9 July 2003

Was Liberia Founded By Freed U.S. Slaves?

An article published by Slate, written by Mary Kay Ricks, repuidates the oft repeated mantra ubiquitous in the current news headlines that Liberia was a country "founded by freed U.S. slaves".
Not quite. Although some freed American slaves did settle there, Liberia was actually founded by the American Colonization Society, a group of white Americans—including some slaveholders—that had what certainly can be described as mixed motives. In 1817, in Washington, D.C., the ACS established the new colony (on a tract of land in West Africa purchased from local tribes) in hopes that slaves, once emancipated, would move there. The society preferred this option to the alternative: a growing number of free black Americans demanding rights, jobs, and resources at home.


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