This the the first comprehensive analysis of African-American repatriation movements in the 19th century before Marcus Garvey. Beginning with Paul Cuffe's journey to Sierra Leone in 1815 and ending with Bishop Henry McNeal Turner's efforts to promote repatriation as reparation for slavery. Surveying all the major movements and personalities during the repatriation thrust of the 19th century, it forms a clear overview of the period.

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Cuffe, Paul

January 17, 1759

September 9, 1817


The merchant and emigrationist Paul Cuffe was born on Cuttyhunk Island in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Cuffe Slocum, a former slave who had purchased his freedom, and Ruth Moses, a Wampanoag Native American. After the war's end, Cuffe sailed again for Sierra Leone—this time leaving on December 10, 1815, with nine families consisting of thirty-eight people. Two of the families were headed by Congolese and Senegalese men returning home. America's urban black elite, particularly Philadelphia's James Forten, Absalom Jones, and Richard Allen, endorsed Cuffe's emigration scheme.

Upon his return to the United States, Cuffe became increasingly convinced of the need for a mass emigration of blacks. He even gave his support to the American Colonization Society—an organization led by white southerners and widely suspected by abolitionists—after they courted his endorsement. Cuffe's death in 1817 came before he could fulfill his own emigration plan, which he hoped would lessen the plight of black Americans and bring a measure of prosperity to Africa. He is considered by some to be the father of black nationalism.


Alfred Charles Sam

Alfred Charles Sam (c.1880 – 1930s?), known as Chief Alfred Sam, was a Gold Coast-born merchant and pioneer pan-Africanist who in 1913-15 encouraged the resettlement of African Americans as part of the Back-to-Africa movement.


Henry McNeal Turner

Henry McNeal Turner (February 1, 1834 – May 8, 1915) was a minister, politician, and the 12th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). An African American, he was a pioneer in Georgia at organizing new congregations of African Americans after the American Civil War.[1] 


Alexander Crummell

Alexander Crummell (March 3, 1819 – September 10, 1898) was a pioneering African-American minister, academic and African nationalist. Ordained as an Episcopal priest in the United States, Crummell went to England in the late 1840s to raise money for his church by lecturing about American slavery. Abolitionists supported his three years of study at Cambridge University, where Crummell developed concepts of pan-Africanism. In 1853 Crummell moved to Liberia, where he worked to convert native Africans to Christianity and educate them, as well as to persuade American colonists of his ideas. He wanted to attract American blacks to Africa on a colonial, civilizing mission. Crummell lived and worked for 20 years in Liberia and appealed to American blacks to join him, but did not gather wide support for his ideas.

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Henry Highland Garnet

Henry Highland Garnet (December 23, 1815 – February 13, 1882) was an African-American abolitionistminister, educator and orator. Having escaped with his family as a child from slavery in Maryland, he grew up in New York City. He was educated at the African Free School and other institutions, and became an advocate of militant abolitionism. He became a minister and based his drive for abolitionism in religion.


Garnet was a prominent member of the movement that led beyond moral suasiontoward more political action. Renowned for his skills as a public speaker, he urged black Americans to take action and claim their own destinies. For a period, he supported emigration of American free blacks to MexicoLiberia, or the West Indies, but the American Civil War ended that effort.

Angered by the Democrats' regaining power and instituting Jim Crow laws in the late nineteenth century South, Turner began to support black nationalism and emigration of blacks to Africa. He was the chief figure to do so in the late nineteenth century; this emigration movement increased after World War I.


Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, inspiring the Nation of Islam and the Rastafarian movement.
Who Was Marcus Garvey?
Marcus Garvey was an orator for the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Garvey advanced a Pan-African philosophy which inspired a global mass movement, known as Garveyism. Garveyism would eventually inspire others, from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement.