History Detectives traces one freed man's dream to return to Africa. By the early 19th century, the United States was home to increasing numbers of free blacks. In some places, much of the white establishment considered their status with growing alarm. In the south, where the slave system was most entrenched, free blacks were considered a threat to the status quo. Hostility and even violence against free blacks were common.
This tension gave birth to the Back to Africa movement. Over the next century, some 16,000 black Americans sailed to West Africa to establish the Republic of Liberia. It was one of the largest organized out-migrations in US history.
Vernetia Jenkins of Lynchburg, South Carolina has long been mystified by some old family letters, and their connection to Africa. One letter in particular, from 1877, has caught Vernetia's attention; it is from her grandmother's brother, Harvey McLeod, and it suggests that he was heading to Liberia, but did Harvey make it to Liberia?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Bill Picket Saddle Did this saddle ride into cowboy history with one of rodeo's most daring innovators?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Birth Control Box Could this unusual wooden box be an early contraceptive device?
- Also in Season 7 WWII Diary Does this diary hold the key to understanding the fate of a missing bomber pilot from World War II?
- Related Investigation Monroe Letter Does this letter link America's President to the high seas piracy of U.S. merchant ships in the early 1800s?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Transatlantic Cable How did this twisted fragment of metal spark a communications revolution?
- Related Investigation Little Bighorn Bayonet Could this bayonet have been used at one of the largest massacres of U.S. soldiers by American Indians?
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