of his race.” Later African American writers such as Carter G. Woodson and W. E. B. Du Bois argued ...

Article

Liberia  

Jennifer R. Lyons

Located in West Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, the country of Liberia shares a northern border with Guinea, an eastern border with the Ivory Coast, and a northwestern border with Sierra Leone. Its capital city Monrovia is named after the U.S. president James Monroe, during whose presidency the first African Americans departed to resettle this piece of Africa.

Article

Liberia  

Debra Newman Ham

During the colonial and early national periods, some American statesmen and citizens were uncomfortable with—if not openly opposed to—the African slave trade and concerned about the growing enslaved population and the smaller but increasing number of free people of color throughout the country. Some leaders began formulating plans for the relocation of free blacks.

The Revolutionary War led to the expansion of the freed population Many male slaves gained freedom through serving in the Continental or the British armed forces and many enslaved men women and children escaped to freedom behind British lines In the aftermath of the war most of the northern states passed gradual abolition laws further increasing the free black population Other slaves were freed by will deed self purchase or manumission Because the free black population often harbored runaways competed with white laborers lobbied for citizenship rights and sowed discontent or rebellion among the enslaved most ...

Article

Escaped slaves and their families who sought protection under the British and who fought for the Loyalist cause during the American War of Independence. (Some white Loyalists also came to Britain after the end of the conflict, but theirs is a different story.) At the outbreak of the war in 1775 British commanders immediately looked for allies, recruits, and reinforcements among the estimated 500,000 slaves held in the colonies. Despite some initial resistance, Lord Dunsmore, the Governor of Virginia, declared in November 1775 that every person capable of bearing arms should resort to his Majesty s standard In this instance indented servants negroes or others free were included in the call to arms During the week following this proclamation over 300 slaves had fled to join the Ethiopian Regiment whose motto Liberty to Slaves was stitched across their uniforms This regiment would serve with distinction at the battles ...

Article

Christopher Fyfe

Student, born the son of Bureh, regent (Nengbana) of the Koya Temne of Sierre Leone, who in 1791 granted land for a settlement to an agent of the London‐based Sierra Leone Company (who mistakenly called him King Naimbana). Aged about 24, he went to England for education at the Company's expense. The directors welcomed ‘the Black Prince’ enthusiastically, particularly Henry Thornton, the chairman, and Granville Sharp, the originator of the settlement project, from whom he took new names and became Henry Granville Naimbana. They saw in him a means of fulfilling their mission to introduce ‘the Blessings of Civilization and Industry’ into Africa.

Described as easy manly and confident in deportment pettish and implacable in disposition and with a great thirst for knowledge he proved an excellent student A surviving letter he wrote is lucidly expressed and well written Thornton recorded anecdotes of his reactions to life ...

Article

As a result of the slave trade, in which millions of Africans were brought over to work on the plantations, blacks form a majority (or an important minority of over 10 percent of the population) in the following areas: virtually all of the Caribbean islands; the Central American countries of Belize, Nicaragua, and Panama; and northeastern South America, including Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, and Peru.

In many of these countries peoples of African descent have had a considerable role in forging defining and determining the goals of nationalist movements While some movements have been openly political in their aims others have distinguished themselves through predominantly cultural or religious modes of resistance In most cases these movements have had to contend with repressive colonial regimes and later repressive autocratic governments Indeed political leaders threatened by burgeoning ...

Article

Ronald Walters

The dispersal of Africans around the globe occurred through both prolonged social processes and historical events, such as slavery, trade, war, and regular emigration. These experiences created a diaspora, which eventually led to the efforts of dispersed Africans to reunify and to reclaim the dignity of their culture in the world. Pan-Africanism is an ideology that places the continent of Africa at the center of its diaspora, posing questions about the nature of continental unity as well as that among African-descended peoples.

Article

Lucy MacKeith

The struggle for social political and economic justice has been central to the history of black peoples in Britain This struggle has continued unabated since at least the 18th century a period that ushered in the beginnings of the establishment of permanent black communities Over the centuries black women and ...

Article

For more than 200 years, racial prejudice has poisoned relations between the United States and Latin America. For years, the prejudices of the United States led to attempts to dominate the region through military force and economic coercion. United States foreign policy in the region has been shaped by perceptions of Latin Americans as children who are unable to govern themselves properly. U.S.-backed paternalistic policies such as the Monroe Doctrine can be attributed to these flawed racial perceptions. This long history of racism and heavy-handed United States foreign policy has generated widespread animosity toward the United States throughout much of Latin America. From the onset of Latin American independence in the early nineteenth century to the present U.S. antidrug policies, little has changed in the unbalanced relations between the United States and Latin America.