By James Ciment
The first well known heritage of the previous American slaves who based, governed, and misplaced Africa's first republic
In 1820, a gaggle of approximately 80 African american citizens reversed the process heritage and sailed again to Africa, to a spot they'd identify after liberty itself. They went less than the banner of the yank Colonization Society, a white philanthropic association with a twin time table: to rid the United States of its blacks, and to transform Africans to Christianity. The settlers staked out a beachhead; their numbers grew as extra boats arrived; and after breaking unfastened from their white overseers, they based Liberia―Africa's first black republic―in 1847.
James Ciment's Another the United States is the 1st complete account of this dramatic scan. With empathy and a pointy eye for human foibles, Ciment finds that the Americo-Liberians struggled to stay as much as their excessive beliefs. They wrote a stirring statement of Independence yet re-created the social order of antebellum Dixie, with themselves because the grasp caste. construction plantations, conserving stylish soirees, and exploiting or even supporting enslave the local Liberians, the persecuted grew to become the persecutors―until a lowly local sergeant murdered their president in 1980, finishing 133 years of Americo rule.
The wealthy forged of characters in Another the USA rivals that of any novel. We come across Marcus Garvey, who coaxed his fans towards Liberia within the Nineteen Twenties, and the rubber king Harvey Firestone, who outfitted his empire at the backs of local Liberians. one of the Americoes themselves, we meet the intense highbrow Edward Blyden, one of many first black nationalists; the Baltimore-born explorer Benjamin Anderson, looking a mythical urban of gold within the Liberian hinterland; and President William Tubman, a descendant of Georgia slaves, whose financial regulations introduced Cadillacs to the streets of Monrovia, the Liberian capital. after which there are the natives, males like Joseph Samson, who was once followed via a famous Americo relations and later presided over the execution of his foster father in the course of the 1980 coup.
In making Liberia, the Americoes transplanted the virtues and vices in their nation of start. The inspiring and stricken background they created is, to a amazing measure, the reflect snapshot of our own.
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Additional info for Another America: The Story of Liberia and the Former Slaves Who Ruled It
The early nineteenth-century politicians who devised this idea considered it an inspired one. America could rid itself of its most “useless and pernicious” class of people while simultaneously establishing a beachhead from which Africa could be civilized and Christianized. The settlers who eventually signed up to be a part of the experiment, meanwhile, dreamed only of a free haven for all persons of African descent. But their idealism was hard to sustain on the Windward Coast. To the natives, the settlers, though they looked uncannily like themselves, were just another group of outsiders with hostile intentions.
The weather was indeed fine, the natives did celebrate the colonists’ arrival, and Kizell, who had built a dozen houses in preparation for the new arrivals, appeared to be the ideal host. 18 In fact, Mrs. Peck would never follow her son to Africa and Nathaniel would soon be fleeing for his life. It did not take long for Peck and the others to learn that things were not as they seemed at Campelair. The natives’ apparent joy at their arrival had less to do with the return of Africa’s lost sons and daughters than with the wealth of cargo they unloaded from the Augusta.
The Americo-Liberian ruling class had been corrupt, callow, and callous, at one time even being accused by an international tribunal of running a slave ring. But as I progressed through the literature, the story acquired nuance and specificity. The kinship contemporary Liberians of all backgrounds felt with Americans had deeper and more meaningful roots than I—and perhaps even my interviewees—had ever imagined. The early settlers of Liberia brought the mores of their homeland with them. They arrived in West Africa full of entrepreneurial energy but also with a propensity to settle disputes with violence.