The Rise of Black Abolitionism
The African American struggle to claim the United States as a homeland gave rise to the black abolitionist movement. With the creation of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1816, free blacks confronted a program to resettle them in Africa. More than a few black leaders supported the drive for an African repatriation. They were drawn to the ACS's plan for a Liberian colony because it promised blacks self-government and the rights denied them in the United States. But most African Americans rejected colonization, embraced the United States as their true home, and refused to abandon it or the slave. Recognizing the ACS as a threat to their claims as American citizens, blacks organized to challenge the society's program point by point.
Philadelphia blacks took the lead by organizing a series of mass meetings to condemn colonization. At one gathering held in 1817, just a few months after the founding of the ACS, participants carefully spelled out their objections to Liberian settlement.