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 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?
- Also in Industrialization: 1870-1900 Lucy Parson's Book Was the legendary anarchist the owner of this manifesto found in a library?
- Related Investigation Whaling Ship Might a ship docked in Mystic Seaport, hold secrets to the Underground Railroad?
- Related Investigation Army Muster Roll What can a Continental Army muster roll tell us about this remarkable African-American soldier?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Birthplace Of Hip Hop Did this Bronx apartment building give birth to a culture that now spans the globe?
- Also with Tukufu Zuberi Anti-Slavery Flag Did this old sheet found in a family trunk contribute to the end of slavery in America?
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