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Article

John G. Turner

Latter-day Saint elder and Utah pioneer, was born in northern Maryland to Andrew Abel and Delila Williams. Abel left the area as a young man. Little is known of his early life; it is unclear whether he was born enslaved or free. One later census identified Abel as a “quadroon,” but others listed him as “Black” or “Mulatto.”

In 1832, Abel was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and soon gathered with the Mormons in Kirtland, Ohio. In 1836, he was ordained to the church's Melchizedek or higher priesthood, making him one of a very small number of African American men to “hold the priesthood” during the church's early years. An expectation for all righteous adult male members of the church, priesthood meant the possibility of leadership positions and the authority to perform ordinances. In December 1836 Abel had become a ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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

Asians  

Bruce Tap

The first Asians to arrive in the United States in significant numbers were Chinese laborers attracted to the country after the discovery of gold in California. By the early 1870s nearly sixty-five thousand Chinese immigrants had entered the United States and had settled principally in California. The Chinese presence in the United States was facilitated by the Burlingame Treaty, negotiated in 1868, which established a mechanism for free and unfettered immigration to the United States.

Although the Burlingame Treaty was negotiated in part to secure the steady flow of Chinese to supply laborers for the American West many Americans were suspicious of the new arrivals and more than willing to accept European immigrants The mysterious appearance clothing food and customs of Chinese immigrants made them unwelcome in the United States particularly in areas with large concentrations of Chinese workers In California for instance anti Chinese opinions and actions were ...

Article

For information on:

Earlier efforts by blacks to return to Africa: See Abolitionism in the United States; American Colonization Society; Black Nationalism in the United States; Crummell; Cuffe; Delany; Garnet; Garvey; Liberia.

Support for repatriation to Africa: See Downing; Race ...

Article

M. W. Daly

British adventurer, explorer, and administrator, was born in London to Samuel Baker, a businessman, and his wife. Educated in England and Germany, and a civil engineer by training, he played a notable role in the history of the Upper Nile in the 1860s. His varied and peripatetic life as a planter, big-game hunter, writer, and controversialist may be studied in his extensive writings and the enormous literature on European travel in Africa.

His work in Africa began in 1861–1865 with explorations in the eastern Sudan, up the White Nile, (where he met James Augustus Grant and John Hanning Speke), and beyond to the Great Lakes. Credit for discovery of the source of the Nile has gone to Grant and Speke; Baker, famously accompanied by his second wife, Florence, explored and named Lake Albert Nyanza. For these adventures, embellished in several books, Baker was much acclaimed, and in 1869 as ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

cartographer, ethnographer, and traveler to Africa, was born in Vienna, then capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Heinrich Baumann, who worked at a bank, and a mother, whose name is not recorded. His family had some Jewish ancestry, which would in 1938 prompt the Nazi government of Austria to destroy a monument erected to celebrate his African exploration. Though his parents do not seem to have been very prosperous, his distant relations in the wealthy von Arnstein banking family paid for his secondary education. Baumann attended primary and secondary schools in Vienna, and at the age of seventeen, joined the Imperial Royal Geographical Society based in the same city. He did some geographical research in Montenegro and began to study geography and geology at the University of Vienna, but in 1885 took a leave of absence from school to join an Austrian expedition to Central ...

Article

The Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 marked the climax of the European competition for territory in Africa, a process commonly known as the Scramble for Africa. During the 1870s and early 1880s European nations such as Great Britain, France, and Germany began looking to Africa for natural resources for their growing industrial sectors as well as a potential market for the goods these factories produced. As a result, these governments sought to safeguard their commercial interests in Africa and began sending scouts to the continent to secure treaties from indigenous peoples or their supposed representatives. Similarly, Belgium’s King Leopold II, who aspired to increase his personal wealth by acquiring African territory, hired agents to lay claim to vast tracts of land in central Africa. To protect Germany’s commercial interests, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who was otherwise uninterested in Africa, felt compelled to stake claims to African land.

Inevitably the ...

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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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

French explorer and administrator, was born on 26 January 1852 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, to the aristocratic family of Ascanio Savorgnan de Brazza and Giacinta Simonetti de Brazza. Although he was born and raised in Italy, he volunteered to join the French navy and became an officer in 1869 and served in Algeria. In 1874, he proposed to the French Minister of the Navy an expedition to travel up the Ogooué River, the longest waterway in Gabon, to see if it eventually reached the Congo River. Although French officials had established a small coastal enclave on the northern Gabonese coast in 1843, the limited budget and personnel of the colony had restricted exploration of the Gabonese interior.

Brazza assembled a collection of several dozen Frenchmen and Senegalese soldiers for this mission His ability to combine intimidation with diplomacy proved very useful as he struggled to convince Adouma Fang ...

Article

After schooling and naval service in France, the Italian-born Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza became a naturalized French citizen in 1874. The following year he led his first official trip to Africa to explore Gabon. From 1875 to 1878 he traveled along the Gabon coast and up the Ogooué River to its source, also reaching the Alima River, a tributary of the Congo River. In 1880, in competition with American journalist and explorer Henry Stanley, Brazza traveled into the Congo River basin interior. There he signed a treaty with leaders of the Téké people, clearing the way for French control of the northern bank of the Congo River, an area that would be known as the Moyen-Congo. He served as general commissioner of the Moyen-Congo from 1884 to 1898, establishing the town that became Brazzaville and building the colonial administration As commissioner Brazza became disenchanted with ...

Article

Frank N. Schubert

In the post–Civil War regular army, Congress set aside six regiments for black enlisted men in the reorganization act of 28 July 1866. These were the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantry Regiments. The act marked the first inclusion of black units in the regular army. It was seen as recognition of the contribution black units of the Union army had made in the Civil War. In the spring of 1869, the 38th and 41st were merged into the 24th Infantry Regiment; the 39th and 40th became the 25th. Commissioned officers of the black units were white (the only exceptions before 1901 were Henry Flipper, Charles Young, and John Alexander).

Until the 1890s the black regiments served almost entirely at remote western frontier posts Comprised initially of mostly illiterate former slaves they overcame their shortcomings and the ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

explorer, the son of Colonel Joseph Burton and Martha Beckwith Burton was born on 19 March 1821 in Torquay, Devon, England. As a military officer in the British Army, Joseph Burton traveled regularly, and his son Richard grew up in France and different Italian states. He showed early in life a tremendous gift for learning languages, and he eventually mastered Arabic to the point he regularly passed for an Arab or Persian or an Indian Muslim. Burton was admitted to Oxford University in 1840, but his wild behavior eventually led to his dismissal in 1842. His taste for adventure led him to join the British colonial army in India, and he first visited Africa en route from England via the Cape of Good Hope to Mumbai (Bombay). From 1842 until 1849, Burton mastered Arabic, Farsi, and Hindustani as he served as a British intelligence officer.

Burton ...

Article

Ari Nave

Sir Richard Burton spoke twenty-five languages and multiple dialects, including Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, Marathi, Punjab, Arabic, and Hindi. During his travels he observed an enormous range of cultural practices, which he documented in forty-three manuscripts. He also wrote two books of poetry and four volumes of folklore.

Born in Torquay, England, Burton was raised by his English parents primarily in France. He briefly attended Trinity College, Oxford, but was expelled in 1842 for insubordination. He then joined the Bombay army, and served in India (in present-day Pakistan) until 1850. Working as an intelligence officer, Burton learned to impersonate Muslim merchants. His reputation was called into question and his military career cut short, however, when a rival officer spread word that Burton had been investigating homosexual bathhouses in Karachi, failing to divulge that Burton had done so under orders from a senior officer.

After returning to France and ...

Article

Paul Finkelman

Spanish soldiers, priests, and settlers brought slaves and free blacks into California in the eighteenth century, and it is estimated that by the 1780s half of the non-Indian residents of Los Angeles were black, and most of these were slaves. A Spanish census in 1790 found that 18 percent of the colony was of African origin. Mexico abolished slavery following independence, and by the time of the Mexican War (1846–1848) the black population was a tiny percent of the total population. In 1845 William Leidsdorff, whose father was Danish and whose mother was a West Indian slave, was briefly in the American diplomatic corps, representing the interests of the United States government in California.

The gold rush led to a huge growth in the population and some southerners seeking to make their fortune brought their slaves with them The status of slavery in California illustrated the tension between ...

Article

Paul Finkelman and Sam Hitchmough

[This entry contains three subentries dealing with civil rights from 1619 to 1895 The first article provides a discussion of the topic during the colonial period through the American Revolution the second article discusses the topic up to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 and the third ...

Article

David Simonelli

Colonialism was the effort by nineteenth-century European powers to control, exploit, and inhabit other parts of the world, particularly Africa. Following Britain's abolition of the slave trade in 1807 and the end of slavery in the British colonies starting in 1834, missionaries and explorers made extensive efforts to learn more about Africa, partly to compensate for their earlier enslavement of African peoples. In the process, interest also grew in Africa's vast potential to produce exploitable natural resources and the perceived need to bring the Africans “commerce, civilization and Christianity,” in the famous words of the missionary explorer David Livingston.

The earliest manifestations of this interest brought isolated explorers and missionaries into the interior of sub-Saharan Africa; such adventurers mostly set off from the British colonies of Sierra Leone and Cape Colony (South Africa). With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the creation of the Belgian ...