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Other titles in the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture series:
Journey of Hope: The Back-To-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s (John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Cult)by Kenneth C. Barnes
Synopses & Reviews
Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society (ACS) in the 1820s as an African refuge for free blacks and liberated American slaves. While interest in African migration waned after the Civil War, it roared back in the late nineteenth century with the rise of Jim Crow segregation and disfranchisement throughout the South. The back-to-Africa movement held great new appeal to the South's most marginalized citizens, rural African Americans. Nowhere was this interest in Liberia emigration greater than in Arkansas. More emigrants to Liberia left from Arkansas than any other state in the 1880s and 1890s.
In Journey of Hope, Kenneth C. Barnes explains why so many black Arkansas sharecroppers dreamed of Africa and how their dreams of Liberia differed from the reality. This rich narrative also examines the role of poor black farmers in the creation of a black nationalist identity and the importance of the symbolism of an ancestral continent.
Based on letters to the ACS and interviews of descendants of the emigrants in war-torn Liberia, this study captures the life of black sharecroppers in the late 1800s and their dreams of escaping to Africa.
"A welcome addition to scholarship in Arkansas, African American, and southern history. . . . Highly recommended."
— Choice "This is a serious work of scholarship. Barnes should be commended for meticulously and analytically treating a painful but important aspect of Liberian-American relations."
— American Historical Review "Drawing upon an impressive trove of primary and secondary materials. . . . Barnes demonstrates his skill and sensitivity as a thoughtful historian. . . . [A] substantive history. Meticulously researched and clearly written."
— History "A poignant portrait of the overlooked back-to-Africa movement in the American South."
— W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, editor of Booker T. Washington and Black Progress "Anyone interested in the lives of poor black men and women will find this a compelling read."
— James H. Meriwether, author of Proudly We Can Be Africans: Black Americans and Africa, 1935-1961
Founded in the 1820s by the American Colonization Society as an African refuge for former American slaves, Liberia in the late 1800s received more emigrants from Arkansas than from any other state. Barnes explains why the back-to-Africa movement was so strong in Arkansas and how Africa figured in the thinking of poor black farmers of the rural South.
About the Author
Kenneth C. Barnes is professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas. His most recent book is Who Killed John Clayton? Political Violence and the Emergence of the New South, 1861-1893.
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