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Article

Alonford James Robinson

Initially called the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Color in the United States, the American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed by a group of Presbyterian ministers. The organization's chief objective was to encourage free blacks (and later manumitted slaves) to emigrate to West Africa.

To its audience of free blacks, the organization depicted emigration as an opportunity for African Americans to introduce education and Christianity to their African brethren. In contrast, to Southern whites reading its official newsletter, the African Repository (1825–1909), the ACS portrayed black emigration as a solution to the growing prevalence of free blacks, a population that many Southern whites feared would disrupt the system of slavery. As the ACS grew, the prominence of its members and supporters also grew. Among them were Presidents Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, and James Monroe and United States Supreme Court Justice Bushrod Washington ...

Article

Douglas R. Egerton and Judith Mulcahy

[This entry contains two subentries dealing with the American Colonization Society from its establishment in1817 through 1895. The first article discusses reactions and controversy related to the society until1830, while the second article includes discussion of debates within the free black community and attacks on ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

The roots of Americo-Liberian society can be traced to modern Liberia's settlement by free American blacks. From their arrival on the coast of West Africa in 1821, the settlers and their sponsors at the American Colonization Society (ACS), a white abolitionist group, had a complex relationship with the people who were already living there. The settlers brought with them American social, political, and economic values (as expressed in the first constitution of the Commonwealth, later the Republic, of Liberia). They were also strongly influenced by the ACS's ties to the Christian missionary movement. The motives of both white abolitionists and African American colonizers were challenged by critics such as the nineteenth-century African American writer Martin Delany, who charged that the ACS, in “deporting” free blacks, was helping to sustain the practice of Slavery in the United States Furthermore these critics noted the black settlers were establishing a ...

Article

Gayle T. Tate

When most people, regardless of age, sex, or race, are asked to identify black nationalists, they may mention Marcus Garvey, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X), or, more recently, Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. To others, who are aware of the back-to-Africa movements of the late nineteenth century, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner frequently comes to mind. Rarely however, have black women nationalists such as Maria W. Stewart, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Henrietta Vinton Davis, Audley “Queen Mother” Moore, or Amy Jacques Garvey been recognized for their contributions to the history of the black nationalist movement and ideology Other black women through mass movements political organizations church groups female societies and the early women s club movement fueled the movement s growth at different times in African American history Although African American men were in the foreground of the ...

Article

Kathleen Thompson

Black women have been the cultural, social, and economic support of black towns in America for centuries. There were Senegalese enclaves in Louisiana in the 1700s. In the late eighteenth century, Star Hill, Delaware, was created by free blacks on land they acquired from the Quaker community in Camden. Brooklyn, Illinois, was founded by free blacks and fugitive slaves in 1820. As early as 1830, Frank McWhorter, or “Free Frank,” had founded the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. Sandy Ground, New York, was created by black oyster fishermen fleeing the restrictions on free blacks in Maryland.

In 1825Elijah Roberts and his wife Kessiah led a group of free African Americans, many of whom were part Cherokee, from North Carolina to Hamilton County, Indiana, to start a settlement. Many of the settlers were members of the Roberts family, which had been free since 1734 ...

Article

Osire Glacier

Moroccan explorer, professor, and astronomer, was born on 11 October 1969 in Casablanca. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother a housewife who took care of the couple’s seven children. In spite of her humble origins, Chadid decided to be an astronomer at the age of twelve, when her brother Mustapha gave her a book by the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler. Since then, she has pursued her goal one step at a time.

During her adolescent years, Chadid read extensively about the sky, the stars, and the planets. In 1992 she graduated with a master s degree in Physics from the University of Casablanca After graduation Chadid faced a difficult decision leave her family in order to pursue the relevant field of study for her professional objectives at a French university or remain with her family and renounce the opportunity to turn her passion into a profession The ...

Article

Jane Poyner

Passenger on the Empire Windrush (1948) and key figure in London's growing immigrant community. Oswald ‘Columbus’ Denniston was the first African‐Caribbean trader in Brixton market London where he became central to a vibrant community Born in St James Montego Bay Jamaica Denniston left school at 14 to work on a sugar plantation He then trained to become a signwriter and decorator and by the time he left on a one way ticket bound for England had established his own business Arriving in Britain he publicly thanked government officials for assisting in the resettlement of the Caribbean migrants Almost straight away he was offered work as a signwriter in Balham London In the first few weeks he met his future wife Margaret at a church tea party He became a founder member of the Association of Jamaicans and the Lambeth Community Relations Council and was active in a ...

Article

Barbara Bair

pan-African activist, was born 18 January 1897 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. She was raised in Panama, where her father operated a print shop, but returned to Jamaica to attend the Baptist Westwood High School for Girls. Class conscious and politically involved, she also identified strongly with her Asante heritage. She met Marcus Garvey while participating in a debating society in Kingston, and she helped him found the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914.

In 1916 Garvey traveled to the United States, where he intended to raise funds to start a UNIA vocational school in Jamaica modeled on Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Instead he began to build the grassroots Pan-African movement for which he would become famous, receiving mentorship from radical West Indian intellectuals, editors, and labor organizers in Harlem. Ashwood joined Garvey in New York in 1918 She served as UNIA secretary organized the ladies division ...

Article

Since the arrival of Africans on slave ships in the early seventeenth century, migration has been an enduring theme in African-American history. The advent of World War I, moreover, inspired blacks to make a fundamental break with their rural past and move to cities in increasing numbers. Since the early twentieth century, the nature, causes, and consequences of that momentous population movement have engaged the labors of scholars from a variety of disciplines. This essay explores the diverse and changing modes of treating the mass migration of blacks to American cities between the two World Wars.

The literature on black migration during the early twentieth century unfolded within the larger context of three distinct but interrelated conceptual orientations in black urban history The first of these the race relations model emerged at the turn of the twentieth century peaked during the early 1930s and persisted in varying degrees through ...

Article

Gullahs  

Caryn E. Neumann

The Gullahs were African Americans who settled in slave communities along the Atlantic coastal plain and on the chain of Sea Islands; in Georgia these people were known as Geechees. Geographical isolation and strong community life permitted the Gullahs to preserve their African cultural heritage through their skills, language, arts, gestures, and foods.

The homeland of the Gullahs is a coastal strip about 250 miles long and 40 miles wide running through South Carolina and Georgia Low flat islands along the coast are separated from the mainland by saltwater streams This geographic isolation was combined with a steady influx of Africans and a relatively small population of whites to create a culture that was heavily African Even after the official ban on the importation of slaves blacks continued to be smuggled into the coastal areas thereby providing fresh reinforcements of African culture and customs With a higher ratio of Africans ...

Article

Katherine G. Morrissey

Henson, Matthew Alexander (08 August 1866–09 March 1955), arctic explorer, was born in Charles County, Maryland, the son of Lemuel Henson, a sharecropper, and Caroline Gaines. Contradictory information exists about the details of his early life, but most accounts, including his autobiography, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole (1912), agree that Henson was orphaned at an early age, spent several years at the N Street School in Washington, D.C., and went to sea on the three-masted sailing vessel, Katie Hines, from Baltimore, when he was twelve or thirteen.

Henson who signed on as a cabin boy and later became an able bodied seaman spent six years on the ship under a Captain Childs After Childs s death Henson held several jobs ashore including that of a stock clerk for B H Steinmetz Sons a hatter and furrier in Washington D C In 1887 the store ...

Article

Born in Charles County, Maryland, Matthew Alexander Henson began his career as a traveler when he was just a teen. He ran away from home after his parents' death and sailed around the world for six years as a hand aboard the merchant vessel Katie Hines.

Henson was working as a hat store clerk in Washington, D.C., in 1897 when Peary hired him as a valet. He traveled with Peary on a survey expedition to Nicaragua in 1897 and accompanied him on seven polar expeditions. Henson quickly proved indispensable to Peary as a navigator in the Arctic and as a translator among the Inuit (also known as Eskimos).

On April 6, 1909 an expedition made up of Peary Henson and four Inuit claimed to be the first to reach the North Pole Henson who usually broke trail while pulling a sled may have reached the Pole ...

Article

The Inland Empire (which 27,000 square miles of Riverside and San Bernardino counties) has long sat in Los Angeles's historical shadow. In 1983 scholar Byron Skinner produced Black Origins in the Inland Empire, which was one of the first academic books to investigate the region. Skinner's work explored the lived experiences of African Americans who had made their way—both voluntarily and in bondage—to the region. In addition Quintard Taylor's In Search of the Racial Frontier (1998) helped to put the Inland Empire in the larger context of the American West and scrutinized racial fluidity throughout the region. Although local history books have been published, there is still so much more to explore, especially in regard to the people of color who inhabited the region before and after statehood.

Article

Idaho  

Betti Carol VanEpps-Taylor

From the outset, Idaho Territory drew small numbers of African American fur traders and miners. Attracted by quick riches in the mines or services to the miners, many were transients. Beginning in the late 1800s, black Mormon homesteaders acquired land under the Desert Land Act of 1877 and settled along the state's southeastern border. Some descendants remained in the state in the twenty-first century. Black cowboys and ranch hands worked in the ranch country of Owyhee County. Buffalo soldiers from the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry policed mining labor troubles near Coeur d'Alene in 1892 and 1899. In 1910 the Twenty-fifth Infantry returned to fight wildfires near Avery, where they provided protection to those fleeing the flames. Still, the black population remained less than one thousand until 1950.

A few black farmers homesteaded successfully in scattered isolated areas Others chose small towns where they found work and achieved partial ...

Article

Kinshasa is the administrative, cultural, and economic center of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located on the southern bank of the Congo River, opposite Brazzaville in the Kinshasa region of the Republic of the Congo. Although it is uncertain when people first settled in the area, Kinshasa was an important trading village and caravan stop, especially for the slave trade, during the height of the Kongo Kingdom in the fourteenth century. In 1881 Anglo-American explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley established a European trading center in the village and renamed it Léopoldville after Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold shortly thereafter claimed the area as part of his private colony, the Congo Free State, later known as the Belgian Congo. After a railroad was completed between the city and the Atlantic Ocean port of Matadi in 1898 Kinshasa became the major shipping port from and ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Togolese writer and traveler, was born in the southern coastal town of Anecho, located 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the Togolese capital of Lomé. His father, a member of the Ouatchi ethnic community who followed indigenous spiritual traditions, was married to a number of wives. Kpomassie had over twenty siblings and half-siblings. Although his father was a bokonon priest who claimed he could heal, he had trouble accomplishing miracles and eventually promised his son to a priestess for training in return for help. Angry with his father and uninterested in working with the priestess, Kpomassie started to explore other options. He did not have many to choose from. In comparison to other internationally known Togolese writers, Kpomassie had a far more limited formal education. He only attended six years of primary school. In 1957 Kpomassie stumbled on a book about Inuit communities in Greenland The relative freedom of young ...

Article

Karin Pallaver

German military leader and colonialist, was born in Saarlouis (Western Saarland). Son of General Paul Karl von Lettow-Vorbeck and his wife, Mary, he came from a noble Pomeranian family with a long tradition of military service. In 1888 he began his military career and acquired a rather exceptional international experience for his time. He was a member of the German detachment of the Eight-Nation Alliance army sent to China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion (1900–1901). Later, he was sent to German South-West Africa where he took part in the suppression of the Herero and Nama revolts (1904–1907), during which he was wounded. Back home, Lettow obtained the command of a marine infantry battalion. In 1913 he asked to become part of the colonial forces in Africa, and in 1914 he was appointed head of the Schutztruppen (Protective Forces) in German East Africa.

After the outbreak of World War I Lettow ...

Article

Eric Bennett

From its founding in 1778 until the civil rights advances of the late twentieth century, Louisville provided safety and security for African Americans, but only in comparison to the rest of Kentucky. During the antebellum period, the slaves of Louisville, who worked as stevedores, draymen, factory workers, and domestics, suffered relatively less than their counterparts on plantations. After the American Civil War, many rural blacks, opting to weather Reconstruction under the protection of a larger population, migrated to the city where they hoped to escape lynch mobs and white vigilante violence that occurred throughout rural areas of the state.

The merits of Louisville were limited however African Americans in the city were less likely to be murdered but endured entrenched discrimination on all other fronts education employment housing and civil rights The only mitigating factor was the strength of the black community A tenacious lineage of African American leaders ...

Article

Ariel Bookman

Kenyan pioneer, horse trainer, aviator, and memoirist, was born on 26 October 1902 in Ashwell, Leicestershire, England, to Charles Clutterbuck, a former army officer, and Clara, née Alexander. Her parents, attracted by the intensive British government effort to promote white settlement in Kenya (then British East Africa), moved there with Beryl and her older brother Richard in 1904. Beryl’s early life was thus shaped by the unique opportunities open to a white child in a frontier colony: she spoke Swahili nearly as early as she did English; learned hunting, games, and mythology from her father’s Nandi tenants; and grew to recognize herself as part of Africa. As she phrased it in her 1942 memoir West with the Night with characteristic, figurative simplicity, “My feet were on the earth of Africa” (134).

Her mother soon returned with Richard to England where she remarried According to one of Markham s biographers ...

Article

Carole Marks

In May 1879 black delegates from fourteen states met at a convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Congressman John R. Lynd of Mississippi presided. The delegates supported a migration resolution declaring “the colored people should emigrate to those states and territories where they can enjoy all the rights which are guaranteed by the laws and the Constitution of the United States.” The convention asked for $500,000 from Congress for this purpose. Given the past history of this segment of the population, it was a modest request. It was one that was never honored.

The internal migration of African Americans within the United States has occurred over several centuries and reflects nothing so much as the peculiar incorporation of these unwanted but necessary citizens Four mass migrations in particular serve to highlight the hopes and fears of the people and the designs and manipulations of the states The first and perhaps the largest ...