African-American Exploration in West Africa: Four Nineteenth-Century Diaries

Front Cover
James Fairhead, Tim Geysbeek, Svend E. Holsoe, Melissa Leach
Indiana University Press, Nov 13, 2003 - History - 504 pages
0 Reviews

In the 1860s, as America waged civil war, several thousand African Americans sought greater freedom by emigrating to the fledgling nation of Liberia. While some argued that the new black republic represented disposal rather than emancipation, a few intrepid men set out to explore their African home. African-American Exploration in West Africa collects the travel diaries of James L. Sims, George L. Seymour, and Benjamin J. K. Anderson, who explored the territory that is now Liberia and Guinea between 1858 and 1874. These remarkable diaries reveal the wealth and beauty of Africa in striking descriptions of its geography, people, flora, and fauna. The dangers of the journeys surface, too -- Seymour was attacked and later died of his wounds, and his companion, Levin Ash, was captured and sold into slavery again. Challenging the notion that there were no black explorers in Africa, these diaries provide unique perspectives on 19th-century Liberian life and life in the interior of the continent before it was radically changed by European colonialism.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


One The Liberia of the Journeys
WO Journeys in the Interior
Three James L Sims 1858
Four George L Seymour 1858
Seven The Journeys and the Interior

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 9 - Let no man of us budge one step, and let slave-holders come to beat us from our country. America is more our country, than it is the whites— we have enriched it with our blood and tears.
Page 8 - What further is to be done with them?" join themselves in opposition with those who are actuated by sordid avarice only. Among the Romans emancipation required but one effort. The slave, when made free, might mix with, without staining the blood of his master. But with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.
Page 441 - Published by the Board of Foreign Missions of the United Lutheran Church in America for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Liberia, 1951.

About the author (2003)

James Fairhead is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex.

Tim Geysbeek teaches history at Grand Valley Sate University and has taught at the ELWA Academy in Monrovia, Liberia. He has published his work in History in Africa and the Liberian Studies Journal.

Svend E. Holsoe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Delaware. He has done extensive research on Liberia and is the founding editor of the Liberian Studies Journal.

Melissa Leach is Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research interests include issues of gender, environment, science, and history. She is the author of Rainforest Relations.

Bibliographic information