The Back to Africa Movement

The Back-to-Africa movement, also known as the Colonization Movement or After Slave Act, encouraged those of African descent to return to the African homelands of their ancestors.

The American Colonization Society (ACS) was an early advocate of the idea of resettling American-born blacks in Africa. The ACS was made up of two groups: abolitionists who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants and provide them with the opportunity to return to Africa and slave owners who feared free people of color and wanted to expel them from America. Notable members of the American Colonization Society included Thomas Buchanan, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, John Marshall, and Francis Scott Key.

As early as 1820, African Americans had begun to return to their ancestral homeland through the American Colonization Society. By 1847, the American Colonization Society founded Liberia and designated it as the land to be colonized by all black people returning from the United States of America. By the decline of the Back to Africa Movement, the American Colonization Society migrated over 13,000 African Americans back to Africa. Some free African Americans were attracted to their homeland because of the continued experience of segregation and discrimination of African Americans after emancipation, and the belief that they would never achieve true equality in America. Yet, most free African Americans did not wish to leave the United States to go to a place from which they were generations removed. America, not Africa, was their home and they had little desire to migrate to a strange and forbidding land not their own.

The African Americans who arrived in Liberia faced a whole host of challenges, which included broken family ties, high mortality rates, and a difficult adjustment period. However, African Americans who survived this period of adjustment in Liberia usually ended up liking the country.

Liberia is so unique for these reasons, as it started neither as a native state nor as a European colony, but began when it became a colony for free blacks from the United States.

stay tuned for more info on this topic and how it led to other events that occurred in Liberia because of Americas "Back to Africa Movement."