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The Back-to-Africa movement, was also known as the Colonization movement, originated in the United States in the 19th century. It encouraged those of African descent to return to the African homelands of their ancestors. This movement would eventually inspire other movements ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement.
The United States of America 
In the early 19th century, the black population in the United States increased dramatically. Many of these African Americans were freed people seeking a better life. Many Southern freed blacks migrated to the industrial North to seek employment while others moved to surrounding Southern states. Their progress was sometimes met with hostility as many whites around that time were not used to so many blacks being free. Many did not believe that free Africans had a place in America and thought the very existence of free blacks undermined the system of slavery and encouraged slaves to revolt. In the North, whites feared that they would lose jobs to free African Americans, while other whites did not like the idea of blacks integrating with whites. Riots swept the nation in waves, usually in urban areas where there had been recent migration of blacks from the South. During the height of these riots in 1819, there were twenty five recorded riots, with many killed and injured. The back-to-Africa movement was seen as the solution to these problems.
The idea of a Back to Africa Movement, however, started long before 1848. The American Colonization Society, founded in 1816 by Charles Fenton Mercer, was made up of two groups: "philanthropists, clergy and abolitionist who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants and provide them with the opportunity to return to Africa. The other group was the slave owners who feared free people of color and wanted to expel them from America." In 1811, Paul Cuffee, "a black man who was a wealthy man of property, a petitioner for equal rights for blacks"  began to explore the idea of black people returning to their native land as he was convinced that "opportunities for the advancement of for black people were limited in America, and he became interested in African colonization."  With the help of some Quakers in Philadelphia he was able to transport thirty eight blacks to Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1815. It was the American Colonization Society, however, that made the most progress with the Back to Africa Movement.
According to the Encyclopedia of Georgia History and Culture, "as early as 1820, black Americans had begun to return to their ancestral homeland through the auspices of the American Colonization Society" and by 1847, the American Colonization Society founded Liberia and designated it as the land to be colonized by all black people returning from the United States of America. By the decline of the Back to Africa Movement, the American Colonization Society migrated over 13,000 blacks back to Africa.
The back-to-Africa movement began to decline but revived again in 1877 at the end of the Reconstruction as many blacks in the South faced violence from groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. Interest among the South's black population in African emigration peaked during the 1890s, a time when racism reached its peak and the greatest number of lynchings in American history took place.
The continued experience of segregation and discrimination of African Americans after emancipation and the belief that they would never achieve true equality attracted many African Americans to a Pan-African emancipation in their mother land.
Soon thereafter, the movement declined following many hoax and fraudulent activities associated with the movement. According to Crumin, however, the most important reason for the decline in the back-to-Africa movement was that the "vast majority of those who were meant to colonize did not wish to leave. Most free blacks simply did not want to go "home" to a place from which they were generations removed. America, not Africa, was their home and they had little desire to migrate to a strange and forbidding land not their own." 
The eventual disillusionment of those who migrated to the North and frustrations of struggling to cope with urban life set the scene for the back-to-Africa movement of the 1920s, initiated by Marcus Garvey. Those who migrated to the Northern States from the South, found that although they were financially better off, they remained at the bottom both economically and socially.
The History of Liberia (after the arrival of Europeans) is unique in Africa as it started neither as a native state nor as a European colony, but began in 1821 when private societies began founding colonies for free blacks from the United States on the coast of West Africa. The first American ships were very uncertain of where they were heading. Their plan was to follow the paths that the British had taken beforehand, or simply take a chance on where they would land. At first, they followed the previous routes of the British and reached the coast of Sierra Leone. After leaving Sierra Leone, the Americans slowly reached the southern part of the African coastline. Eventually, the Americans found what they were looking for, what the British called, the Grain Coast. This region was called the Grain Coast because of the type of ginger spice used for medicine flavoring that it provided, which was called, aframomum meleguete. In the Grain Coast, local African chiefs willingly gave the Americans tracts of land. It took the Americans the next twenty years to gain a series of fragmented settlements across the Liberia's barely settled beach. Along with the difficulty of gaining enough land, life was not easy for these early settlers. Disease was rampant, along with the lack of food. Hostile tribes presented the settlers with great struggle, destroying some of their new land settlements. Almost half of the new settlers had died over the first twenty years since their arrival in Liberia. Liberia gained independence on 26 July 1847.:5 With an elected black government and the offer of free land to African American settlers, Liberia became the most common destination of emigrating African Americans during the 19th century.:2
Blacks' interest in Liberia emigration emerged when the Civil War promised the end of slavery and meaningful change to the status of Black Americans. 7,000 slaves were freed by their masters, so at that point those free African Americans left the U.S. to escape racism and have more opportunities (mainly because they had lost all hope of achievement). In the 1830s, the movement became increasingly dominated by slave owners who wanted Liberia to absorb the free blacks of the South. Slaves freed from slave ships were sent here instead of their country of origin. The emigration of free blacks to Liberia particularly increased after the Nat Turner rebellion in 1831. Middle class blacks were more resolved to live as black Americans, many rural poor folks gave up on the United States and looked to Liberia to construct a better life. Liberia provided freedom and equality; it also represented a chance for a better life for the South's black farmers. The Liberian government promised 25 acres of free land for each immigrant family, 10 acres for a single adult, who came to the Black Republic. In the early 19th century, Liberia evoked mixed images in the minds of black Americans. At that point Liberia was packed to the brim with black families who left the United States in search of a better way of life, only to later return to their ancestral homeland of Africa. Page text.:2-9
As noted by researcher Washington Hyde, "Black Americans - who in the time of slavery lost their original languages and much of their original culture, gained a distinctly American, English-speaking Christian identity, and had no clear idea of precisely where in the wide continent of Africa their ancestors had come from - were perceived by the natives of Liberia as foreign settlers. Having an African ancestry and a black skin color were definitely not enough. Indeed, their settlement in Liberia had much in common with the contemporary white settlement of the American Frontier and these settlers' struggle with Native American tribes (...). The Liberian experience can also be considered as anticipating that of Zionism and Israel - with Jews similarly seeking redemption through a return to an ancestral land and similarly being regarded as foreign interlopers by its natives, the Palestinians . It would take Americo-Liberians a century and more to become truly accepted as one of Liberia's ethnic groups(...). All of which certainly contributed to most Black Americans rejecting the Back-to-Africa option and opting instead for seeking equal rights in America." 
Ex-slave repatriation 
Ex-slave repatriation or the immigration of African American, Caribbean, and Black British slaves to Africa occurred mainly during the late 18th century to mid 19th century. In the cases of Liberia and Sierra Leone both were established by former slaves who were repatriated to Africa within a 28 year period.
The repatriation of African American slaves and freed persons to Africa was first advocated by the American Colonization Society (ACS) of which Thomas Buchanan (brother to future president James Buchanan) was a member. Other notable members of the American Colonization Society include Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Daniel Webster, John Marshall, and Francis Scott Key.
Sierra Leone 
The first attempt by the British government to settle people in Sierra Leone in 1787 sent three hundred former slave along with seventy prostitutes on the Sierra Leone peninsula in West Africa. Two years later most member of the settlement were killed off by disease and complications with the local Temne people. In 1792, a second attempt was made when 1,100 freed slaves established Freetown behind the British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. Many of these inhabitants were unhappy with where they were resettled in Canada after the American Revolution and were eager to return to their homeland.
In 1820 the first freed slaves from the United States arrived in Sierra Leone. A minister by the name of Daniel Coker lead a group of ninety free blacks in hopes of founding a new colony in Sierra Leone. His aspirations were driven by spreading Christianity among the Africans. After leaving New York on a ship named the Elizabeth, his voyage ended on an island just off the coast of Sierra Leone. Arriving just before the rains of spring, the group of immigrants were soon stricken with fever. The survivors soon fled to Freetown, and the would be settlement disintegrated.
The American Colonization Society came under attack from American abolitionists, who insisted that the removal of the freed slaves from the United States strengthened the institution of slavery.
The repatriation of slaves to Africa from the United Kingdom, and its dependencies, was initiated by the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor, and was later on taken up by the Sierra Leone Company. In time, African American Black Loyalists and West Indians would immigrate to the colony of Freetown, Sierra Leone in smaller numbers in efforts led by black merchants or beneficiaries such as Paul Cuffe.
Notable repatriated people 
- Joseph Jenkins Roberts - first President of Liberia and founding father
- Thomas Peters (black leader) - African American Black Loyalist leader and founder of Freetown, Sierra Leone
- William Coleman - President of Liberia
- Stephen Allen Benson - President of Liberia
- David George - African American Baptist preacher
- Boston King - African American Methodist missionary
- Henry Washington - African-born slave to first U.S. President George Washington
- Daniel Coker - African American missionary to Sierra Leone
- Edward Jones (missionary) - American missionary to Sierra Leone
- Edward J. Roye - President of Liberia, and first president from the True Whig Party
See also 
- Afro-American settlement in Africa
- Back-to-Africa movement
- David Jenkins, Black Zion: The Return of Afro-Americans and West Indians to Africa. (London: Wildwood House, 1975), 41-3.
- Kenneth C. Barnes, Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkan. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 3.
- Ronald L. F. Davis, "Creating Jim Crow." The History of Jim Crow. Creating Jim Crow: In-Depth Essay (accessed: 14 October 2007).
- Waite, P. Home page. 14 October 2007 The American Colonization Society
- Campbell, M. Back to Africa: George Ross & The Maroons, From Nova Scotia to Sierra Leone, New Jersey: Africa World Press, Inc., 1993.
- Lapsanskey-Werner, E. and Bacon, M. eds Back to Africa: Benjamin Coates and the Colonization Movement in America 1848–1880, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania University Press, 2005.
- Stewart, J. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History, New York : Doubleday, 1996.
- The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. 2007. The Central Arkansas Library System. 14 October 2007 Back-to-Africa Movement
- The Ending of Reconstruction America's Reconstruction, People and Politics After the Civil War: The Ending of Reconstruction. University of Houston Digital History. 18 October 14, 2007
- Kenneth C. Barnes, Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 2
- "Back to Africa?" The Colonization Movement in Early America Timothy Crumrin, 2007. Conner Prairie. 14 October 2007
- Daniel M. Johnson and Rex R. Campbell, Black Migration in America: A Social Demographic History (Durham, N.C.; Duke University Press, 1981), 62.
- David Jenkins, Black Zion: The Return of Afro-Americans and West Indians to Africa. (London: Wildwood House, 1975), 43
- Butcher, Tim (2010). "Our Man In Liberia". History Today 60 (10): 10–17.
- Kenneth C. Barnes, Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
- James Campbell, Middle Passage: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787–2005. (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), xxiii
- Dr. Washington Hyde, "The Tortuous Route of Black American History", Ch. 3, 5
- Cox, Earnest (1938). Lincoln's Negro Policy. Richmond, VA: William Byrd Press. p. 13.
- Back to Africa: The Colonization Movement
- African American Nation Radio
- Barnes, Kenneth C. Journey of Hope: The Back-to-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
- Campbell, James. Middle Passage: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787–2005. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.
- Clegg III, Claude A. The Price of Liberty: African Americans and the Making of Liberia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
- Jenkins, David. Black Zion: The Return of Afro-Americans and West Indians to Africa. London: Wildwood House, 1975.
- Weisbord, Robert G. Ebony Kinship: Africa, Africans, and the Afro-American. Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1973.