Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s

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Univ of North Carolina Press, 2005 M10 12 - 288 pages
Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society (ACS) in the 1820s as an African refuge for free blacks and liberated American slaves. While interest in African migration waned after the Civil War, it roared back in the late nineteenth century with the rise of Jim Crow segregation and disfranchisement throughout the South. The back-to-Africa movement held great new appeal to the South's most marginalized citizens, rural African Americans. Nowhere was this interest in Liberia emigration greater than in Arkansas. More emigrants to Liberia left from Arkansas than any other state in the 1880s and 1890s.

In Journey of Hope, Kenneth C. Barnes explains why so many black Arkansas sharecroppers dreamed of Africa and how their dreams of Liberia differed from the reality. This rich narrative also examines the role of poor black farmers in the creation of a black nationalist identity and the importance of the symbolism of an ancestral continent.

Based on letters to the ACS and interviews of descendants of the emigrants in war-torn Liberia, this study captures the life of black sharecroppers in the late 1800s and their dreams of escaping to Africa.

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One The Liberia Exodus Arkansas Colony 18771880
The 1880s
Liberia Fever 18881891
The Crisis of 1892
Five Troublemakers
Six Missions
Seven The Meaning of Africa
Eight The Last Voyages
Nine In Liberia

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Page 1 - Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Page 133 - What though the spicy breezes Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle, Though every prospect pleases, And only man is vile ; In vain with lavish kindness The gifts of God are strown ; The heathen in his blindness Bows down to wood and stone.
Page 230 - Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974); Leslie Howard Owens, This Species of Property: Slave Life and Culture in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976); Herbert G.
Page 197 - Report and testimony of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from 102 Negroes the Southern States to the Northern States.
Page 83 - With no sacredness of the ballot there can be no sacredness of human life itself. For if the strong can take the weak man's ballot, when it suits his purpose to do so, he will take his life also. . . . The...
Page 240 - Bittle and Gilbert Geis, The Longest Way Home: Chief Alfred C. Sam's Back-to-Africa Movement (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1964); J. Ayo Langley, "Chief Sam's African Movement and Race Consciousness in West Africa...
Page 198 - Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 18631877 (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), 176-280.

About the author (2005)

Kenneth C. Barnes is professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas. His most recent book is Who Killed John Clayton? Political Violence and the Emergence of the New South, 1861-1893.

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