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 Mail Order Brides Are these images evidence of mail order brides in 1890s Chicago?
- 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 in Season 7 Manhattan Project Patent Was this drawing part of America's secret plans to fuel the atomic bomb?
- Also in Industrialization: 1870-1900 Red Cloud's Peace Pipe Was this pipe given to an Indian agent by the famous Lakota warrior Chief Red Cloud?
- Related Investigation Face Jug What does this ceramic face reveal about the Middle Passage and a captive people’s search for identity?
- Also in Season 7 St Valentine's Day Massacre Was this weapon fired in one of the nation's most infamous crimes?
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