American Colonization Society: Establishment of a Colony in Liberia (1816-1853)
“The roots of the colonization movement date back to
various plans first proposed in the eighteenth century. From the start,
colonization of free blacks in Africa was an issue on which both whites and
blacks were divided. Some blacks supported emigration because they thought that
black Americans would never receive justice in the United States. Others
believed that African-Americans should remain in the United States to fight
against slavery and full rights as American citizens. Some whites saw
colonization as a way of riding the nation of blacks, while others believed
black Americans would be happier in Africa, where they could live free of racial
discrimination. Still others believed black American colonists could play a
central role in Christianizing and civilizing Africa.
The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817
to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in
the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa
a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. By 1867, the
society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants.
Beginning in the 1830s, the society was harshly attacked by
abolitionists, who tried to discredit colonization as a slaveholder’s scheme.
And, after the Civil War, when many blacks wanted to go to Liberia, financial
support for colonization had waned. During its later years the society focused
on educational and missionary efforts in Liberia rather than emigration.”
In 1832, the Maryland Assembly “ chartered the Maryland
State Colonization Society, established a state board to averse “the Removal
of Coloured People,” and set aside $20,000 for 1832 and up to $200,000 over
the next twenty years to repatriate all free Negroes who were willing to return
American Mosaic Exhibition (Library of Congress); Aaron Stopak, “The
Maryland State Colonization Society: Independent State Action in the
Colonization Movement,” Maryland Historical Magazine, 63 (1968): 280; Robert
J. Brugger. Maryland: A Middle Temperament, 1634-1980, Baltimore: The
Johns Hopkins University Press with the Maryland Historical Society, 1988. pgs.
National History Standards
Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the
History Standards for Grades 5-12:
Standard 4: The
sources and character of cultural, religious, and social reform movements in
the antebellum period.
Standard 4A: The
student understands the abolitionist movement.
7-12: Therefore, the student is
able to analyze changing ideas about race and assess the reception of
proslavery and antislavery ideologies in the North and South. [Examine the
influence of ideas.]
9-12: Therefore, the student is
able to compare and contrast the position of African Americans and White
abolitionists in the issue of the African American’s place in society.
[Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas.]
TITLE: Speech of Col. Curtis M. Jacobs on the Free Colored
Population of Maryland, Delivered in the House of Delegates on the 17th of February, 1860, Annapolis, Maryland.
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 17 February 1860
SOURCE: Teaching and Research
in the Age of the Internet
TITLE: Memoir of Captain Paul
Cuffee, A Man of Colour: To Which
is Subjoined The Society of Sierra Leone in Africa & etc.
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1912  York: W. Alexander
SOURCE: Colonization: African-American Mosaic Exhibition (Library
REPOSITORY: Library of Congress, Rare Books and Special
African-American Mosaic: Liberia, Library of Congress
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 21, 2003
SOURCE: Library of Congress: a web source of many primary
documents, photographs, papers, and writings on the founding of Liberia by
REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
Maps of Liberia, American Colonization Society
DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1830-1870
to Order Reproductions
and Other Restrictions
SOURCE: American Memory Project
REPOSITORY: Library of Congress
Hynson, Jerry M., compl. Maryland Colonization Society Manumission Book:
1832-1860 Willow Bend Books, Westminster, MD, 2001
Maryland Historical Society, Guide to Microfilm
Edition of the Papers of the Maryland State Colonization Society.
Rhistoric Publications, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 1970
Colonization Society/Liberia Photograph Collection, PP161. Maryland
Historical Society, Baltimore.
State Colonization Society
Additional Media Resources
Mosaic Exhibition (Library of Congress): Liberia and Colonization, has a
wealth of information on the subject
– The World Factbook 2002 –Liberia
Campbell, Penelope. Maryland in
Africa: The Maryland State Colonization Society 1831-1857, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1971). REF A-5-1 1400
M.R. and Robert Campbell. Search
for a Place: Black Separatism and Africa 1860,
Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1969. REF A-5-1 1400
Fox, Early Lee. American
Colonization Society, 1817-1840,
Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1919. 12-4-2 1400
Hall, Richard. On Africa’s Shore: A History of Maryland in Liberia, 1834-1857,
Baltimore, MD: The Maryland Historical Society, 2003.
Lee, John. Maryland
in Liberia, Baltimore, MD: The Maryland Historical Society, 1885.
Smith, James Wesley. Sojourners in Search of Freedom: The Settlement of Liberia by Black Americans,
Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987. 12-4-2 1400
Staudenraus, Philip J. The
African Colonization Movement: 1816-1865, New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.
Books for Children
Gilfond, Henry. Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, New York:
Franklyn Watts, 1981.
Humphrey, Sally. A Family in Liberia, Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications
Schloat, G. Warren, Jr. DUEE: A Boy of Liberia, New York: Alfred A. Knopf,
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American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.
Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.
This document packet was researched and developed by
Donna R. Omata.