African Americans and Haiti: Emigration and Black Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century

Synopsis

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.