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 Seadrome Did floating airports dot the Atlantic before modern air travel?
- Also in Season 7 Crazy Horse Photo Is this the only photograph of a Native American legend?
- Related Investigation Philadelphia Freedom Paper Is this document found in a flea market an original freedom paper for African-Americans?
- Related Investigation Manhattan Project Letter Did this letter help persuade President Harry S. Truman to change policy in the post war era?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Teddy Roosevelt War Club What could this strange object have to do with Teddy Roosevelt and his run for a third term presidency?
- Also in Industrialization: 1870-1900 Doc Holliday's Watch Was this watch a gift from the fearless frontier lawman Wyatt Earp to the gambler Doc Holliday?
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