Date of Award

8-1-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

African and African American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Josephine B. Bradley

Abstract

This research examines the internal and external forces that motivated freeborn and emancipated black Georgians to emigrate to Africa during the African Colonization Movement, 1817-1860. Throughout the study, qualitative and quantitative data were used to analyze the reasons why antebellum black Georgians embraced the ideas of black expatriation. The qualitative data consisted of the writings of black opponents as well as the writings of the proponents of African colonization, including Georgia émigrés, and the agents of the American Colonization Society. The quantitative data consisted of the number of emigrants who resettled to Africa and their survival rate in the newly formed colony of Liberia.

The conclusion suggests that the vast majority of black Georgians did not favor African colonization. Less than ten percent of the freeborn and emancipated black population in Georgia chose to resettle in Africa even though there were promises of political, religious, and economic independence and the promises of land and a free education. Key internal forces that motivated blacks to settle in Africa were the independence of Liberia in 1848 and the words expressed by black leaders and émigrés who espoused expatriation. The external forces were the American Colonization Society’s involvement in promoting the removal of free and emancipated blacks, and state laws that prevented blacks from possessing certain liberties or from integrating within the Anglo-American society. Other external forces in the study included the majority community’s fear of the free black population as well as John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry.

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