African America and Haiti: emigration and Black nationalism in the nineteenth century
While much has been written about the antebellum African American interest in emigration to Africa, the equally significant interest in Haitian emigration has been largely overlooked. Although free blacks spurned attempts by the American Colonization Society to return them to Africa, during the 1820s, and again during the 1850s and early 1860s, as conditions for African Americans became ever more precarious, thousands of blacks left the U.S. for Haiti searching for civic freedom and economic opportunity in the world's first independent black republic. Such prospects caught the attention of not only the African American leadership but of the black populace as well. In discussing the growing interest in Haitian emigration, Dixon provides ongoing discussions concerning black nationalism as an ideology. While Haiti was a potent example of the possibility of black liberation, for black leaders such as James T. Holly, the island republic had not reached its true potential and was, therefore, an imperfect example of black nationalism. By carrying Christian civilization to Haiti, these African Americans hoped to transform it into an exemplar of black nationhood. There was, as Dixon argues, a clearly emerging ideology of black nationalism during the nineteenth century. However, the main principles of that ideology were marked by definite condescension toward non-American blacks that reflected many of the racial values of white America. Anticipating material comfort and political equality in their adopted nation, many emigrants instead encountered disease and suffering.
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Black America and Haiti
Emigrationism Resurgent and
Black Emigrationism 18541860
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abolitionists advocate African Ameri African American emigration agents American Colonization American Colonization Society antebellum Anti-Slavery argued asserted August Bibb black Americans black colonization black community black emigration black emigrationists black leaders black nationalism black race black republic Blair Boston Brown Canada Caribbean Christian Church Colored continued culture Delany Delany's early elevation Emigration Convention emigration to Haiti endorsement Episcopal Frederick Douglass free blacks freedom Genius of Universal Haitian authorities Haitian Bureau Haitian emigration Haitian emigrationism Haitian emigrationists Haitian government Haitian movement Haitian Revolution Haitian scheme Harris Hayti Henry Highland Garnet Holly's ideology independence interest island republic issue James Redpath James Theodore Holly Liberia LRJR-LC Martin Delany nineteenth-century North Pine and Palm political proposals racial racism Redpath to Plesance regarding reprint September 1861 Shadd significant slavery slaves stay-and-fight tian tion tionism United Universal Emancipation University Press Watkins Weekly Anglo-African white Americans white colonizationists William William Wells Brown York