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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


Thaddeus Russell

Prince Hall was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of a “white English leather worker” and a “free woman of African and French descent”; his birth date is sometimes given as September 12, 1748 (Horton). He was the slave of William Hall, a leather dresser. At age seventeen, Hall found passage to Boston, Massachusetts, by working on a ship and became employed there as a leather worker. In 1762 he joined the Congregational Church on School Street. He received his manumission in 1770. Official records indicate that Hall was married three times. In 1763 he married Sarah Ritchie, a slave. In 1770, after her death, he married Flora Gibbs of Gloucester, Massachusetts; they had one son, Prince Africanus. In 1798 Hall married Sylvia Ward. The reason for the dissolution of the second marriage is unclear.

In March 1775 Hall was one ...



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 ...



Kathleen Sheldon

member of the Zulu royal family in South Africa, was the younger sister of Senzangakhona, father of the Zulu leaders Shaka, Dingane, and Mpande. She served under her nephews Shaka and Dingane as the royal representative to a military settlement for many years, from around 1815 until 1840. In that year her nephew Mpande became ruler, though by 1842 he feared that his brother Gququ was attempting to take over and so Mpande had Gququ and members of his family killed It appears that Mawa supported Gququ in the royal dispute as she soon fled across the Tugela River into Natal followed by as many as thirty thousand some sources report fifty thousand refugees The area Mawa and her followers left was reported as being nearly depopulated and Mpande was said to be ruling a land of empty kraals Mawa claimed land on the Umvoti River in Natal ...


Stephen W. Angell

black nationalist and land promoter known as “Pap,” was born into slavery in Nashville, Tennessee. Little is known about the first six decades of his life. In his old age Singleton reminisced that his master had sold him to buyers as far away as Alabama and Mississippi several times, but that each time he had escaped and returned to Nashville. Tiring of this treatment, he ran-away to Windsor, Ontario, and shortly thereafter moved to Detroit. There he quietly opened a boardinghouse for escaped slaves and supported himself by scavenging. In 1865 he came home to Edgefield, Tennessee, across the Cumberland River from Nashville, and supported himself as a cabinetmaker and carpenter.

Although Singleton loved Tennessee he did not see this state in the post Civil War era as a hospitable place for African Americans Since coffin making was part of his work he witnessed firsthand the aftermath of ...