Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Back to Africa Movement
Paul Khalil Saucier
The so-called Back to Africa movements—projects designed to repatriate people of African descent, willingly and unwillingly, to West Africa and elsewhere during the 19th and 20th centuries—are often omitted from accounts of U.S. history. Yet these movements played an important part in the history of Black Nationalism and civil rights in the United States. Championed by both Whites and Blacks, Black emigration from the United States to Africa reached its apex with the creation of Liberia. This entry reviews the history of the movement and its impact. The idea of repatriating to Africa predates the American Revolution. Virtually every national leader from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln held the conviction that Blacks and Whites could not coexist as free and equal citizens. As a result, these men encouraged emigration, as did James Madison, Daniel Webster, Andrew Jackson, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice Bushrod Washington, and even Harriet Beecher ...