Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Creation and Consequences of a Subordinate Group In America: African Americans and the American Colonization Society
Its funny that I had to do this research for a class to find out some shocking information that will make me open my eyes from now on at this time in my life. I was given a choice by my teacher to select a subordinate group and identify the creation and consequences the group faced in their time on since creation. My research started with African Americans because it’s the background of my people and learning anything about my culture is very interesting to me. When I took the next step and into my research and stated towards colonization, the information that I found to this very moment started to peculating my mind like a pot of coffee. In December 1816, a meeting took place within Washington D.C and other states to create a plan to send African Americans back to Africa that were freed from slavery. John Randolph, Henry Clay and Richard Bland Lee declared this group the American Colonization Society. A newspaper reporter from West Chester, PA was quoted saying” Colonization is to be the great cure of Negro slavery in this country.” My question is how can you complain about a problem that you created? “The African Repository”, which was a document created as a blueprint for their emigration plan, had letters and other documentation expressing how they felt during these pre-revolutionary times and what benefits they learned from the typical negro to bring them wealth (Blyden, "Africa's Service to The World ," 1881). The first African Americans they witness displaying these benefits were Ethiopians. The group describes them as gregress, (gris-gris) people that wore a charm, ornament, or small piece of jewelry to give them protection from evil, danger or disease. They learned to created different goods such as cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. They also learned different forms of art and science from the Ethiopians but one thing they never could agree on when it came to African Americans and that is their belief in a universal God. Slavery first started back in the 1400’s in the United Stated and these enslaved people were African born principally because the importation to enslaved of Africans to the United stated ended in 1808. The vast majority were brought here to work on the plantations and mass produce the same products that they seen the Ethiopians producing back home in their own lands. They also learned that to the Ethiopian’s, life lessons of arts and science were view in a complete different light. Some ideas were accepted while others ideas and discoveries were not accepted. Rev. Dr. Blyden spoke in one of his letters that were published with “The African Repository” and expressed how the teachings of a Christian Missionary is the cure of them and their diseases and is to declare them from who they ignorantly worship (Blyden, "Africa's Service to The World ," 1881). African American form of region was never taken seriously to the first Caucasians that witness, the Ethiopians. They looked at it as a “practical belief” but at the same time wondered over how some of the most beautiful world wonders like the pyramid was created. Over two decades past of the African American working as a slave within the United States before they decided to let them free and wanted to return black to Africa or where the group along with the US congress felt they would fit. The first to help the leaders start with their emigration plan was Paul Cuffe. Cuffe was a wealthy mixed-race man back in the 1800’s that was known for being a very well known ship owner, activist, and one of the first settlers to help transport freed slaves back to Africa. Cuffe along with the U.S Congress and other black leaders support the plans of the American Colonization Society to create their first civilization in the British-ruled lands of Sierra Leone to help African American immigrants get established within the new colony. The areas that were selected to star the first settlements Freetown, Sierra Leone and the entire sail south in what we now consider the northern area of Liberia. After three weeks of the ship first pulling up to the land over thirty immigrants died of yellow fever (Melish, , 1860). Even thought the fist settlers were having many problems, 2,638 African Americans migrated to the area and US Government even had an agreement wit Liberia over time to accept freed slaves from the United States that were illegally taken in ships from the gate. The ACS over time had a very racist overtone and it showed with they way they express themselves to African Americans and to the world. Imagine being ripped from your home and taken to a far away land to work and make profit for someone else. You get separated from your family and you are forced to live a new life. You are put to work immediately, feed scraps from a kitchen table in a hose while you live in a barn, and beaten to be kept under control for many years. After they use you and all the resources you have to offer they try to return you to an unfamiliar land that you once called home. I easily felt sorrow for any African American at that tie that had to suffer under such harsh conditions. When Lincoln came into office, the first group of African Americans was being given full equal rights in the United States and claiming to be Americans in order to avoid being immigrating to an unfamiliar land. At the end of it all, the initial mission of the ACS died out in 1919 to send African Americans back to Africa but the group did not officially dissolved until 1964 and the documents from the meetings of the group were turned over to the Library of Congress (Greene, p. 302, 1942).. While President Lincoln regarded to slavery as an evil and harmful institution, he also agree with some of the ACS views on African American and felt that blacks could not be assimilated into a white society. In the world today, we are just being viewed as Americans some of these same geographical areas are getting mention as we speak. Liberia gets mention on the T.V news all the time with not much depth to the story which leads me to think what is the US government really have to do with them in this day and age. Sierra Leone was recent marked as one of the biggest areas to get one of the most rare gems from that every women loves, Diamonds. It leaves me to wonder what is really getting written behind closed doors when it comes to us as a people and will they come us with government be willing to back them up? What is really being written between the lines when it comes to us as a people and where do we stand in this country and it seems we never had a choice to what future we choose to have?
Posted by Brooklyn Dreamer at Tuesday, March 06, 2012