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Historical Document
Meeting of Free People of Color of Richmond, Virginia

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The response of free blacks to the question of colonization ranged from outright rejection to full embrace of the concept as a practical alternative to racial oppression in the United States. In carefully framed language, a "respectable portion of the free people of color of the city of Richmond," Virginia met on January 24, 1817 to consider the position put forth by the American Colonization Society.

The group declared "that we prefer being colonized in the most remote corner of the land of our nativity, to being exiled to a foreign country."

A month earlier, at the first meeting of the American Colonization Society, ACS Secretary and Supreme Court Justice Elias B. Caldwell had spoken on "the practicability of colonization" within the American continent -- rejecting the idea for fear of black alliances with "Indians, or the nations bordering on our frontiers, in case of war," or that "the colony would become the asylum of fugitives and runaway slaves."

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Related Entries:
American Colonization Society
American Colonization Society: a Memorial to the United States Congress

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