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?
- Related Investigation Boarding House Flag Did this flag once save a boarding house from being burned down at the height of the Civil War?
- Related Investigation Amos n' Andy Record Is this aluminum record an early recording of the old-time radio series?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Lost Musical Treasure Are these fragments of a lost moment in American musical history?
- 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 Season 7 Pancho Villa Watch Fob Did the owner of this watch fob witness the horrifying raid on Pancho Villa?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Dempsey Fight Bell Is this the bell that sat ringside at the world's first boxing superstar's legendary match?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.