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When the American Colonization Society began recruiting Northern free blacks to establish a new colony in West Africa in the 1820s, Joseph Blake, a thirty-three-year-old Philadelphia ship carpenter, joined dozens of urban free blacks who turned a deaf ear to overwhelming black opposition to the colonization scheme and set sail for Liberia. Perhaps Blake, like many of his fellow colonists, considered Liberia his only hope for true freedom. A decade later, Blake wrote to the ACS secretary charging the society's white colonial agent in Liberia, Dr. Joseph Mechlin Jr., with having seduced and "debauched" his wife, and leaving Blake to support "a mulatto child" produced by their "criminal intercourse." The consequences for Blake were numerous. His wife had become "haughty, insolent, and disobedient," and "careless" about family matters. He expressed disillusionment that a man "put here to be our father, and our guide," and "our representative, an earthly protector," could perpetrate such an evil. Still, Blake worr ied about the repercussions for the colony's reputation. "Had I killed the man," he wrote, "it would have been a stigma casted upon the Colony, that never could have been rubbed off." So Blake appealed for redress, requesting a grant of waterfront land to build a shipyard, and threatened that if he was not compensated, he would "publish [Mechlin's] conduct to the whole world." [1]

Blake's story reveals the central place of gender in the history of slavery, abolition, colonization, and the social and political condition of African Americans in the antebellum United States. This episode illustrates, however, a different gendered history from that to which antebellum historians have typically devoted their attention. Blake's experiences highlight how conceptions of manhood and debates over African colonization, both of which have been insufficiently addressed by historians, essentially fashioned the gender and racial foundations of Northern responses to the slavery problem prior to the Civil War. Those white colonization leaders whom Blake addressed certainly remained cognizant of the various masculine reactions he outlined for them. His possible manly responses ranged from violent revenge of his honor, to a reassertion of patriarchy in his family, to independence through property ownership, or finally, to exposure of the pretenses behind white colonizationists' claims of benevolence and paternalism. Although the ACS ignored Blake's pleas, for decades those same colonization society leaders had been actively promoting their reform movement as a vehicle for masculine identity for black colonists and white reformers alike.

For some time, histories of gender and antislavery have concentrated primarily upon the relationship between white women's abolitionist activism and the origins of feminism and the woman's rights movement. By no means has that narrative been completed. [2] Still, recent scholarly initiatives have encouraged historians to pursue histories that view gender as a whole, recognizing men and masculinity, as well as how gender has signified power relationships throughout human history, as indispensable subjects for historical inquiry. [3] Historians, therefore, need to pursue a more comprehensive understanding of the ways in which gender shaped and influenced Northern reformers' responses to slavery and the ideological debates regarding race and the place of African Americans in American society. This framework not only must reveal the gendered histories of the whole abolitionist movement (men and women, black and white, feminist and non-feminist), but also must encompass perspective of abolitionists' greatest riva ls for Northern whites' sympathies-the colonizationists--as well as those Northern free blacks who favored emigration while expressing their hostility to white colonization societies. This essay moves toward that objective by engendering the history surrounding the African colonization reform movement.

The central premise here is that manhood and colonization were inseparable elements of a comprehensive gender system sustaining movements calculated to resolve the dilemmas of slavery, race, and the place of free African Americans confronted by antebellum Northerners. This article explicates the gender dimension of colonization reform by posing several interrelated arguments. First, colonization reform assumed a masculine character from its inception, and framed its solution to the slavery problem in political terms. Its spokesmen adopted a gendered discourse that simultaneously depicted colonizing as a masculine endeavor while questioning the masculinity of the African American men who actually performed that colonizing. These developments elicit the question of why sizeable numbers of white women were peculiarly absent among colonizationists. At the same time, the sexualized gender imagery of Africa invoked by this colonization discourse reinforced a convergent set of fears among Northern whites about "ama lgamation" that generated a climate in which race riots flourished in Northern cities during the antebellum years. Equally important, in the face of this gendered racial discourse, African Americans in the North asserted their own interpretations of the meanings of manhood and womanhood as they defended their place in American society and reconciled their discordant views over whether blacks should emigrate away from the United States. Their divergent perspectives on colonization and emigration demonstrate that free blacks, as much as white reformers, actively produced the comprehensive gendered discourse that surrounded slavery and race in antebellum America. Black emigration plans unveil the complexity of African American strategies for antislavery, citizenship rights, black nationalism, and familial and community survival. Finally, these factors converge to explain the scarcity of white women colonizationists, while offering a new perspective on white abolitionist women and the contrasting experiences of b lack emigrationist women.

I will use the term colonization whenever referring to white-sponsored plans to expatriate former slaves and free blacks to Africa, modeled upon or auxiliary to the American Colonization Society, and emigration to refer to plans initiated by African Americans to create black communities outside the borders of the United States, whether in the Western hemisphere or on the African continent. Philadelphia offers a useful case for this study. As the southernmost Northern city, it possessed the largest and most influential free black community, and experienced the most intense competition between colonizationist and abolitionist reformers. By concentrating on Philadelphia, this article can contribute the deep community analysis necessary to expose the interrelationship between the actions and discourses of reformers (both black and white) and the conceptions of manhood that remained fundamental to antebellum Northerners' solutions to the slavery problem. [4]


Even before Joseph Blake was born, proposals for African colonization had circulated among late eighteenth-century seaport towns; yet New Englanders displayed far greater interest than did white or black residents in the mid-Atlantic or the South. Colonization became a national reform movement in 1816 with the formation of the American Society for the Colonizing of Free People of Colour. Its stated purpose was to establish independent colonies in Western Africa to be peopled by freed slaves and free-born African Americans who would bring "civilization" and Christianity to the continent of Africa. The American Colonization Society seemed to promise all things to all people, posturing itself as the most broadly appealing of all benevolent causes. It claimed to be a missionary enterprise, a remedy for the Upper South's expanding free black population, a conservative step toward gradual abolition, a solution to pauperism in Northern cities, and the dawn of expanded commerce with Africa. As black critics noted, " It is one thing at the south, and another at the north; it blows hot and cold; it sends forth bitter and sweet." The American Colonization Society forged a link between those who desired the removal of free blacks in both the North and South and those supporters of foreign mission enterprises just getting started in the 1810s. The society envisioned a future in which transported slaves would lead Africa to "participate in the inestimable blessings which result from civilization; a knowledge of the arts; and above all, of the pure doctrines of the christian religion." Colonization reform received widespread support from most of the major Protestant denominations in the country (Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and others) between 1816 and 1840. Most Northern colonizationists, like the members of the Pennsylvania Colonization Society, seemed convinced that the society would result in the "safe, gradual, voluntary and entire abolition of slavery." [5]

The movement's underlying ideological premise, however, was that white prejudice against black people was so debasing and immutable that African Americans could never be accorded equality unless they were removed from white society. "There appears to exist in the breasts of white men in this country," Frederick Freeman declared, "a prejudice against the colour of the African, which nothing short of divine power can remove." With their pessimism rooted in a Calvinist-inspired vision of corporate reform, colonizationists voiced little hope for resolving these conditions. Black and white abolitionists countered by insisting that these claims merely concealed the racism behind colonizationist actions. Colonization was "the offspring of Prejudice," black abolitionist Sarah Forten contended; she was convinced "that it originated more immediately from prejudice than from philanthropy." [6]

From the outset, the American Colonization Society provoked intense opposition from Northern free blacks. Three thousand free blacks rallied together in Philadelphia in 1817, despite hints that some black elites favored the idea, and declared their resolve to "renounce and disdain every connection" with the colonization plan and "respectfully and firmly declare our determination not to participate in any part of it." Colonization, they argued, was merely a ruse by Southern slaveholders to remove free blacks, so that they would not inspire slaves with the hope of freedom nor continue their struggles for emancipation. Free blacks knew full well that some of the colonization society's early publications spoke longingly of ridding the nation of free blacks. They had surely read descriptions of themselves as "an idle, worthless, and thievish race," "a nuisance and a burden," "too often vicious and mischievous," and "condemned to a state of hopeless inferiority and degradation by their color." The tone of these un veiled sentiments fueled Northern black skepticism whenever African Americans heard colonizationists declaring their benevolent intentions. If colonizationists truly felt compassion toward black Americans, then they would nor hesitate to devote a like measure of their energy and resources toward good schools and job training for those who remained on this side of the Atlantic. As one young black man from New York stated, "the colonizationist want us to go to Liberia if we will; if we won't go there, we may go to hell." Black opponents stood alone for more than a decade, as white abolitionists failed to develop an ardent anti-colonization stance until William Lloyd Garrison began publishing The Liberator in 1831, followed by his Thoughts on African Colonization the next year. From that point forward, both white and black abolitionists echoed each other's cry that colonization was a racist scheme that both accepted and encouraged white racial prejudices. [7]

What is perhaps most remarkable about white colonization in the North is how few white women embraced the cause as their own or organized female societies to support the reform. A scarcity of white women activists within colonization societies is especially notable since white middle-class women frequently surpassed their fathers, husbands, and brothers with their voluntarist zeal for forming female missionary, Bible, poor-relief, Sunday school, and other benevolent societies. Since the colonization society purported to be a missionary society, one would have expected widespread women's participation as in other white missionary actions during the same era. Yet women rarely appeared among colonization records and publications during the movement's first two decades. Societies operated exclusively by white men as auxiliaries to the national society outnumbered women's colonization societies by as many as twenty to one. While male colonizationists formed over 200 auxiliary societies between 1817 and 1831, wome n supporters during these years organized only nine female colonization societies. Only two of these women's associations were in communities outside of the slaveholding South. Moreover, most of these female societies originated in isolated small towns. Urban white women in New York, Boston, Hartford, Providence, and Albany opted not to form colonization societies. [8] Many of the nation's leading male abolitionists--Arthur and Lewis Tappan, Gerrit Smith, James G. Birney, Samuel J. May, Theodore Weld, and Joshua Leavitt--had originally supported colonization in their early reform careers, before making their way into the camp of the immediate abolitionists. None of the leading women antislavery activists--Lucretia Mott, Abby Kelley, the Grimke sisters, Maria Weston Chapman, or Lydia Maria Child--followed this route from colonizarionist to abolitionist. [9]

The colonization society's different origins might offer one reason for the limited participation of white women. Typically, antebellum benevolent causes began with local organizations whose members directed their assistance or reform initiatives toward local residents. This pattern allowed white bourgeois women to negotiate a shared space for their religious activism within an urban culture. Only after several similar associations, such as Bible or Sunday school societies, emerged in many different communities, did a group of reformers organize a national organization to coordinate and expand these efforts. The American Bible Society (1816), American Tract Society (1825), American Sunday School Union (1824), and the American Temperance Union (1836) were just a few of the national organizations formed according to this pattern. Colonization reform, by contrast, began as a national society, and its founders had only a reluctant interest in developing local organizations that satisfied the specific needs of lo cal communities. From the beginning, colonization was a centralized reform activity, indicated by the fact that the phrase "the colonization society" referred to the movement as a whole, as if there were only one such society.

Gender conventions also shaped the strategies and techniques of colonization reformers, suggesting a more telling reason why white middle-class men greatly outnumbered white women colonizationists. From its inception, cobnizationists framed their reform activity within a definitively masculine public arena, giving colonization a gendered-that is, masculine-character. Despite its posture as a religious and benevolent organization, the colonization society maintained a political cast to its operations from the outset. The American Colonization Society was organized and headquartered in Washington, D.C., held its annual meetings in the Hall of the House of Representatives, and included among its officers such leading national political figures as Henry Clay, William Crawford, Daniel Webster, and Andrew Jackson. Henry Clay eventually served as president and figurehead of the society for nearly fifteen years (about which Frederick Douglass jibed, it marked the only occasion when Clay would be elected President). [10] In addition to operating among the nation's political elite, the American Colonization Society aggressively sought the assistance of state and federal governments to foster the objectives of African colonization. Petitions were submitted within weeks after the society's founding, imploring Congress to create a colony in Africa and approve financial assistance for the society. Although their early hopes for congressional sponsorship would be frustrated, colonizationists knew that they had to rely on a certain degree of federal assistance (especially from the Navy) if their plan were to survive. For their first two decades, they pleaded for congressional funds, took any federal acknowledgment as an endorsement and precedent for further action, and sought and received endorsements and money from Southern state legislatures. The society remained so determined to get congressional and state legislative funding that they neglected the development of state and local auxiliaries for fifteen years; even after tha t, they continually appealed for government funds for the rest of the antebellum era. [11]

Colonizationists also persistently tried to blend colonization with patriotism, especially when appealing for support, suggesting that theirs was "the greatest scheme of combined benevolence and patriotism" known to any age, an activity worthy of true citizens (and hence true men). By the early 1830s, they had embraced a strategy of associating colonization with national identity, by having sympathetic clergy deliver fundraising sermons every Fourth of July. This scheme proved to be among the most consistent sources of income for colonization societies. It also reinforced distinctions between white "freemen" and African Americans who found themselves regularly excluded from Fourth of July celebrations in Northern cities. While Methodist minister John H. Kennedy could conclude his July 4th colonization sermon by heralding the privileges of Independence Day, a day "which will be held in joyful and thankful remembrance so long as Freemen breathe," Frederick Douglass felt compelled to remind a white audience in 1852: "This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn." [12] This blending of politics, patriotism, and religious authority illustrates the primarily masculine arena in which colonizationists chose to frame their reform activism. It also complicates the timing and pattern historians have usually attributed to the politicization of reform before the Civil War. Conventional interpretations attribute the shift toward political action and away from moral suasion to the rise of political abolitionism and the formation of the Liberty Party in 1840. Yet colonization reformers looked to political action more than a decade before abolitionists divided over the issue. [13]

Given their pursuit of an overtly masculine arena of patriotism and political activism, white colonizationists in Philadelphia experienced a resurgence of local activism with the formation of a Young Men's Colonization Society in 1834. This society was one of dozens of "young men's" societies created in cities during the Jacksonian era. White and black reformers in Philadelphia also established young men's Bible, tract, missionary, temperance, mutual relief, anti-tobacco, antislavery, and fugitive slave assistance associations. Similar organizations emerged in every other Northern city during the 1830s, even though each community already possessed well-established associations to address these reforms. Young men's societies were established to position reform activism expressly within a contest over middle-class masculinity, rather than to address a nascent youth movement. Reform societies offered men (for many of these reformers were not especially "young") an opportunity to assert their usefulness, build c haracter through self-discipline and compassion, and find a "manly" expression for their piety in a feminized religious culture. [14] These reformers' concerns about masculinity surfaced in J. R. Tyson's speech before the Young Men's Colonization Society, criticizing the manliness of Southern slaveholders. "Instead of a hardy race," Tyson declared, "we find them luxurious and effeminate, unequal to those vigorous exertions" required in a new country, and "emasculate by indulgence." Conversely, colonization reformers depicted themselves as "sons of enlightened and Christian freemen" engaged in an honorable and useful enterprise. [15]

Elliott Cresson was the hardest working colonizationist in Philadelphia, and the leading activist in the Young Men's Colonization Society. A wealthy gentleman bachelor from a prominent family of merchants, Cresson, like many other Orthodox Friends, moved easily in and out of evangelical reform circles. But colonization became his life's work. Cresson single-handedly served as a liaison between Southern slaveholders, the American Colonization Society, and Philadelphia colonizationists. He was a tireless promoter of the cause, writing letters, publishing public appeals, organizing societies, and editing a colonization newspaper. Cresson served on the Executive Committees of both the Pennsylvania Colonization Society and the Young Men's Colonization Society, and as an agent for the American Colonization Society. As a result, he became the lightning rod throughout the 1830s for opponents of colonization on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1831, the American Colonization Society sent him on a two-year mission to En gland to raise $100,000 for the ACS from Britain's leading humanitarians. However, both British and American abolitionists, especially William Lloyd Garrison and black Baptist minister Nathaniel Paul, hounded Cresson's every step in England, convincing leading antislavery men in Britain that Cresson's antislavery intentions were disingenuous. Soon Cresson found British churches and philanthropists unreceptive to his pleas and returned home with his fundraising mission a dismal failure. [16]

Cresson, like other Northern colonization reformers, also found colonization compatible with a growing middle-class hostility toward poverty and poor-relief in Northern cities after 1817. Colonization reform began at the same moment that new market perspectives transformed traditional notions of poverty, now blaming the poor for their own poverty and castigating private charities for increasing pauperism. Cresson, along with another Philadelphia colonizationist Roberts Vaux, remained active in the Provident Society which spearheaded this new hard-hearted approach to poor-relief charity during the 1820s. Cresson and Vaux shared prevailing suspicions of all indigents, especially free blacks. By the late 1820s, the American Colonization Society regularly reported the conditions of pauperism among free blacks in Northern cities, especially Philadelphia. [17] Philadelphia colonizationists, therefore, looked for solutions to the problems they associated with slavery and emancipation in the largely masculine-domina ted realms of public politics and political economy.

The defining features of colonizationists' activism evoked attributes of masculine action in a republic; yet the political bent of the movement was only one part of the gendered construction of colonization reform. The discourse surrounding colonization also exploited explicit gender imagery, especially conceptions of masculinity, in an effort to justify the removal of African Americans as the solution to the diverse problems produced by slavery. Colonizationists appropriated what they perceived to be the lessons of history, nature, and the Scriptures, and constructed a rationale for colonization that combined an internal unity of ideas enveloped in a flurry of contradictions and deceptions. In the process, colonizationists contributed to the development of a white discourse on race, sex, gender, and civilization that shaped the underpinnings of white supremacy and white male dominance for the remainder of the nineteenth century. [18]

Colonizationists frequently expressed the notion that the history and character of man demonstrated that he was naturally a colonizer. Although they sometimes employed the universal "man" of humanity, more frequently these reformers placed "man" as a masculine being at the center of their discourse. While some men "talk of colonization as a new idea," Episcopal rector Stephen Tyng reminded a meeting of Philadelphia's young men's society, "the whole history of man is a scheme of colonization.... [It] furnished our own existence as a Christian people, and as a nation of the earth." Other spokesmen invoked biblical narratives to confirm this point. Noah, Moses, and the nation of Israel confirmed men's desire for conquest throughout human history. (Elliott Cresson even told the Massachusetts Legislature that Moses was president of the first colonization society.) [19] Hence, these reformers depicted colonizing not only as the natural and instinctive desire of men, but also as one of the highest expressions of hu man development. Other spokesmen invoked America's history as validating their view of conquest and settlement as masculine characteristics, and as a triumph of their Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Colonizationists voiced continual veneration for the earliest white European settlers in North America. One society counseled their supporters, when opponents challenged their actions, to think of one's "own pious ancestors" who courageously colonized this continent. But just as history confirmed this universal masculine trait for them, antebellum colonization reformers also imagined colonization within the context of a geographically and socially mobile society that they wished to encourage in the United States. Colonization could be synonymous with migration, and nothing was considered more manly in this era than westward migration, unless, of course, it was entrepreneurial "colonizing" in a market economy. As a writer for the Colonization Herald stated:

Eager for wealth, men will brave any dangers, and settle down in any place, if they may but increase their worldly store. They go still further, and make the ocean a home, and leave the rolling billows a patrimony to their children, for the purposes of pleasure or of profit.

By the antebellum decades, westward migration had become a symbol of manly courage and adventure. It also produced continual conflicts between white men and women over the frequency of such moves and the toll they took on personal and familial relationships. Colonization supporters exploited these notions of manly migration and entrepreneurial industry when defending their cause, thereby connecting manliness with their particular brand of activism. [20]

The irony here is that white colonizationists were not the colonizers in this scheme; at best they colonized vicariously. The true colonizers were African Americans, a fact that often became blurred within white colonization discourse. Although white colonizationists liked to connect their reform activism to the heroic manliness of colonizers past and present, in reality, they raised money, petitioned legislatures, and criticized abolitionists, while former slaves and free blacks courageously colonized another continent. According to this white discourse, the power of colonizing as a sign of civilization meant that emigrating to Africa would eventually make men out of African American men. White colonizationists exclusively referred to black colonists as generically male, despite the fact that women emigrated in substantial numbers to various colonial settlements in Liberia. A parallel set of ideas--that emigrating would make a "true woman" our of African American women--never appeared within colonization re cords. [21] This is especially striking since domesticity and motherhood comprised such a ubiquitous feature of empire-building schemes in the nineteenth century. [22]

Colonization publications returned again and again to this set of ideas about race, colonization, and gender. They started with the foundational premise that slavery had emasculated African American men, that black men had been debased below the level of manhood and could not possibly be elevated any higher while surrounded by white prejudice. "So [it is] with the coloured man," Rev. Spencer Cone declared before the New York City Colonization Society in 1836, "you might set him up in business; he might prove honest and upright, and might even grow rich; but if he should acquire the wealth of Stephen Girard, he would still remain a separate and degraded being." As General Robert Harper stated in the first annual report of the American Colonization Society: "You may manumit the slave, but you cannot make him a white man; he still remains a negro or a mulatto." Without ever calling it a miracle, colonizationists maintained that this same former slave could be miraculously transformed into a man by migrating to and colonizing Africa. Once transported to new and prejudice-free surroundings in Africa, the African Repository declared, "they are excited by new motives ... stimulated to industry and enterprise by prospects of the noblest and richest rewards, and made to cherish the manly and mighty spirit of an independent and self-governed people." To remove him "to the land of his fathers," Cone concluded, "would present the man [as] an entirely new being." Black opponents scoffed at this contradiction, stating: "Here we are ignorant, idle, a nuisance, and a drawback on the resources of the country. But as abandoned as we are, in Africa we shall civilize and christianize all that heathen country." [23] So common was this motif of miraculous transformation that even the most virulently racist supporters of colonization, such as the anonymous author of Freeman Awake!, resorted to it. After querying, "Why should the brave, honest hearted and generous Indian be driven from his home, and the deceitful and designing nigger b e permitted to remain among us?," the author declared in the very next sentence: "The sooner the coast of Africa is planted with colonies of enlightened American Negroes, the sooner will that cursed traffic in negro slavery be wholly abolished." Upon emigrating to Africa, they suddenly became "enlightened American Negroes," but remained the "deceitful and designing nigger" when residing in America. [24]

The converse of this logic impelled colonizationists to question the manliness of those who refused to emigrate to Africa. Perhaps the best example of this reasoning appeared in the Maryland Colonization Journal in 1839. In a likely embellished account, a free black man entered the colonization society offices to declare his intent to emigrate to Africa. The journal recorded the visitors description of his mounting economic difficulties: "Germans come, Irish come, and if any thing, it's harder for me to get on every year. I have a notion that IF I GO TO THE COLONY IT WILL BE MAKING A MAN OF ME." This episode is less an accurate appraisal of black sentiments about colonization than it is revealing evidence of the interrelationship between race and gender in white colonizationist thought. Contrasting this man to those who chose to stay behind, the journal then commented: "He is worthy to be a freeman in fact, as well as in name; they are not.... He has enterprise, judgment and courage, while "they are blinded by ignorance, prejudgment, or evil purposes." The implications are nor hard to miss. The only black man who could be considered by colonizationists as intelligent, enterprising, courageous--in other words, a true man--was one who recognized that he could not live among white people and chose to go to Africa. All others were mired in ignorance, prejudice, or under the influence of evil forces. It became a common refrain of colonizationists to defame the manliness of those who refused to emigrate, or who opposed the colonization society. In language filled with white, middle-class markers of manliness, Philadelphia's Young Men's Colonization Society criticized the lack of manly desire and character among free blacks who "prefer inglorious ease and indolence, to the self-denial and courageous adventure of emigration in search of hardy independence." By racializing such notions as self-denial, courage, adventure, and independence--making them the defining features of white, middle-class manliness and thereby conf lating whiteness and manhood--colonizationist rhetoric illustrates how inseparable race and gender were in nineteenth-century white discourses on the problem of slavery and its solutions. Perhaps this contributed to the appeal of the colonization movement for the Northern white men who overwhelmingly dominated it--that it debased the manhood of black men while also vicariously enhancing the manliness of white colonizationist reformers. [25] It certainly explains why Northern black men, as we will soon see, objected to the colonization scheme as an assault on their own manhood.

A corollary to this notion of an essentially masculine desire to colonize emerged in the striking gender and sexual imagery employed in colonizationists' portrayals of Africa. In contrast to abolitionists, colonizationists rarely wrote or spoke about the conditions of slavery in the South; but on the topic of Africa, they were effusive. First and foremost, white colonizationists' depictions of Africa were shaped by a set of ideas about the dichotomy between civilization and savagery, ubiquitous in descriptions of human development and racial "others" since the eighteenth century. [26]

At the same time, American colonizationists commonly represented Africa as a woman, and African colonists in terms of aggressive male sexuality. This imagery appears from the earliest colonization literature through the entire antebellum era. Rev. Robert Finley of New Jersey, a founder of the colonization society, portrayed Africa as both a woman and a mother. Her bosom, he stated, "begins to warm with hope and her heart to beat with expectation and desire" for the arrival of African colonists. Colonizationists used only feminine pronouns when describing the continent, depicting Africa's interior as not sterile but "rich and fertile," whose "rivers are deep enough and long enough to bear freights of empires on their bosom." Colonizationists also explicitly depicted Africa as the object of masculine sexual conquest. As colonizing was associated with masculine prowess, so the object of that desire became a sexualized woman. In Alexander McGill's words, a "curious and restless and excited gaze" had been fixed u pon Africa by those desiring to colonize "her," just as America had been the object of similar desires three centuries before. It was an inevitable feature of masculine conquest, implied McGill: "Shall the instincts of humanity be powerless, because it is an old world that is now thrown open to enlightened men? Shall the migratory impulse of manly souls be repressed, because a mother, instead of a daughter, pleads ... for one race alone to return.... " Other colonization sources referred repeatedly to the need for colonists "to penetrate into the interior" and spread the seed of civilization in West Africa. Yet Africa was also the "poor mother of slaves" who was "panting for the return of her absent sons and daughters." These statements evoked the dual mythical imagery of African American women slaves that Deborah Gray White has exposed--both Jezebel and Mammy. This is not surprising considering the persistent sexualization of African Americans, especially women, in white discussions of slavery. [27]

White colonizationists, then, exploited sexual imaginings of male power that have underpinned colonial enterprises in other places and times. For example, a similarly sexualized literature of colonialism developed by the late nineteenth century, especially in the fantasy fiction of Rider Haggard. In these male adventure quests where "British boys could become men," the "penetration of Africa" constituted one of the central images in this imperialist fiction, and white women were generally absent from those plots. As one scholar has recently noted, "the categories of colonizer and colonized" have frequently been "secured through notions of racial difference constructed in gender terms," as notions of virility were expressed through images of both emasculation and hypersexuality. [28] But while white colonizationists foreshadowed later imperialist discourses, their statements also conformed to the many instances wherein antebellum social and political conflict, particularly surrounding the realm of reformers, had become sexualized. [29]


With this sexual imagery so prevalent in the discourse surrounding colonization, it is not surprising that supporters of the movement often let slip their own fears of social and sexual contact between white and black Americans, which they merged under the label of "amalgamation." [30] Although colonization publications did not abound with alarmist rhetoric about sex or marriage between black and white Americans, the amalgamation argument still underpinned nearly every pronouncement of the necessity of separating the two races. Colonization polemics in the 1830s fell back on some reference to amalgamation whenever their defenses of the plan reached an end. The specter of amalgamation served, in part, as a convenient strategy for raising alarm among racist whites about the consequences arising from abolitionist plans for immediate emancipation. Colonizationists were not averse to exploiting those fears, and their use of amalgamation arguments certainly escalated following the advent of the immediate abolition movement. Perhaps the most inflammatory of these expressions appeared in the anonymously authored Freemen Awake!, which denounced abolitionists as "nigger hearted amalgamation traitors." [31]

Yet "amalgamation" functioned as more than just a convenient device for terror. [32] Ultimately amalgamation rhetoric represented an interrelated pattern of ideas about race and politics that exploited sex and gender as a strategy to deny political equality and ensure racial dominance through violence. Northern male black activists understood the colonization scheme as part of the same developments that denied them political freedom and suffrage. Since the rights of political participation and citizenship consistently marked manliness in the American republic, they also logically considered their political exclusion as an assault on their own manhood. The first black national convention in 1830 lodged their attack against colonization "as citizens and men," reminding their audience that "many of our fathers, and some of us, have fought and bled for the liberty, independence, and peace which you now enjoy." [33] When Pennsylvania's Constitution was revised in 1838 to disfranchise free black men in the name of expanding white manhood suffrage, young black male reformers leapt forward to challenge it. Petitions, public meetings, and conventions, however, failed to reverse the political exclusion of free African Americans. Black activists again invoked the language of manhood and citizenship in their protests and appeals. Black abolitionists helped publish and distribute Robert Purvis's Appeal of Forty

Thousand Citizens (1838), challenging white voters to reconsider disfranchisement. The Appeal forcefully stated that when one class of citizens "are wholly, and for ever, disfranchised and excluded" because of their skin color, then they "have lost their check upon oppression... [and] their panoply of manhood," having been "thrown upon the mercy of a despotic majority." John C. Bowers was one of many black activists who saw a familiar and sinister enemy behind disfranchisement, declaring: "If we look minutely, we shall discover the demon of Colonization busy at work." Nearly every protest against disfranchisement called for black men to exert a unified and "manly" resolve against both colonization and political exclusion as two sides of the same evil coin. Both threatened their identity as "citizens and men." [34]

Northern black men knew they had to fashion a competing vision of manhood to counter the vision of masculinity espoused by white colonizationists. Black activists correctly perceived the conflation of sex, black manhood, and political rights that reared its head in racist anti-abolitionist publications like Freeman Awake!, whose author declared:

And who are the instigators of this demand of 40,000 negroes? Are they not men, ay! the very men who would take from a poor white female and give to a big buck nigger, and who would not take up arms in defense of the country that feeds them? And for the sake of the country and future posterity, COLONIZE the niggers! colonize them! Southern men! Look to your rights! and ... discountenance these hot-brained, squash-headed, pumpkin-hearted male and female amalgamation fanatics.

This pamphlet constituted an extreme example of white colonization thought, and hardly typified the public rhetoric adopted by most white colonizationists in the North. Still, "amalgamation" threats (subtle or blatant) represented a sexualization of politics designed to maintain political and social inequality. [35]

Despite the cacophony of white voices expressing multifarious motives for colonization (from missionary zeal to racist fears), most African Americans in the North heard only the same tune--separation, removal, and segregation of blacks from white American society. Colonization hardly seemed more "benevolent" than the treatment blacks received in legislative assemblies or in the streets. In 1829, the Pennsylvania Legislature resolved that removing free blacks was in "the best interests of our country," and then proceeded to endorse the American Colonization Society. Following Nat Turner's uprising in 1831, the legislature restricted the entry of free blacks into the state, and repealed fugitive slave laws from the 1820s that had protected blacks from being kidnapped and sold back into slavery in the South. [36] Northern free blacks knew firsthand that white fears of immediate abolition (and amalgamation) could easily erupt into violence. Northern cities like Philadelphia and New York witnessed recurring anti- abolitionist and race rioting during the 1830s and 1840s. For three consecutive nights in August 1834, anti-black rioters demolished a free black neighborhood, destroying two churches and numerous private dwellings in Philadelphia's outlying district of Moyamensing. African Americans feared for their own lives and for the continued existence of the free black community. [37]

A symbiotic relationship existed between colonization reformers and anti-black and anti-abolitionist violence that took place in northern cities like Philadelphia. Colonization reformers were not directly responsible for the riots, and no colonization activist was known to have engaged in rioting in Philadelphia. Colonizationists did, however, directly benefit from public perceptions of abolitionists as agitators, since they could then present themselves as the proponents of an alternative strategy of moderation, while offering to remove the free black population. Moreover, colonization spokesmen encouraged a climate wherein mobs developed. Virulent colonizationists such as the author of Freemen Awake!, as well as more moderate voices like Calvin Colton and Frederick Freeman, played on white racial fears in their speeches and writings. They cleverly reminded their audiences of the supposed prevalence of vice and crime among blacks, and accused abolitionists of promoting amalgamation. [38] Unless slaves were removed from society after emancipation, they suggested, the only alternatives were race war or race-mixing. In perhaps the greatest irony associated with the cause, colonizationists at once fanned the flames of white prejudices, while at the same time throwing up their hands in frustration that this racism was unalterable. [39]

This climate of racial fear surfaced in the most famous anti-abolitionist riot in Philadelphia--the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in May 1838. Abolitionists constructed Pennsylvania Hall to provide themselves with a meeting place and a headquarters within the city. The building opened during the usual evangelical anniversary week meetings in May 1838, as national abolitionist leaders, including William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Weld and Angelina Grimke Weld (who married on the day Pennsylvania Hall opened), Maria Weston Chapman and Abby Kelley, arrived to participate in four days of antislavery meetings. The building was destroyed by a white mob before the week was over. On the third evening, May 16, as abolitionists--men and women, black and white--gathered to hear speeches by Angelina Grimke Weld and Abby Kelley, rioters disrupted the proceedings by hurling stones through the windows. The meeting was disbanded, and white abolitionist women were seen (or allegedly seen) escorted from the hall on the arms of b lack abolitionist men. The next day a crowd began surrounding the hall until as many as three thousand persons assembled outside. City authorities refused to restrain the rioters. "It is public opinion makes mobs!" Mayor Swift stated, "and ninety-nine out of a hundred of those with whom I converse are against you." By morning all that remained were the charred walls and foundation of Pennsylvania Hall. The next evening rioters set fire to the Friends Home for Colored Orphans, stopped just short of completely destroying two black churches, while Garrison was secretly transported out of Philadelphia via the underground railroad. [40]

The riots were sparked by fears of amalgamation that colonizationists and proslavery advocates alike had fueled. There was plenty of talk on the streets that day about the abolitionists' bending of gender and racial mores. A. J. Pleasonton recorded in his diary that he expected "some terrible outbreak of popular indignation" to occur in response to "the disgusting habits of indiscriminate intercourse between whites and blacks so repugnant to all the prejudices of our education," which abolitionists "not only recommended, but are in the habit of practising in this very Abolition Hall." White Philadelphians had tolerated racially mixed antislavery associations before; yet now white women were addressing "promiscuous audiences" and socializing with black men in public. Indeed, the official police report excused the violence because it had been provoked by agitators who advocated a mixing of the races. How else could Philadelphia residents respond, the report concluded, when confronted by practices "subversive o f the established orders of society," such as "the unusual union of black and white walking arm in arm in social intercourse." The Grand Jury of Philadelphia exonerated the rioters of all misconduct, placing the blame on the abolitionists for the violence that ensued. After all, the Grand Jury argued, abolitionists had brought individuals "into close and familiar intercourse, whom long habits, and a well ascertained and established sense of propriety, had invariably kept asunder." The foreman of the Grand Jury was none other than the indefatigable colonizationist Elliott Cresson. Nearly a decade later, a derisive broadside entitled "Abolition Hall" echoed the same gender and racial ideology, especially fears of interracial sex, that inspired the rioters. The lithograph depicted Pennsylvania Hall with abolitionist women hanging out of the widows as if from a brothel, while black and white couples strolled around the building with their multi-colored offspring. [41]

Such a shock was the riot to Philadelphia abolitionists that they never recovered the momentum they had gained throughout the 1830s. Two weeks after the burning of Pennsylvania Hall, the American Colonization Society held the largest colonization meeting ever reported in Philadelphia. Before the summer was over, Philadelphia's evangelical abolitionists had separated from the Garrisonians in the Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society and formed another organization called the Church Union Anti-Slavery Society. Churches throughout the city refused access to their buildings for fear of conflagration, leaving abolitionists with no public space to organize their meetings. [42]


Race riots marked just the tip of an iceberg of racial violence and ubiquitous denials of social and political equality for free blacks in the North, forcing many African Americans with each passing decade to debate the possibilities and liabilities of creating their own homeland outside of the United States. As expected, Northern free blacks did not speak with one voice on either the colonization of Africa or emigration elsewhere in the Americas. And yet a gendered discourse still governed the controversy surrounding these plans. A nuanced gender history must, then, account for divergent convictions that allowed some free blacks to support white-sponsored colonization plans in Liberia, while others favored independent black-initiated proposals for emigration, and still others opposed any efforts to abandon their native home in the United States. Comparing these diverse responses exposes the complex intersection of race and gender among all Northern anti-slavery voices (black and white), and demonstrates the ways in which free blacks were constrained by, and yet subverted, the gendered discourses surrounding colonization. It would be incorrect to characterize free African Americans as simply responding to dominant white conceptions of gender and race; rather, they created their own creolized interpretation of the meaning of manhood and womanhood within strategies for black nationalism, citizenship rights, and communal and individual survival. Competing languages of masculinity remained at the center of how Northern black men interpreted colonization and emigration schemes. [43]

Many free blacks found their position on the question of emigration repeatedly changing as the conditions of their daily lives (and their hopes and fears about social and political equality) shifted in the winds of white racial policies. Although an overwhelming majority expressed nothing but disdain for the American Colonization Society, a handful of African Americans did embrace the colonization plan. The voices of Philadelphia's earliest black colonists might easily be missed amid the loud cries of their opponents. Perhaps some of them shared the feelings of a Philadelphia colonist who wrote to the American Colonization Society in 1847: "for my part I am ready to go this moment, for I am convinced of the place and of its value [to] the colored race, and by our industry it may be in time as richly covered with cities, farms, and commerce as the great United States of America, which 300 years ago was a wilderness." Sixty men, women, and children from Philadelphia emigrated to Liberia on the colonization soc iety's first four voyages between 1820 and 1823, roughly one-third of the initial emigrants. [44]

These black colonists often voiced similar descriptions of manliness and colonizing that had been so common within white colonizationist discourse. Augustus Washington, a New England free man, not only boasted of Liberia as free blacks' ideal home "for the development of their manhood and intellect," but also spoke of the African continent "on whose bosom reposes in exuberance and wild extravagance all the fruits of ... a tropical clime." He even harkened back to the history of Plymouth Rock and Jamestown to connect African colonizing with manly independence. [45] Black colonists almost universally conceded the idea that racial prejudice was so unalterable in America that Africa offered a place of true freedom and manhood. John Russwurm, co-founder and co-editor of Freedom's Journal, the first black newspaper in the United States, stated prior to his emigration in 1829 that every man of color, "if he have the feelings of a man," ought to be aware "of the degraded station he holds in society, and from which i t is impossible to rise." Baptist missionary Lott Cary, a former slave from Virginia and one of the earliest colonists in Liberia, reportedly stated, "I am an African, and in this country, however meritorious my conduct and respectable my character, I cannot receive the credit due to either. I wish to go to a country where I shall be estimated by my merits, not by my complexion." By the 1850s, these same sentiments led Martin Delany to long for a time when the people of color in America would be "a migratory people," and the day when their children might "maintain that position and manly bearing" that stems from freedom and independence." [46]

What support existed among Northern blacks for colonization in Liberia quickly waned. News of horrendous mortality rates awaiting Liberian colonists contributed mightily to this declining interest. Only twenty-one of those sixty Philadelphia colonists were still alive and residing in Liberia by 1831. Vast numbers died of malaria and other fevers soon after arriving, and high death rates continued for decades. When "A Colored Philadelphian" wrote to The Liberator that the colonization society was busy trying to ship free persons of color off to their almost certain deaths, there was more truth than exaggeration in his words. Although over 4,500 African Americans left for Liberia between 1820 and 1843, a national census in that latter year revealed a population of just over 2,000. [47]

The impulse to seek real freedom outside the United States, however, was never far from the minds of some Northern blacks. White schemes of removal always provoked widespread suspicion and contempt; but plans for emigration that originated from African Americans met with eager if cautious consideration. More than any other event, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1851 convinced many Northern blacks that emigration offered perhaps the only hope for a safe and self-governing community. The same policies that made white colonizationists cry out that African Americans would never be accepted as equals in white society worked as a relentless force propelling some Northern free blacks to begin searching for an independent homeland outside of the oppressive reach of white Americans' racism and laws. Proposals for black emigration multiplied throughout the 1850s, even leading to the organization of a National Emigration Convention in Cleveland in 1854.

To maintain their consistency black emigrationists had to walk a fine line between unflinching hostility toward white colonization societies and an openness toward proposals for black independence and national autonomy. As such, black emigrationists exploited both the masculine colonizing discourse and the manly opposition to white prejudice that marked the opposing sides of this debate. H. Ford Douglass of Illinois evinced how black emigrationists exploited that masculine rhetoric for their own purposes. In a speech before the National Emigration Convention in 1854, Douglass proclaimed: "I can hate this government without being disloyal, because it has stricken down my manhood, and treated me as a saleable commodity." But he also rejoined: "Is not the history of the world, the history of emigration? ... Let us then be up and doing. To stand still is to stagnate and die." [48]


That white colonizarionist men fashioned a reform where public politics would supersede moral suasion, and enveloped it in a discourse that inscribed racial difference in explicitly sexualized and gendered ways, helps unravel the puzzle of why white women's activism was so remarkably limited in the antebellum colonization movement. Certainly, the conservatism of the men and women who gravitated toward colonization societies (many of them from Calvinist and evangelical backgrounds) contributed to their timidity in challenging gender conventions, especially compared with other reformers. Fears of race mixing, and supposedly improper social intercourse, also might explain why white women were reluctant to join a reform movement whose indirect goal was to bolster the true manliness of black men.

When white women did become actively involved in colonization, they restricted their reforming efforts to establishing schools for children in the African colonies. In 1832, Philadelphia women established the Ladies Liberia School Association to support several schools established by white emissaries but taught by African American colonists in Liberia. The managers of the Ladies Liberia Association included a smattering of Presbyterian, Quaker, Methodist, and Episcopal women, several of whom were the wives and daughters of leading male colonizationists in Philadelphia. At least a quarter of them worked as officers or managers within at least one other religious benevolent society, including the treasurer of the association, Anna R. (Grimke) Frost, who was Angelina and Sarah Grimke's colonizationist sister. Women colonizationists were given little freedom or autonomy to push beyond this restrictive definition of benevolent activism. The Ladies Liberia School Association did not even run their own meetings. Wh en they met for an annual gathering, it was white men (ministers and male colonizationist activists) who called the meeting to order, read the women's annual report, and gave the speeches and sermons to the audience. [49] By contrast, other reforming women had been running their own meetings, writing their own reports, and shaping their policies since the earliest women's benevolent societies were founded in Northern cities in the 1790s. [50]

Eventually the Ladies Liberia Association became a model for other Northern women's colonization efforts during the 1830s and 1840s. Catharine Beecher endorsed Philadelphia's Ladies Association in her assault on the indecorous activism of women abolitionists in general, and the Grimke sisters in particular. Beecher organized a women's colonization society in Cincinnati to parallel and assist the Philadelphia association's efforts "to promote education and religion in Africa." This type of women's benevolent activism--its child-centered focus, emphasizing the "benign influence" of womanly benevolence in contrast to the political power that allegedly "unsexed" abolitionist women--placed women s colonization activism within the conservative framework of a newly developed gendered understanding of women and benevolence that had emerged by the 1830s. A language of "female influence," offering a more passive, domestic, and less overtly politicized notion of women's activism, soon eclipsed previous emphases on civi c virtue. Colonization women seemed eager to embrace this definition of women's benevolence. For Beecher, it marked "the just bounds of female influence" and signaled the differences between true womanliness on the one hand and the gender transgressions of abolitionist women on the other. As Beecher argued in her Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism with Reference to the Duty of American Females (1837), women should restrict their activism to those "peaceful and benevolent principles" found only in "the domestic and social circle." Once a woman "begins to feel the promptings of ambition, or the thirst for power," Beecher insisted, abolitionism leads her "into the arena of political collision," assuming the "attitude of a combatant," and "throws her out of her appropriate sphere." Beecher repeatedly invoked this pugilistic metaphor ("combatants"), which could easily have connoted the antebellum "manly arts" of boxing and politics, both of which constituted male-exclusive arenas of public life. [51]

The choice by women's colonization societies to concentrate their efforts on children and schooling, rather than toward adult black men, illustrates the gender conventions that shaped the variant responses to slavery among Northern reformers, and highlights the divergence between colonizationist and abolitionist women. Since colonization was ideologically constituted as a process in which white men benevolently helped to create a new masculine identity for African American men, many white women found it hard to sympathize or identify with men's colonizing adventures. In many ways, white women colonizationists' outlook marks the inverse of the identification that abolitionist women claimed with slaves, and especially slave women. White women could not identify in their own experiences with colonizers and emigrants in the same way that white abolitionist women insisted that their own experiences as women mirrored the enslavement of African Americans.

Thus we can begin to see the new insights that a gendered study of colonization can provide for historians of antebellum abolitionism. First, white abolitionists (especially women abolitionists) employed a markedly different gender discourse regarding race and slavery from their colonization counterparts. While colonizationists wrote rarely about slavery and mostly about Africa, Northern abolitionists wrote profusely about the conditions of slaves in their polemics, sermons, and fiction. Like so many others in the antebellum North, white abolitionists were influenced by and contributed to a discourse that conflated racial and gender differences. In order to demonstrate their elevated (unprejudiced) view of African Americans, white abolitionists projected a gendered conception of difference. Their imagery of African Americans tended to depict the slave as universally feminized. The slave was more spiritual, more religious, more forgiving than white American men; in fact, these descriptions matched the common imagery depicting white middle-class women at that time. In other words, black slaves (male or female) were like women (or feminized men such as Stowe's Uncle Tom), enhancing the appeal of the abolitionist cause for some Northern white women. White women abolitionists came to see their own oppression mirrored in the experiences of all slaves--a sentiment for which women favorable to the colonization cause could find no parallel. [52]

Second, a gendered interpretation of colonization adds a new layer of understanding to the controversy provoked by the political actions of women abolitionists. By constituting the solutions to slavery as political, national, and masculine, colonization reformers inadvertently assisted in creating a climate which by definition radicalized women's antislavery activism as an affront to a male-dominated public sphere. If solutions to slavery and racial equality had been debated as local problems that could be resolved by educating slaves or free blacks and converting white minds from racial prejudice, then women s antislavery actions would not likely have differed from the myriad other female benevolent endeavors in the antebellum years. But since antislavery reform involved petitioning Congress, as well as writing and speaking to mixed audiences on national and international stages, when women embraced this activism as their own, it became by definition a challenge to male authority. The reaction that antislav ery women like Angelina and Sarah Grimke and Abby Kelley received from white men within the evangelical culture of reform indicated that they saw these women's actions as a threat to the masculine domain in which solutions to slavery were deliberated.

Finally, in contrast to white women colonizationists, African American women played a more active role in black emigration plans. Recall that black men framed their opposition to colonization within a set of ideas about manhood, citizenship, and political participation. This tended to marginalize black women, who were already made invisible within white colonization discourses. But a few Northern black women found emigration plans more liberating than anti-colonization protests. Over thirty percent of the delegates to the National Emigration Convention in 1854 were black women. One woman was chosen as vice president, four were elected to serve on the finance committee, and women played an active role in crafting the resolutions drafted by the convention. [53] African American women emigrationists have been overshadowed by their prominent male counterparts, especially Martin Delany, Henry Highland Garnet, and Henry Bibb. Mary Ann Shadd, however, is an exception. As a school teacher and then a newspaper editor , Shadd readily assumed a prominent leadership role among emigrationists after migrating to Canada following passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Her position as editor of the Provincial Freeman was unmatched by any other black women activist in the United States. Her determination to oppose racial separation and advocate that all institutions be comprised of both white and black members immediately placed her in conflict with other Canadian emigrants, especially Henry and Mary Bibb, who ran a school and newspaper in a nearby town. The motto of her newspaper--"Self-Reliance Is the Fine Road to Independence"--highlighted the way Shadd subverted the gendered (masculine) conception of "independence" that reigned in antebellum America by asserting her independence in her own livelihood as well as in her political convictions. She steadfastly defended her views that Canada was a superior location to Africa or Central America for black emigration, and that the best hope for free blacks was to integrate into white Can adian society rather than to establish separate communities and institutions. Shadd's independent career and autonomous political convictions as North America's first black woman newspaper editor subverted prevailing gender conventions in as radical a manner as any white women abolitionists. By exploiting the boundaries of this gendered discourse, black emigrationists opened a door for wider participation by black women activists. [54]

Colonization efforts offer a revealing mirror not only into religious benevolence and the debate over the solution to the problem of slavery, but also into the development of racialist thinking among the vast numbers of Northern white reformers who did not embrace abolitionism. When William Lloyd Garrison leveled his critique against colonization as "a libel upon humanity and justice-- a libel upon republicanism--a libel upon the Declaration of Independence," he also felt compelled to accuse colonizationists of "cherishing the most unmanly and unchristian prejudices." [55] Battles between abolitionists and colonizationists were expressed in a tangled web of gendered meanings and contests. The rhetoric and actions of colonizationists expose the complexity and contradictions embedded in white American thinking about race, reform, and gender in the antebellum years. At the same time, black emigration plans highlight the complex and various ways African Americans created their own gendered politics of race and c itizenship. A narrative of gender, slavery, and the opposition to slavery demands that historians look beyond (as well as deeper into) the relationship between white women and abolitionism, and begin the more difficult task of exploring the larger gendered foundation sustaining the antebellum antislavery debates.

Joseph Blake's misfortune, with which this essay began, evokes even greater meaning in light of a white discourse that viewed colonizing as sexual conquest. His disillusionment festered from the failed promise of independent manhood via colonization. Blake encountered instead an eerily similar experience of sexual exploitation, economic dependence, and denial of justice or political power that slaves and free blacks in America knew all too well. Perhaps, Blake would have come to embrace--along with the great majority of Northern free blacks--the gendered language of the abolitionist song from the 1850s, "Old Liberia is not the Place for Me":

You say "it is a goodly land,

Where milk and honey flow;

And every Jack will be a man

Who there may choose to go."

You say that "God appointed there

The black man's destiny;"

Yet old Liberia

Is not the place for me.

* * *

I deem this as my native land,

I have a mind to be a man

and here I'm bound to stay.

Among white men and free;


Is not the place for me!! [56]

Department of History

Swarthmore, PA 19081


Earlier versions of this essay were presented to the annual meetings of the American Studies Association, the British Association for American Studies, and to the seminars of the Princeton Center for the Study of American Religion, the Philadelphia Center for Early American Studies, and the Black Atlantic Project at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. The author would like to thank the participants in those forums for their helpful comments. He would also especially like to thank Martha Hodes, Woody Register, and Timothy Burke for their invaluable assistance and advice.

(1.) Joseph Blake to R. R. Gurley, A.C.S., March 9, and May 13, 1835, American Colonization Society Papers, Library of Congress, Reel 153. Blake never received the redress he petitioned for, and left Liberia for Sierra Leone in 1837. "Roll of Emigrants That Have Been Sent to the Colony of Liberia, Western Africa, by the American Colonization Society and Its Auxiliaries, to September 1843," U.S. Congress, Senate Documents, 28th Congress, 2nd Sess., 1844, IX, pp. 152, 156; Tom W. Shick, Behold the Promised Land: A History of Afro-American Settler Society in Nineteenth-Century Liberia (Baltimore, 1980), 38; James Wesley Smith, Sojourners in Search of Freedom: The Settlement of Liberia by Black Americans (Lanham, MD, 1987), ch. 7.

(2.) Perhaps no subject has received more attention from antebellum women's historians for the past thirty years than the connections between women's abolitionism and the origins of feminism and woman's rights. Still, general histories of antislavery continually fail to integrate women abolitionists, except to emphasize women as a problem ("the woman question" that produced an abolitionist schism), or to mention briefly the woman's rights movement. A thorough engagement with gender remains rare in surveys of abolitionism. With the exception of Herbert Aptheker, none of the general histories of abolitionism since 1984 (all written by men) engages the issues of women or gender aside from a passing reference to "woman's rights." Even the most recent survey of antebellum reform, Robert H. Abzug, Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination (New York, 1994) frames his final two chapters around the twin issues of the "Woman Question" and the struggle for woman's rights. No comprehensive work on g ender and colonization yet exists. On women abolitionists, see Alma Lutz, Crusade for Freedom: Women of the Antislavery Movement (Boston, 1968); Blanche Glassman Hersh, The Slavery of Sex: Feminist-Abolitionists in America (Urbana, 1978); Aileen S. Kraditor, Means and Ends in American Abolitionism (New York, 1967), chapter 3; Gerda Lerner, The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina (New York, 1967); Nancy A. Hewitt, Women's Activism and Social Change (Ithaca, 1984); Jean Fagan Yellin, Women and Sisters: The Antislavery Feminists in American Culture (New Haven, 1989); Jean Pagan Yellin and John Van Horne, eds., The Abolitionist Sisterhood: Women's Political Culture in Antebellum America (Ithaca, 1994); especially Nancy A. Hewitt, "On Their Own Terms: A Historiographical Essay," 23-30; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Touching Liberty: Abolitionism, Feminism, and the Politics of the Body (Berkeley, 1993); Julie Roy Jeffrey, The Great Silent Army of Abolitionism: Ordinary Women in the Antislavery Movement (Chapel Hill, 1998); and Shirley J. Yee, Black Women Abolitionists: A Study in Activism, 1828-1860 (Knoxville, TN, 1992).

(3.) See, for example, Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York, 1988); and the introduction along with Nancy Cott's essay, "Men's History and Women's History," in Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen, eds., Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of Masculinity in Victorian America (Chicago, 1990), 1-7, 205-11.

(4.) Gary B. Nash, Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840 (Cambridge, MA, 1988); Julie Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite: Activism, Accommodation, and the Struggle for Autonomy, 1787-1848 (Philadelphia, 1988).

(5.) Minutes of the Fourth Annual Convention, for the Improvement of the Free People of Colour, in the United States, ... 1834 (New York, 1834), 5, reprinted in Howard H. Bell, ed., Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions, 1830-1864 (New York, 1969); American Colonization Society, Third Annual Report (Washington, 1820), 3; African Repository 9 (Jul. 1833): 150; P. J. Staudenraus, The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865 (New York, 1961), 1-11; 120-21; The First Annual Report of the American Society for Colonizing the Free People of Colour of the United States (Washington, 1818), 1-3 (hereafter all citations will be given as American Colonization Society, Annual Report); African Repository 12 (Jul. 1836): 207; 9 (May. 1833): 95; 9 (Jul. 1833): 159; 16 (Apr. 1840): 112; 16 (July 1840); 207; 13 (Jan. 1837): 33, 38; 12 (Jun. 1836): 186; Mathew Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society ... , 5th ed. (Philadelphia, 1832), 18-19.

(6.) Frederick Freeman, Yaradee; A Plea for Africa, In Familiar Conversations on the Subject of Slavery and Colonization 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, 1837), 175-76; Sarah Forten to Angelina Grimke, April 15, 1837, Letters of Theodore Dwight Wald, Angelina Grimke Weld and Sarah Grimke, 1822-1844, ed. Gilbert H. Barnes and Dwight L. Dumond (New York, 1934), 1:380; George M. Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914 (New York, 1971), 16-19.

(7.) Resolutions and Remonstrances of the People of Colour Against Colonization to the Coast of Africa (Philadelphia, 1818), 3-8; Louis R. Mehlinger, "The Attitude of the Free Negro Toward African Colonization," Journal of Negro History 1 (1916): 277-79; American Colonization Society, First Annual Report, 14-16; Augustus Washington, "Thoughts on the American Colonization Society," African Repository 27 (1851), reprinted in Wilson Jeremiah Moses, ed., Liberian Dreams: Back to Africa Narratives from the 1850s (University Park, PA, 1998), 195; The Liberator, Jan. 22, 1831, Mar. 12, 1831, Mar. 19, 1831; William L. Garrison, Thoughts on African Colonization (Boston, 1832), part II, 9-13; Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite, 27-47; Nash, Forging Freedom, 233-41.

(8.) Based on an analysis of the American Colonization Society's annual reports from 1817 to 1840, and colonization newspapers, such as the African Repository (Washington, D.C.), 1825--1840; the Colonization Herald (Philadelphia), 1835--1840, and The Colonizationist (Boston), 1833--34. I have been able to identify nineteen additional women's societies established between 1832 and 1840, but men's groups still heavily outnumbered them; for example, nearly six times as many new men's societies (33 to 6) were reported in the African Repository in 1833--34.

(9.) Lawrence J. Friedman, Gregarious Saints: Self and Community in American Abolitionism, 1830--1870 (Cambridge, 1982), 14--16.

(10.) Annual Reports of the American Society for the Colonizing of Free People of Colour of the United States, vol. 1--33 (Washington, 1818--1850; reprint ed., New York, 1969); Philip S. Foner, ed., The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, vol. 1 (New York, 1950), 390.

(11.) Staudenraus, The African Colonization Movement, 19--22, 34--36, 48--58, 169--87; National Intelligencer, Jan. 16, 1817; Colonization Herald 1 (Apr. 16, 1836): 103; 1 (Apr. 4, 1835): 1; 2 (Jan. 21, 1837): 174; 2 (Feb. 4,1837): 178; n.s. 1 (Mar. 1839): 120--25; African Repository 12 (May 1836): 152; American Colonization Society, Second Annual Report (Washington, 1819), 10--17; Third Annual Report (Washington, 1820), 11--14, 33, 37; Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society, 15, 17.

(12.) African Repository 9 (May. 1833): 95; 9 (Jun. 1833): 99; 9 (Jul. 1833): 159--60; 9 (Dec. 1833): 315; 12 (May 1836): 140; 14 (May 1838): 160; John H. Kennedy, Sympathy, Its Foundation and Legitimate Exercise Considered, in Special Relation to Africa: A Discourse Delivered on the Fourth of July 1828, in the Sixth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1828), 10; Foner, ed., Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, vol. 2, 189. For the exclusion of Northern free blacks from July 4th celebrations, see: Susan Davis, Parades and Power: Street Theatre in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1986), 38--48.

(13.) For contrasting views that suggest that the political arena was not exclusively male, see Elizabeth R. Varon, "Tippecanoe and the Ladies, Too: White Women and Party Politics in Antebellum Virginia," Journal of American History 82 (1995): 494--521; Varon. We Mean to be Counted: White Women & Politics in Antebellum Virginia (Chapel Hill, 1998); Mary P. Ryan, Women in Public: Between Banners and Ballots, 1825--1880 (Baltimore, 1990); Paula Baker, "The Domestication of Politics: Women and American Political Society, 1780--1920," American Historical Review 89 (1984): 620--47; Linda K. Kerber, "The Paradox of Women's Citizenship in the Early Republic: The Case of Martin v. Massachusetts, 1805," American Historical Review 97 (1992): 349--78. For the shift from moral suasion to political action, see Lori D. Ginzberg, "'Moral Suasion is Moral Balderdash': Women, Politics, and Social Activism in the 1850s," Journal of American History 73 (1986): 601--22.

(14.) This argument is developed in greater detail in my forthcoming book manuscript.

(15.) J. R. Tyson, A Discourse Before the Young Men's Colonization Society of Pennsylvania, Delivered October 24, 1834, in St. Paul's Church, Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1834), 8; Colonization Herald 1 (Apr. 18, 1835): 7; Kurt Lee Kocher, "A Duty to America and Africa: A History of the Independent African Colonization Movement in Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania History 51 (1984): 128--41; Elif Seifman, "The United Colonization Societies of New-York and Pennsylvania and the Establishment of the African Colony of Bassa Cove," Pennsylvania History 35 (1968): 37--44.

(16.) "Cresson," in Frank Willing Leach, Old Philadelphia Families in The North American (Philadelphia, 1907--1912), Historical Society of Pennsylvania [hereafter, HSP]; Joseph S. Hepburn, "The Life and Works of Elliott Cresson," Journal of the Franklin institute 281(1966); Kocher, "A Duty to America and Africa," 123--28; R. J. M. Blackett, Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement, 1830--1860 (Ithaca, 1983), 53--69; The Letters of William Lloyd Garrison, ed. Walter M. Merrill (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), 1:235--271.

(17.) American Colonization Society, Twelfth Annual Report (1829), vi; Bruce Dorsey, "City of Brotherly Love: Religious Benevolence, Gender, and Reform in Philadelphia, 1780--1844," (Ph.D. dissertation, Brown University, 1993), ch. 3.

(18.) For an example later in the century, see Gail Bederman, Manliness & Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender arid Race in the United States, 1880---1917 (Chicago, 1995).

(19.) Colonization Herald 1 (Apr. 4, 1835): 1--2; African Repository 12 (Jun. 1836): 185--86; 14 (Sep. 1838): 261; Colonization Herald n.s. 1 (Mar. 1839): 120--25

(20.) American Colonization Society, First Annual Report, 10; Colonization Herald 1 (Mar. 5, 1836): 89--90; 2 (Dec. 17, 1836): 166; James Oakes, The Ruling Race: A History of American Slaveholders (New York, 1982), 77--95; Joan E. Cashin, A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier (New York, 1991); Colonization Herald 1 (Apr. 4, 1835): 2.

(21.) "Roll of Emigrants That Have Been Sent to the Colony of Liberia, Western Africa, by the American Colonization Society and Its Auxiliaries, to September 1843," U.S. Congress, Senate Documents, 28th Congress, 2nd Sess., 1844, IX, pp. 152--299. African American women comprised over forty percent (43.5%) of the 508 adult emigrants sent by the American Colonization Society on its first fifteen voyages between 1820 and 1828.

(22.) The literature on empire and domesticity has burgeoned within the past decade, most prominently within the fields of literature and cultural studies. See or example, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, "Raising Empires like Children: Race, Nation, and Religious Education," American Literary History 8 (1996): 399--425; Amy Kaplan, "Manifest Domesticity," American Literature 70 (1998): 581--605; Vincente L. Rafael, "Colonial Domesticity: White Women and United States Rule in the Philippines," American Literature 67 (1995): 639--66; Lora Romero, "Vanishing Americans: Gender, Empire, and New Historicisim," in Shirley Samuels, ed., The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender and Sentimentality in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, 1992), 115--27; Rosemary Marangoly George, "Homes in the Empire, Empires in the Home," Cultural Critique 26 (Winter 1993--94): 95--127; Anna Davin, "Imperialism and Motherhood," History Workshop 5 (1978): 9--65; Anne McClintock, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Conquest (New York, 1995); and Karen Tranberg Hansen, ed., African Encounters with Domesticity (New Brunswick, 1992).

(23.) African Repository 12 (Jun. 1836): 185; American Colonization Society, First Annual Report, 15; African Repository 9 (Sep. 1833): 196--99; Minutes of the Fourth Annual Convention, for the Improvement of the Free People of Colour, 5; African Repository 14 (Sep. 1838): 255--62; Colonization Herald n.s. 1 (Jan. 1839): 27--28; The Colonizationist, Aug. 1833, 107. For other criticisms of the missionary objectives of the colonization society, see: Mrs. [Lydia Maria] Child, Anti-Slavery Catechism (Newburyport, MA, 1836), 28; William Lloyd Garrison, An Address Delivered Before the Free People of Color, in Philadelphia, New-York, and Other Cities, During the Month of June, 1831 (Boston, 1831), 22; Lott Cary to Rev. Dr. [William] Staughton, Mar. 13, 1821, cited in Adelaide Cromwell Hill and Martin Kilson, eds., Apropos of Africa (London, 1969), 81.

(24.) Freeman Awake! Would you sustain the Union; preserve order, tranquility and Christian feeling in your respective churches and congregations; and secure peace and happiness around your domestic firesides? ... (Philadelphia: n.p., 1832), 17. This inconsistency led British abolitionist Charles Stuart to wonder how free blacks could at one moment be "declared as a body, to be little better than devils in the United States," while at the next "be commuted, by mere transportation to Africa, into almost angels!" Charles Stuart, Remarks on the Colony of Liberia and the American Colonization Society ... (London, 1832), 7, cited in Blackett, Building an Antislavery Wall, 57.

(25.) Maryland Colonization Journal, reprinted in the Colonization Herald n.s. 1 (Jan. 1839): 15-16; Colonization Herald 1 (Apr, 4, 1835): 1; see also Tyson, Discourse Before the Young Men's Colonization Society. In another ironic twist in this argument, colonizationists commonly suggested that if African American emigrants proved their mettle, then both white colonizationists and black colonists would be crowned with laurels of success; but if the experiment failed, the blame rested solely on those emigrants who proved "idle, untoward, or vicious." In short, white colonizationists could claim the rewards of manly colonizing in which they only indirectly participated, but they exempted themselves from the failures that often accompanied such supposedly masculine adventures. Colonization Herald 1 (Jul. 4, 1835): 25.

(26.) Roy Harvey Pearce, Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind (Baltimore, 1965); George W. Stocking, Jr., Victorian Anthropology (New York, 1987); Bederman, Manliness and Civilization.

(27.) Isaac V. Brown, Memoirs of the Rev. Robert Finley, D.D. ... , 2nded. (New Brunswick, N.J., 1819), 39, 83-96, quoted in Staudenraus, African Colonization Movement, 21; Alexander T. McGill, The Hand of God with the Black Race. A Discourse Delivered before the Pennsylvania Colonization Society (Philadelphia, 1862), 11-12; American Colonization Society, First Annual Report, 21; Colonization Herald n.s. 1 (Apr. 1839): 159-60; "Circular of the Ladies Liberia School Association," Colonization Herald n.s. 1 (Jun. 1839): 266; The Colonizationist, May 1833, 42-43; Deborah Gray White, Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South (New York, 1985), chap. 1. Colonizationists seemed oblivious to the fact that Southern slavery was producing its own share of sorrowful mothers, forcing slave women to long for the return of their absent sons and daughters, and to fear even further separation of slave families if widespread expatriation to Africa was adopted. Northern colonizationists thus displaced their anti- slavery arguments toward a distant and gendered (feminine) continent, rather than toward the wrongs of Southern slaveholders. Black emigrationist Martin Delany insisted upon referring to Africa as the "fatherland"; perhaps Delany was responding to this white colonizationist discourse. Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA, 1993), 23-26.

(28.) Rebecca Stott, "The Dark Continent: Africa as Female Body in Haggard's Adventure Fiction," Feminist Review 32 (1989): 69-89; Patrick Brantlinger, Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914 (Ithaca, 1988), 190; Morton Cohen, Rider Haggard: His Life and Works (London, 1960); Ann Laura Stoler, "Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Gender, Race, and Morality in Colonial Asia," in Micaela di Leonardo, ed., Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era (Berkeley, 1991), 51-101. For other useful works, see Sander Gilman, "The Hottentot and the Prostitute: Toward and Iconography of Female Sexuality," in Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race, and Madness (Ithaca, 1985), 76-108; Edward Said, Orientalism (New York, 1978), 207; Winthrop D. Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Chapel Hill, 1968); and Richard C. Trexler, Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of th e Americas (Ithaca, 1995). A related but more problematic study is Annette Kolodny's The Lay of the Land (Chapel Hill, 1976).

(29.) David Brion Davis, "Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 47 (1960): 205-24; Charles Rosenberg in "Sexuality, Class and Role in Nineteenth-Century America," American Quarterly 35 (1973); Carroll Smith Rosenberg, "Sex as Symbol in Victorian Purity: An Ethnohistorical Analysis of Jacksonian America," American Journal of Sociology 84 (1984): supplement, 212-47; Smith Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York, 1985), 90-108; Norma Basch, "Marriage, Morals, and Politics in the Election of 1828," Journal of American History 80 (1993): 890-913.

(30.) Phrases such as "social intercourse," "intimate union," "social equality," and others became euphemisms for the concept of amalgamation. The term "miscegenation" was not coined until the Civil War years, when the Democrats invented the term as a political attack on Lincoln during the election of 1864, to raise fears regarding the Emancipation Proclamation. See Martha Hodes, "Miscegenation," Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, edited by Jack Salzman, et al. (New York, 1996), vol. 4, 813-15.

(31.) Freeman Awake!, 21; Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society, 12; Oliver Bolokitten, Esq. [pseud.], A Sojourn in the City of Amalgamation, in the Year of Our Lord 19--(New York, 1835); Lorman Ratner, Powder Keg: Northern Opposition to the Antislavery Movement (New York, 1968), 14, 24.

(32.) With the North's largest free black population, it was not unusual for sexual relationships between blacks and whites to appear in the records of Philadelphia's public agencies without provoking outrage or violence. See Guardians of the Poor, Committee on Bastardy, 1821-1825, Philadelphia City Archives; Guardians of the Poor, Alms House Hospital Register of Births, Lying-In Department, Philadelphia Alms House, 6 vols., vol. 1, 1808-1829; and the Public Ledger, 1836-60. In one of the earliest pro-colonization publications, Thomas Branagan declared that he had "seen more white women married to, and deluded through the arts of seduction by negroes in one year in Philadelphia," than for the eight years he travelled in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and the South. Thomas Branagan, Serious Remonstrances Addressed to the Citizens of the Northern States and Their Representatives (Philadelphia, 1805), 73.

(33.) Minutes and Proceedings of the First Annual Convention of the People of Color (Philadelphia, 1831), 15, reprinted in Bell, Minutes of the Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions.

(34.) [Robert Purvis,] Appeal of Forty Thousand Citizens, Threatened with Disfranchisement, to the People of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1838), reprinted in Herbert Aptheker, ed., A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States, vol. 1 (New York, 1951), 176-86; Colored American, January 27, 1838; January 30,1841; May 8, 1841; Pennsylvania Freeman, March 22, 1838; National Enquirer, March 1, 1838; Liberator, April 14, 1832; Leon F. Litwack, North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860 (Chicago, 1961), 22; Edward Price, "The Black Voting Rights Issue in Pennsylvania, 1780-1900," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 100 (1976): 356-73; David McBride, "Black Protest Against Racial Politics: Gardiner, Hinton and Their Memorial of 1838," Pennsylvania History 46 (1979): 149-62.

(35.) Freeman Awake!, 11, 23. For a parallel development in the Reconstruction South, see Martha Hodes, "The Sexualization of Reconstruction Politics," Journal of the History of Sexuality 3 (1993): 402-16.

(36.) American Colonization Society, First Annual Report, 14; Pennsylvania Freeman, Mar. 15, 1838; Litwack, North of Slavery, 69.

(37.) On Philadelphia race riots, see Nash, Forging Freedom, 273-76; John Runcie, "'Hunting the Nigs' in Philadelphia: The Race Riots of August 1834," Pennsylvania History 39 (1972): 187-218. For New York City race riots, see Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834 (Chapel Hill, 1987), 162-70; Linda K. Kerber, "Abolitionists and Amalgamators: The New York City Race Riots of 1834," New York History 48 (1967): 131-43. For anti-abolitionist riots, see Leonard L. Richards, "Gentlemen of Property and Standing": Anti-Abolitionist Mobs in Jacksonian America (New York, 1970), 69; Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Lewis Tappan and the Evangelical War Against Slavery (Cleveland, 1969), 156-57, 163; Presbyterian, August 27, 1835; Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, August 29, 1835. See also, Leslie M. Harris, "From Abolitionist Amalgamators to 'Rulers of the Five Points': The Discourse of Interracial Sex and Reform in Antebellum New York City," in Martha Hodes, ed., Race, Love, Sex: Crossing Boundaries in North American History (New York, 1999). With these visible threats, it is hardly surprising that the number of black mutual benefit societies increased rapidly during the 1830s.

(38.) [Calvin Colton], Colonization and Abolition Contrasted (Philadelphia, 1839), 2, 5.

(39.) Protestant newspapers that supported colonization regularly published favorable accounts of anti-abolitionist gatherings and violent riots alongside endorsements of colonization society labors. Presbyterian, August 13, 27, 1835; Colton, Colonization and Abolition Contrasted, 2; Richards, "Gentlemen of Property and Standing", 30-37, 43-46; Litwack, North of Slavery, 20-24. See also Tyson, A Discourse Before the Young Men's Colonization Society; Jesse Burden, Remarks ... in the Senate of Pennsylvania, on the Abolition Question (Philadelphia, 1838); William W. Sleigh, Abolitionism Exposed! (Philadelphia, 1838).

(40.) History of Pennsylvania Hall, Which was Destroyed by a Mob, on the 17th of May, 1838 (Philadelphia, 1838), 3-11, 136-43; Minute Book of the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Hall Association, 1837-1864, HSP; Sam Bass Warner, Jr., The Private City: Philadelphia in Three Periods of Its Growth (Philadelphia, 1968), 131-37; William N. Needles to Wendell P. Garrison, June 23, 1885, Dreer Collection, HSP.

(41.) Diary of A. J. Pleasonton, May 17, 1838, HSP; Public Ledger, July 18, 1838, quoted in Warner, The Private City, 136-37; Pennsylvania Freeman, Nov. 1, 1838; [Zip Coon], "Abolition Hall," (ca. 1850s), Library Company of Philadelphia, reprinted in Yellin, Women and Sisters, 49.

(42.) Othniel A. Pendleton, Jr., "Slavery and the Evangelical Churches," Journal of Presbyterian History 25 (1947): 169, 172.

(43.) I explore this complex narrative in greater detail in my forthcoming book manuscript.

(44.) Lewis C. Holbert to William McLain, American Colonization Society, Sept. 7, 1847, in Carter G. Woodson, ed., The Mind of the Free Negro, As Reflected in Letters Written During the Crisis, 1800-1860 (Washington, D.C., 1926), 47 [spelling modernized].

(45.) African Repository 27 (1851): 259-65; Wilson Jeremiah Moses, "Biographical Sketch of Augustus Washington," in Moses, Liberian Dreams, 181-83.

(46.) Freedom's Journal, March 18, 1829; Hill and Kilson, Apropos of Africa, 79 (Hill and Kilson indicate that Lott Carey's quotation was attributed to him, but they provide no citation for the quotation); Martin Robinson Delany, The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (Philadelphia, 1852; reprint ed.: New York, 1969), 159-60, 205, 208.

(47.) Prior to 1844, over twenty percent of the emigrants died within their first twelve months in Liberia; "Roll of Emigrants," 152-60; The Liberator, Aug. 20, 1831; Shick, Behold the Promised Land, 27, 50; Smith, Sojourners in Search of Freedom, 206-8; Kocher, "A Duty to America and Africa," 147.

(48.) Speech of H. Ford Douglass, in reply to Mr. J. M. Langston before the Emigration Convention, at Cleveland, Ohio, Delivered on the Evening of the 27th of August, 1854 (Chicago, 1854), reprinted in Aptheker, A Documentary History of the Negro People of the United States, 1:368; see also, Martin R. Delany, The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States.

(49.) Based on a comparison with a database of over 2,000 other women activists. Third Annual Report of the Ladies Liberia School Association (Philadelphia, 1835); Fourth Annual Report (1836) in the Colonization Herald 1 (May 28, 1836): 111-12; Ninth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Ladies Liberia School Association (Philadelphia, 1841).

(50.) Dorsey, "City of Brotherly Love," ch. 2 and 5.

(51.) African Repository 16 (Jul. 1. 1840): 202-205; Catharine Beecher, An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism with Reference to the Duty of American Females (Philadelphia, 1837), 97-109; Kathryn Kish Sklar, Catharine Beecher: A Study in Domesticity (New Haven, 1973), 132-37; see also Colonization Herald 1 (Mar. 19, 1836): 93; 2 (Jul. 23, 1836): 127. On the connections between nineteenth-century politics and prizefighting, see Elliott J. Gorn, The Manly Art: Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting in America (Ithaca, 1986), 125-27, 135.

(52.) See Kristin Hoganson, "Garrison Abolitionists and the Rhetoric of Gender, 1850-1860," American Quarterly 45 (1993): 558-595; Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Touching Liberty: Abolitionism, Feminism, and the Politics of the Body (Berkeley, 1993); Ronald G. Walters, The Antislavery Appeal: American Abolitionism After 1830 (Baltimore, 1978); Lydia Maria Child, An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans (Boston, 1833); Harriet Beecher Stowe, A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (Boston, 1853).

(53.) Proceedings of the National Emigration Convention of Colored People; Held at Cleveland, Ohio ... 1854 (Pittsburgh, 1854), 8, 9,14, 16-18.

(54.) Shadd received her antislavery training in the house of her father, Delaware abolitionist Abraham Shadd, and her formal education in a Friends' school near Philadelphia. Mary A. Shadd, A Plea for Emigration; or Notes of Canada West ... (Detroit, 1852); Jason H. Silverman, "Mary Ann Shadd and the Search for Equality," in Leon Litwack and August Meyer, eds., Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century (Urbana, 1988), 87-100; Harold B. Hancock, "Mary Ann Shadd: Negro Editor, Educator, and Lawyer," Delaware History 15 (1973): 187-94; Sylvia G. L. Dannett, Profiles of Negro Womanhood, 2 vols. (Chicago, 1964), 1:150-57; Jane Rhodes, Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century (Bloomington, IN, 1998).

(55.) Garrison, Thoughts on African Colonization, part I; Litwack, North of Slavery, 27.

(56.) Joshua Simpson, "Old Liberia is Not the Place for Me," in Original Antislavery Songs (Zanesville, Oh., 1852), 24-27, reprinted in Vicki L. Eaklor, American Antislavery Songs (Westport, Conn., 1988), 10-12; italics in original.
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