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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

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

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

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 ...

Article

Article

Montana  

Barbara C. Behan

In the postbellum era, African American settlement patterns in Montana closely matched those of other western states. Black settlers clustered mainly in Helena, Butte, and other towns. Units of black soldiers were stationed in Montana between the late 1880s and 1911. As elsewhere in the West, black Montanans found opportunities along with often harsh discrimination. Segregated schools existed briefly, but they were banned legally by the time of statehood in 1891. There are few recorded instances of lynching in Montana; however, one man was reportedly killed while attempting to vote in Helena following passage of the Territorial Suffrage Act in 1867. In 1909 the state narrowly passed an antimiscegenation law.

By the turn of the century, thriving African American communities existed in every major town. These communities included many black-owned businesses. The regional branch of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church held its annual conference in ...

Article

Eric Bennett

By applying the philosophy of Booker Taliaferro Washington, Isaiah Thornton Montgomery gained national attention for the success of his experiment at Mound Bayou. He founded Mound Bayou with fellow freedman Ben Green in 1888 on the rich alluvial land halfway between Memphis, Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. The site flanked a new railroad line and cost little because of its swampy ground and thick underbrush. Green and Montgomery intended the settlement to be a refuge from discrimination and a place where freedpeople could live independent and self-sustaining lives.

Mound Bayou grew quickly; by 1907 around 400 families totaling about 8 000 residents populated the town Mound Bayou townsfolk earned money by clearing and selling swampland hardwood and by cultivating cotton on the fertile soil This capital in turn fostered a dozen businesses a newspaper two private schools ten churches a bank and a cottonseed oil mill The Mound ...

Article

Ashley M. Howard

The arrival of African Americans in Nebraska began as early as the 1500s when Spanish explorers brought with them black slaves who worked as translators. However, it was not until the late 1840s and early 1850s that blacks began permanently to reside in the state. By the 1880s homesteading acts prompted African Americans to settle western Nebraska. The most successful of these colonies was Brownlee in Cherry County. The Midwest Migration Company also encouraged blacks to join colonization settlements, but the project failed because of the lack of job opportunities. By the 1920s many farmer families began to leave for cities like Denver, Omaha, and Lincoln because of both the difficult farming conditions and also the promise of higher-paying jobs in urban centers. Thus Nebraska's African American population became largely an urban one, located in the state's two largest cities, Omaha and Lincoln.

Blacks began to trickle into Omaha to ...

Article

Nevada  

Claytee D. White

Nevada entered the union in 1864 during the reelection of Abraham Lincoln. The statehood proclamation was issued by Lincoln on 31 October 1864, nine days before election day, upon Nevada's receipt of the Constitution via a telegraph that cost the new state $4,303.27. The hurried procedures to ensure three more electoral votes for Lincoln were not necessary: Lincoln won by a landslide. Nevada, the thirty-sixth state, was attractive not just for the possible election assistance but as a source of gold and silver to assist the Union with the Civil War. Skilled miners from the 1849 California gold rush and newcomers to the industry migrated to Nevada to dig for precious metals in mining ventures that peppered the state. From 1859 the Comstock Lode located beneath Virginia City Nevada proved to be the wealthiest strike of all Community builders of all types including some of the first ...

Article

Bruce A. Glasrud

Although New Mexico did not become a U.S. state until 1912, there had long been a heritage of black involvement in the territory that became the state. Some blacks entered New Mexico with Spanish explorers; the explorer and slave Esteban was killed in 1539 while approaching native Zuni. In the early nineteenth century, African American fur trappers and traders like Edward Rose and the legendary James Beckwourth resided in New Mexico. Whites brought a few black slaves to the territory. During the 1870s the first growth spurt of blacks in New Mexico included the predominantly black colony of Dora. Later in the century buffalo soldiers arrived with their families, as did black cowboys such as George McJunkin and black owners of small farms, who numbered forty-eight in 1910. Henry O. Flipper after his unwarranted discharge from the U S Army served as a mining engineer in New ...