Archive for the ‘AFRICAN AMERICANS’ Category


December 11, 2012

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December 11, 2012

Barack Obama election

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL ! Our BLACK SKINNED BEAUTY GABOUREY SIDIBE IS Busy Breaking the skinny/no shape/no nose/no lips/no hips/white/girl/standard/of/beauty/glass/ceiling everywhere! BLACK ON!

April 30, 2012


February 24, 2012

Book cover

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012


January 31, 2012

Former Black Panther patches together purpose in Africa exile

In America, Pete O’Neal was an angry man, an ex-con who found a kind of religion in 1960s black nationalism. In a Tanzania village, he’s been a champion of children.

Many of the young orphans gather round to watch, and lend their support, as Pete O’Neal has fresh ink applied to his fading black panther tattoo. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times

January 29, 2012

Reporting from Imbaseni, Tanzania — The fugitive shuffles to his computer and begins typing out his will. He is about to turn 71, and it is time. “My life,” he writes, “has been a wild and wicked ride….”

All Pete O’Neal has amassed fits on two pages: A small brick home with a sheet-metal roof. A few road-beaten vehicles. A cluster of bunkhouses and classrooms he spent decades building, brick by scavenged brick, near the slopes of Mt. Meru’s volcanic cone. Everything will go to his wife of 42 years, Charlotte, and to a few trusted workers.

He prints out the will late one Saturday morning and settles into his reclining chair to check the spelling. He signs his name. Then, to guarantee its authenticity, he finds an ink pad, rolls his thumb across it, and affixes his thumbprint to the bottom of the page.

“I think that’ll do it,” he says.

Map: Imbaseni, Tanzania

Photos: A former Black Panther in Africa exile champions kids

When last he walked America’s streets, O’Neal was a magnetic young man possessed of bottomless anger. He was an ex-con who’d found a kind of religion in late-’60s black nationalism, a vain, violent street hustler reborn in a Black Panther uniform of dark sunglasses, beret and leather jacket. With pitiless, knife-sharp diction, he spoke of sending police to their graves.

This morning, he sits in his living room uncapping medicine bottles. A pill for high blood pressure. Another for the pain in his back and his bad knee. An aspirin to thin his blood. Time is catching him, like the lions that pursue him implacably through his nightmares, their leashes held by policemen.

He pushes through his screen door into the brisk morning air. A slightly stooped, thickset man with long, graying dreadlocks, he moves unsteadily down the irregular stone steps he built into the sloping dirt. He makes his way past the enormous avocado tree, past the horse barn with its single slow-footed tenant, Bullet, past the shaded dining pavilion.

His four-acre compound bustles with visitors, many of them preparing for a memorial service for Geronimo Pratt, a former Panther who died in his farmhouse down the road, his affairs untidy, his will unfinished, his death a sharp message to O’Neal not to put off the paperwork any longer.

Most of O’Neal’s big dreams have faded over the years, or come to feel silly. Like beating the 42-year-old federal gun charges that caused him to flee the United States. Like the global socialist revolution that he was supposed to help lead. Like returning home to the streets of his Midwestern childhood. Like winning citizenship in his adopted African country, and the prize that’s eluded him on two continents: the feeling of belonging somewhere.

This is what’s left: the shell of a 20-year-old Toyota Coaster bus that bulks before him in a clearing. It’s a stripped-and-gutted 29-seater that he bought for $11,500 after years of squirreling away money. It came with dents, a cracked windshield, a peeling paint job, rotting floorboards, frayed seats.

Still, it seemed like a good deal until he found the engine had to be replaced, costing an additional $4,000. He’s hired mechanics and craftsmen to rebuild the bus nearly from the chassis up, and a few of them are milling around now, informing him in Swahili of their progress.

He rarely leaves home anymore. Crowds jangle his nerves; traffic makes his hands shake. Yet nothing feels more urgent than readying this bus for an improbable 300-mile trip to the edge of his adopted continent.

A group of American high school students, mostly white, is gathering in the dining pavilion. They’ve been coming by the busload for years, many drawn by the intrigue of staying with a former Panther. They pay him $30 a night for a bunk. The money — together with sporadic donations from sympathetic friends here and abroad — pays the bills.

Pete O’Neal in his Black Panther days. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

The students pause before the big poster featuring O’Neal as a fierce young militant, rifle in arms, Charlotte at his side. It’s hard to reconcile that image with the grandfatherly host who greets them in Swahili as if they were old friends, booming, “Karibu!” Welcome!

He asks where they’re from. A girl says Missouri, which happens to be his home state, and he hugs her theatrically. Everyone laughs. “All of you are welcome,” he says, “even if you’re from strange places.”

He plants them before documentary footage about his life. It’s easier than explaining the whole story himself. Where would he start? His childhood in segregated Kansas City, Mo., where the amusement park admitted black kids once a year, a day so cherished that they went in their Sunday best? Should he start with the stabbings and shootings in the projects where he grew up?

“I lived in the streets,” he says. “I didn’t have time to be happy.”

After one arrest, he was given a stark choice: reform school or the armed services. The Navy threw him out after he plunged a butcher knife into another sailor’s chest over an insult, nearly killing him. He drifted in and out of lockup. He pimped girls in three states. He wore $300 Italian suits and a blond wave in his processed hair.

To the FBI, the Panthers were homegrown terrorists who romanticized lawbreaking with overheated Marxist rhetoric. To O’Neal, who founded the Kansas City chapter of the party in early 1969, it represented a lifeline out of an abyss of drugs and aimlessness. He blazed with purpose: End racism and class inequality, fast.

“I would like very much to shoot my way into the House of Representatives,” he declared in a televised interview, angry at a congressman who was investigating the Panthers. Pressed to clarify, he added: “I mean it literally.”

He stormed into a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington, screaming accusations that the Kansas City police chief was funneling weapons to white supremacist groups.

Shortly afterward, a federal judge sentenced him to a four-year prison term on a conviction of transporting a shotgun across state lines. Out on bail, he decided to run. He and Charlotte fled in 1970 to Sweden, then to Algeria, and finally, in late 1972, to Tanzania, whose socialist government welcomed left-wing militants.

The O’Neals had $700. After a few years they bought a patch of inhospitable brush and volcanic rock in Imbaseni, a cobra-infested village of thatched-roof shacks in the country’s remote northern interior. They were up before dawn, dancing with Al Jarreau on the tape deck, gathering locals for the day’s work. Their two young African-born children, Malcolm and Stormy, carried bricks and water buckets.

Soon they had four walls, a roof, and little else. Plastic hung over the windows. No toilets

Soon they had four walls, a roof, and little else. Plastic hung over the windows. No toilets. It was the back-to-Africa experience so many black Americans talked about, minus the option of escape. They learned to grow corn and raise chickens. He jarred pickle relish, smoked sausages and bottled barbecue sauce for sale to local shops.

His temper was thunderous. When he heard something in Swahili that sounded offensive — such as wa-negro, a neutral description of black Americans implying no malice — he would scream, ready to fight.

“We were cowboys then,” says Ikaweba Bunting, 63, a Compton-raised college professor who arrived in Tanzania in the 1970s and stayed for years. “We were big and hard-walking and hard-talking, and ready to beat people up — the whole street culture.”

Exile was supposed to be temporary. O’Neal corresponded with other Panthers and planned to return home to help lead the revolution. He watched from abroad as the party collapsed from infighting, arrests and an FBI campaign of surveillance and sabotage. People stopped talking about revolution. Radicals found new lives.

O’Neal’s exile became permanent. His fury abated. Some of it was age. Some of it was Tanzania, where strangers always materialized to push your Land Rover out of the mud, and where conflicts were resolved in community meetings in which everyone got to speak, interminably.

“It is so laid back, so reasonable, that to be otherwise makes you look, even to yourself, like a damn fool,” O’Neal says.

Around that first crude brick structure, the fugitive improvised a little island of hope. He built a small recording studio for musicians and a workshop for artists. He gathered castoff computers and invited locals to come learn. He sank a well and opened the spigot to the village. It was, as he saw it, in the spirit of the free breakfast program he’d run as a Panther.

“He’s had a chance to grow in a way that very few people get here,” says his brother Brian O’Neal, 58, who lives in Kansas City.

Had he stayed in the States, Pete O’Neal believes, he’d be long dead from a shootout or street fight.

If exile saved him, it has also meant a life in which the sense of being a stranger never goes away.

“There’s always a feeling of not being completely part of this culture. I know I am of a different tribe,” he says. “People like me here, they love me, but I’m always other than.”

Back in his house, he relaxes with a few shots of Jim Beam. He keeps a shotgun for snakes and a wall full of books. In mock-stentorian tones, he ridicules his early blood-soaked rhetoric. He puts a hand over his face, like an actor reminded of an embarrassing role, and says, “That was a man who was trying to find himself. He was trying to shed his skin, and emerge brand-new. I think he overstated and overacted.”

For his radicalism itself, however, he won’t apologize, even if — as he suspects — it is the one thing that might gain him safe entry back into the States.

“They will never convince me in my life,” he says, “that what I was doing wasn’t right.”

All the orphans get a razored haircut — both boys and girls — and wash off the loose stubble under cold water at the tap. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

A few years back, an ambition seized him. The village had scores of destitute children, orphans from dirt-floor shacks and subsistence farms. He collected donations and built a concrete-block bunkhouse down near his tomato and pepper garden.

He spread word that he had room for a few kids. More than 100 appeared at his door, many shoeless. He had to send the majority away. The most desperate, a couple dozen, he informally adopted.

Now, they roam his grounds in lively packs, playing four square on the basketball court. They sleep in rows under malaria nets. Volunteers and a few staff members watch over the children and give them English and computer classes.

They call him Babu. Grandfather.

How big is the ocean?

So big you can’t see across it.


So big you can go for weeks and never see land.

He shows them a globe.

See how much more ocean there is than land?

So is it bigger than Tanzania?

American high school students gather around Pete O’Neal in his compound’s dining pavilion. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

The American high school students have questions, so he takes a seat before them. It’s late, and he’s weary, but this is his living. They want to know what country he belongs to, exactly.

He has no passport, he explains, and the Tanzanian government has rebuffed his efforts to become a citizen. “I’m not sure where the hell I belong at this particular point,” he tells the students.

For years, he sought a way home. He found American lawyers willing to work for free to fight the gun charges. He would like to see his 91-year-old mother in Kansas City one last time.

His longing for the States comes at funny moments, as when he sees shrimp sailing through the air in Red Lobster commercials. He still dreams about the Kansas City he knew as a child, the bakeries and the public swimming pool and the ladies with their hats. But the city seems wrong, somehow, becoming weirdly unrecognizable.

In other dreams, he finds himself fleeing from things he can’t see or name, urging his wife, “Charlotte, you gotta run!”

He regards his complex of bunkhouses, workshops and classrooms as “socialism in microcosm,” he tells the students, though doctrinaire Marxism left him disillusioned. People, he concluded, are basically selfish.

Have his views on violence changed?

“I don’t have the particular type of courage that would allow me to turn the other cheek.”

One fresh-faced girl says she’s been in Tanzania a week, and thinks it might be neat to move here. Does he recommend it?

Patiently, he replies: “It ain’t that kind of party.”

Of late, he tells the students, he’s been haunted by the deaths of other exiled Panthers. One died in France last February, another in Zambia in October.

Then there was his close friend Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, the Panthers’ former field marshal, who spent 27 years behind bars on a murder conviction before a California judge overturned it.

In 2002, Pratt bought a big farmhouse nearby with his false-imprisonment settlement, and O’Neal felt as though he’d rediscovered a lost brother. They drove through the village listening to Richard Pryor CDs, laughing until they wheezed and tears rolled down their cheeks.

Pratt was hospitalized with high blood pressure in May. He hated any confinement. He pulled out his IVs and went home. Days later, O’Neal found him on his side, dead in bed, just 63. His memorial would be tomorrow.

“People are dropping, man,” he tells the students. He doesn’t say that his thoughts were circling his own mortality so relentlessly that he couldn’t sleep last night, and climbed out of bed to tally up what he would leave behind.

Pete O’Neal’s four-acre compound bustles with visitors, some of them preparing dance routines for the memorial service for Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, the onetime Black Panther who died in his farmhouse down the road. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds gather for Pratt’s memorial service. O’Neal sits on the stage under the avocado tree and tells a few stories about their friendship: How Pratt always told him his toes were ugly. How they joked endlessly about who was the bigger hayseed.

Amid the prayers and the singing and the tributes, he manages to steal away for a few moments to inspect the bus. The seats are lined up in the dirt, ready to be scrubbed and resewn. The windows are taped up so the painting can begin. Panther colors: black and light blue.

He remembers discovering the ocean.

He was in his late teens, a heartland kid who believed his fearful precinct of Kansas City was the absolute center of the world, its ugliness and bigotry a true picture of the world. It is why, to his mind, violent revolution looked logical and inevitable.

Then he arrived in California to report for duty in the Navy, and turned his head and saw the Pacific. His breath was caught short by the immensity of it, all that blue stretching out into other lands, other stories. It was the start of a decades-long lesson that the world is bigger, more complicated and interesting than his little plot of bitter experience had led him to suspect.

His orphans have never left this inland region of cornfields and malarial swamps. They’ve never tasted salt water, or felt hot beach sand between their toes.

“They have no idea — no idea — what the ocean is,” he says.

Nights and weekends, they pile into his living room and watch documentaries about sea life. He tells them about whales, giant squid, blind fish in the lightless deep. He regales them with shark stories.

Will they eat me?

If they’re hungry enough, they’ll try.

Because they don’t like me?

No, it’s the natural order of things.

Now and then he indulges in what he calls “Kansas City exaggeration,” and even the majestic sea gets some burnishing. The sharks in his stories grow bigger than houses.

The kids study the TV. The sharks don’t look that big.

OK. But they do have sharks bigger t

OUR BLACK SKINNED BEAUTY Gabourey Sidibe Appears on american Dad!

January 29, 2012

Air Date: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Time Slot: 9:30 PM-10:00 PM EST on FOX
Episode Title: (DAD-6


–”AMERICAN DAD” – (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) CC-HDTV 720p-Dolby Digital 5.1


Patrick Stewart (“X-Men”), Cheech Marin (“Cars 2″), Gabourey Sidibe (“Tower Heist”) and Hulk Hogan Make Guest Voice Appearances

When Stan finally has enough money to afford a membership at the golf club he has worked at for the past thirty summers, his hard work and perseverance prove to be futile when the club gives a membership to Steve first. However, things are not all what they seem when Stan realizes who the club owner really is on the all-new “Stanny Tendergrass” episode of AMERICAN DAD airing Sunday, Jan. 29 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX (DAD-615) (TV-14 D, L, S V)

Voice Cast: Seth MacFarlane as Stan Smith, Roger the Alien and Greg; Wendy Schaal as Francine Smith; Rachael MacFarlane as Hayley and Mom; Scott Grimes as Steve and Sully Sullenberger; Dee Bradley Baker as Klaus and Narrator.

Guest Voice Cast: Patrick Stewart as Bullock, Cheech Marin as Horatio, Gabourey Sidibe as Herself, Hulk Hogan as Himself.


January 28, 2012
Black POLYGAMY in Nigeria


December 30, 2011


December 25, 2011

Mrs.Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade Alao Adedayo-Founder/savior of Yoruba Language thru his GREAT newspaper Alaroye! Do Your own part and BUY it every week, get your children to read it- FIGHT TO SAVE Yoruba Language. FROM DYING!

I stumbled four times to make Alaroye a success story – Alao Adedayo

July 8, 2011

Musa Alao Adedayo, a.k.a Agbedegbeyo, is the Publisher/Chief Executive Officer, World Information Agents Limited, the publishing company of the popular Yoruba newspaper, ALAROYE. He spoke to BASHIR ADEFAKA about himself and how he stumbled four times to get it right with the vernacular paper that has today become a success story in the newspaper industry in Nigeria. Excerpt

How did you start out in life?

I am a Muslim but I am not a biased person because God Himself never loved a biased person.  But those who know me from the beginning used to call me Alao Agbedegbeyo.  When I talk of people who know me from the beginning, they are people from the  70s, early 80s and so on.

I came from Abeokuta to Lagos in 1980 doing Ewi (lyrics) artist.  In those days as an Ewi person, you must be attached to a particular musician and I was with Dele Abiodun, who was like my master.  Ewi was like side-attraction at a show and it would come on stage while the musician and his band members were taking a rest.

I had also participated in some dramas through the likes of Jide Kosoko, Ishola Ogunsola, (Dr. I. Show Pepper) and Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello).  It was because of the Ewi that I used to present in those days that Jide Kosoko would always come to Dele Abiodun’s shows.  He would say to me, “Alao, we are having an outing somewhere and I want you to perform your Ewi there,” and I would say no problem.

How did Ewi correlated with the broadcaster that you were?

By and large as God would have it, through that channel, as I have mentioned before, I became a broadcaster.  Sometime in 1979, Radio Lagos started a programme called, Kebuyeri, which was mainly for the Awada Kerikeri group that was then run by Adebayo Salami popularly called Oga Bello.  We went to a show at Ebute Metta and Adebayo Salami and his group members had also come to that show.

It was there he saw me and said, “Ah, Alao! Radio Lagos has just given us a programme and we want you to be in it” and I said no problem.  We didn’t even discuss money because what was more important to us at that time was the job.  That was how we started the programme and it became overwhelmingly popular turning me into a celebrity.

Behind that programme, a plan was going on by the management of Radio Lagos and the producer of the programme, Adebayo Tijani, communicated to me that management was talking about me and that was how I became a newscaster with Radio Lagos reading Yoruba news at that time.

I left Radio Lagos in 1981, which was a real year of politicking in the country.  Then, Radio Nigeria Ikeja which was established within that time was located in Ikoyi and in fact when we were there, we were always abusing and calling them, “Agberekusu f’ohun Ikeja” that is, people who were on the Island claiming to be speaking from Ikeja (laughs).  I eventually found myself at the Radio Nigeria Ikeja and later NTA but I did not stay long before I left.

When you left service, where did you go?

When we joined broadcasting, most of us did not get the job because of our educational qualifications and so, when I left the NTA, it was an opportunity for me to now go and improve myself, which then took me to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) and then the universities for my first and later second degrees.

How did Alaroye come into the show?

It was in May 1985 when I was 25 and while I was still working as a Yoruba newsreader with the NTA that I decided to try my hands in publishing, which brought about the Alaroye.  Between May and October of 1985, I was only able to publish four editions of the tabloid that was meant to be weekly.  I was doing it alone because I had no such money to hire people.   It thus became a staggered publication because it was a one-man’s idea and as a result, no prospective partner was willing to support or invest in the business.  It was also like that because Yoruba newspaper business at that time was seen as a barren land.  So, naturally, it died.

Further effort was made at resuscitating the paper in 1990 but it couldn’t get to the vendors,  though it was being published. It was to be launched that year so that some funds could be raised. On the day of the launching, a prominent member of the community who was a friend of both the chief launcher and chairman, Lai Balogun, died. So it was a wrong day for the Alaroye’s show as the whole community was thrown into mourning and no one remembered the launch.

In 1994 when I made the third attempt at the publication, I was convinced that Alaroye would one day emerge a success story because, for four weeks, I was able to publish the weekly paper consecutively and throughtout the period,  it was well circulated and generally accepted.

And because I had acquired more knowledge about all it required to make a successful print media, Alaroye was able to stand and  able to meet the standard of a newspaper. Yet, it couldn’t go far because I could not raise the required fund to keep it going.  And for two years, it remained like that until July 2, 1996, when we were able to revisit it and tried our best to make it what it is today.  That was the fourth attempt and it has now come to stay.

I thank God that today, Alaroye is seen not as a happenstance, but a planned revolution in the newspaper industry in Nigeria.  And it is so because, no Yoruba newspaper has been so successful because most of the earlier issues, people have said, were translataion of English newspapers or repetition of news items already carried on radio and television.

Alaroye is original for its thorough analysis, research works and investigative journalism that many have appreciated as having put the newspaper on a very high pedestal. It informs, educates, entertains and analyses events as they unfold through the Yoruba culture. For this, it circulates in Nigeria, wherever Yoruba domicile, with the print run sometimes as high as 150,000 copies per week.  I have the reason to really thank God today because, in Nigeria, particularly among the Yorubas, Alaroye is a language. It is the culture.

The Conference of Yoruba Leaders showcased by your newspaper, which debuted in 2002, hasn’t seemed to produce any result considering the fact that Yorubas are still intolerably disunited.  What is the problem?

The problem we have in Yorubaland is the way we play our own politics.  What Alaroye is trying to do is to serve as a bridge to bring all the leaders together.  There is need for a connecting point, which will connect all Yoruba people with one another.  We have very, very intelligent, well exposed and highly patriotic sons and daughters of Yorubaland.  We cannot run away from the fact that we are Yorubas; we had been Yoruba people before Nigeria and we will remain Yoruba people within Nigeria.

Yes, political party differences are there but we should be able to know that there is difference between politics and governance.  So, during election, you can abuse and criticize yourselves but once election is over, issue of governance becomes the central point while politicking is set aside for another election season.  And if you are the governor, you should see yourself as the father of all, as the head of government and people should see the governor beyond his party but as the leader that all of us should relate well with as one of our own.

In the year 2002, I went to Papa Abraham Adesanya and I said to him, “E ma bawon se oselu.  Ema bawon da si oro oselu.  Asiwaju Yoruba ni ki’e je” (That Papa should not be part of politics other Yorubas played but that he should be okay with himself as Leader of the Yoruba Nation).

He asked me why.  We talked a lot about it and he agreed with me.  Not only that I went to discuss it with him, we made it a critical editorial issue, which some of the Afenifere members then responded to.



December 24, 2011

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Home / Browse / Back-to-Africa Movement
Back-to-Africa Movement

The Back-to-Africa Movement mobilized thousands of African-American Arkansans who wished to leave the state for the Republic of Liberia in the late 1800s. Approximately 650 emigrants left from Arkansas, more than from any other American state, in the 1880s and 1890s, the last phase of organized group migration of black Americans to Liberia.

As early as 1820, black Americans had begun to return to their ancestral homeland through the auspices of the American Colonization Society (ACS), an organization headquartered in Washington DC, which arranged transportation and settlement. The ACS founded the Republic of Liberia in 1847, with its flag and constitution emulating American models, and nearly 13,000 redeemed slaves and free blacks had settled there before the Civil War. With the Civil War and abolition of slavery, the Back-to-Africa movement declined. However, interest in an African migration rekindled after Reconstruction ended and conditions for black Americans worsened in the late 1870s.

In several Delta counties of eastern Arkansas, white Democrats used extraordinary measures during the 1878 elections to keep African Americans from voting. In Phillips County, which was approximately seventy-five percent black, Democrats even stationed a heavy cannon in front of the main black polling place. Anthony L. Stanford, a black physician and Methodist preacher who also served as Phillips County’s Republican state senator, contacted the ACS, requesting assistance with emigration of a number of black citizens to Africa. In 1879, he led twenty-three residents of Phillips County to Liberia, and another 118 emigrants followed the next year from Phillips and Woodruff counties. Whereas Phillips County had polled a Republican majority in the 1876 presidential election, by the gubernatorial election of 1880, only ten Republican votes were cast in the county that had more than 15,000 black residents. Clearly, the Back-to-Africa movement was motivated by the deterioration in status of black citizens in the Delta in the late 1870s.

Conditions improved somewhat in the 1880s. Black men appear to have regained the franchise in the 1882 elections, and black Republican officials were elected to local offices in Delta counties through the rest of the decade. The 1880s also saw a massive in-migration as African Americans from the Deep South, especially South Carolina, fled their own oppressive conditions and looked to Arkansas as a place of plentiful work and cheap land. The 1880s seemed to be a time of promise for black Arkansans, and interest in African emigration waned but never went away. The Reverend Henry McNeal Turner of Atlanta, the foremost advocate nationally for African emigration, was elected bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1880 and was appointed to the eighth district, composed of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Indian Territory. Throughout the 1880s and early 1890s, Turner made yearly trips to Arkansas to preside over annual church meetings, and he always used the pulpit to promote emigration and missions to Africa. In 1886 and 1887, an African man, self-proclaimed “professor” Jacob C. Hazeley, traveled around the state giving lectures accompanied by picture displays about Africa. Hazeley encouraged interested parties to apply for emigration to the ACS. A farm family from Lee County and a schoolteacher from Fort Smith (Sebastian County) emigrated to Liberia in 1882. Three more left from Conway County in 1883, a family of eight from Phillips County emigrated in 1887, and a Faulkner County family of eight moved to Liberia in the spring of 1889.

However, it would be the return of political and racial violence in the late 1880s and early 1890s that made Liberia fever rage through black precincts of Arkansas. In the 1888 and 1890 elections, the Democratic Party faced opposition by a biracial alliance of the rural poor with the cooperation between the agrarian populist movement and the Republican Party. To win the elections, fraud and terror tactics eclipsed those used in 1878 in degree and scale. The Democratic-controlled state legislature in 1891 passed laws aimed at disfranchising black and poor white voters. Before the session ended, the General Assembly crafted Jim Crow segregation laws. In the year that would follow disfranchisement, some of the most horrific lynchings in American history occurred in Arkansas.

In response, black Arkansas sharecroppers and small landowners flooded the ACS office in Washington with letters begging for passage to Africa. As more information circulated back to Arkansas, interest only swelled. Would-be emigrants formed at least forty “Liberia Exodus” clubs that elected officers and held regular meetings, often disguising their true purposes from white neighbors hostile to the movement. Applications for emigration came in from the majority of Arkansas’s seventy-five counties, but interest was particularly keen in areas where political conflict was most intense—in Woodruff, St. Francis, Lonoke, and Jefferson counties in east-central Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley from Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Atkins (Pope County). In Conway County alone, which experienced some of the most spectacular political violence, nearly 1,500 African Americans, about twenty percent of the county’s black population, formally applied to emigrate to Liberia. Most of the emigrants sent by the ACS to Liberia in the early 1890s hailed from Arkansas, including nearly 100 from Morrilton (Conway County) and Plumerville (Conway County) and forty-four from Little Rock and Argenta (now North Little Rock in Pulaski County). A group of thirty-four would-be emigrants from Woodruff County sold their possessions and traveled to New York City in 1892 to beg unsuccessfully for passage to Africa. Their unexpected arrival created a refugee crisis for the ACS, leading it to end its seventy-five-year long resettlement program. The society got out of the emigration business just at the time demand was greatest in Arkansas. To address this interest, some white businessmen in Birmingham, Alabama, formed a company that transported to Liberia more than 200 Arkansans, mostly from Jefferson, St. Francis, and Lonoke counties, in three voyages between 1894 and 1896. A few additional black Arkansans booked commercial passage on steamers that traveled to Liberia from New York via ports in Europe. The interest in Africa spilled over into missionary work. Approximately a dozen black Arkansans and their families traveled to Africa in the 1890s as missionaries, a number representing nearly a quarter of known black missionaries to Africa in that decade.

For the black Arkansans who emigrated, their African Promised Land brought great challenges and some rewards. The Republic of Liberia granted each emigrant family twenty-five acres of free land and settled most of the Arkansas arrivals together in two communities, Brewerville and Johnsonville, a few miles into the interior from the capital, Monrovia. In the heart of the tropics and one of the wettest places in Africa, Liberia hosted a variety of diseases, especially potent strains of malaria that ravaged the emigrant population. People struggled with illness just when they had the most work to do—clearing land, planting crops, and building homes. Settlers had to adjust to new foods and lifestyles and learn to grow a new cash crop, coffee, instead of cotton. The Arkansas emigrants of 1879 and the 1880s prospered through coffee cultivation. However, the coffee trees planted by settlers of the 1890s began to produce berries just in time for the cataclysmic drop in coffee prices, as production in Brazil began to glut the world market in the late 1890s. Several Arkansas emigrants returned to America; perhaps more wished to return but lacked the money for passage. But many of these new Liberians apparently were pleased with their new home. In the words of one Arkansas settler, William Rogers, who wrote back to family in Morrilton, Liberia was “the colored man’s home, the only place on earth where they have equal rights.” What Rogers liked best about Liberia, he said, was that “there are no white men here to give orders; and when you go in your house, there is no one to stand out, and call you to the door and shoot you when you come out. We have no foreman over us; we are our own boss. We work when we want to, and sit down when we choose, and eat when we get ready.” Some of the Arkansas families became prominent in the black republic. Victoria David Tolbert, Liberia’s former first lady whose husband, President William Tolbert, was murdered in the violent coup of 1980, was the daughter of Isaac David, who left Little Rock in 1891 with his family at the age of five.

For additional information:
Barnes, Kenneth C. Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Redkey, Edwin S. Black Exodus: Black Nationalist and Back-to-Africa Movements, 1890–1910. Yale University Press, 1969.

Patton, Adell, Jr. “The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 51 (Summer 1992): 164–177.

American Colonization Society Records. Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

Kenneth C. Barnes

University of Central Arkansas
Related Butler Center Lesson Plans:
Charting Changes (Grades 5-8)

Last Updated 6/21/2010

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