Emancipation & Repatriation

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For the most part, the United States, Great Britain, and France enslaved West Africans. Religious groups and abolitionists launched demonstrations charging that slavery is a crime against humanity. That tumultuous moment in history ended after the global effort for some Blacks to return to Africa. Despite that, many Whites still supported slavery. Many who benefited from it did not want to give up their profits. Moreover, others were merely fanatics and bigots who could not have it any other way. Therefore they did not wish for the amalgamated Blacks to live among them.

Once they arrived in England, Somersett devised a plan and escaped. A manhunt was put in effect…”

The James Somersett Case

When a slave by the name of James Somersett escaped from his master in England, more ferocity ensued. Somersett had been a slave all of his life. He had become very influential among the people. Numerous people supported slaves in their ambition to be free. Although in those days, Boston, Massachusetts (his home state) was a British colony. And the law considered Somersett, a “bonafide property” of his master. Somersett was a slave to British customs officer, Charles Steuart who resided in Boston. When Steuart returned to England, he didn’t release his slaves as they had expected.

Instead, he brought them to England to continue being his slaves. Once they arrived in England, Somersett devised a plan and escaped. The authorities launched a manhunt to capture him. When they caught him, years of loyalty and service to his master did not count for anything. Steuart gave Somersett up for imprisonment aboard a slave ship the harsh sugar cane plantations of Jamaica. At that time, Jamaica was where to abandoned insubordinate slaves. Luckily, three people stepped forward on Somersett’s behalf. They were his White godparents. They filed a petition in the Court of King’s Bench in England.

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Somersett’s Trial & Freedom

While Somersett languished in prison, people spread rumors, and the story caught media attention. The public challenged the legality of slavery since the government had amended the constitution. The British government had disenfranchised slavery not only in England but throughout the British Colonies. After much delay, the judge took the case went to trial. By this time Somersett had the overwhelming support in the press and the public. A respected political activist by the name of Granville Sharp also took an interest in the case. He launched a campaign against slavery and the slave trade. Consequently, the court found Somersett’s imprisonment unconstitutional. The judge summoned the captain of the ship to set him free.

Freedom, Amalgamation or Repatriation

The presiding Judge, Chief Justice Lord Mansfield was the highest on the King’s Bench. Lawyers argued that Somersett’s capture was unconstitutional. Or his master did not have the authority to ship him off to slavery on a Jamaican plantation field. Somersett’s case became crucial to the emancipation efforts going on at the time. It was the 1700’s, and England had abolished slavery. After more than a month of debating the Chief Justice set Somersett free. By 1822, the “American Colonization Society” had endeavored to repatriate black Americans to Africa. Many Blacks who bought their freedom did not trust the white people. They believed the amalgamation among them lead to discrimination or a possible re-enslavement.

A political activist by the name of Granville Sharp also took interest in the case. He launched a campaign against slavery and the slave trade.”

Many Blacks opted for a complete departure from the land that enslaved them. They decided on the place where the slave traders acquired their ancestors. And that was Africa. They wanted guaranteed freedom, however better yet, they wanted to go back to their African roots. They wanted to live among their people. But the nagging issue was not knowing exactly where in Africa did their ancestors originate? Or to which ethnic group do they belong? Some would later become the Kongos of Liberia. Others became the Krios of Sierra Leone. Kongo and Krio are languages that the ex-slaves forged from broken English, French, and Dutch. Later that year, the American Colonization Society went to West Africa and bought land close to Romarong where they established Liberia as the first independent country in West Africa.

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The Republic of Liberia

The former American slaves fashioned their flag to the model of the American flag. They wrote a constitution very similar to that of America. Some of these ex-slaves were highly educated from the University of Philadelphia. Once they had their land, they fathom a Western type of government. After abolishing slavery, the Europeans turned their focus to colonization. The American government, on the other hand, had no interest. They never colonized any region of Africa. Unlike the European countries that appointed Governor Generals in Africa, the Americans allowed the freed slaves to rule. It was Joseph Jenkin Robert’s responsibility to establish and govern Liberia. The original natives of Liberia came from the same places where the Romarong natives originated. Before then Ivory Coast, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia were one place.

They fashioned her flag to the model of the American flag and wrote a constitution very similar to the American one.

These were among the people who migrated from Western Sudan through to the Fouta Djallon. Those are the people who migrated east of Romarong spreading inland and along the coast. They finally settled among indigenous natives who populated Liberia. Some ethnic groups had also come from Mali and the Sahara. Some of the tribes were there all along. Unlike other African countries, no colonial master would ever rule Liberia. Freed Blacks backed by the United States government dominated the country for over a hundred years. They repatriated there to form an Americo-Liberian state. In 1847, they declared independence of what they dubbed, the Republic of Liberia.

Emancipation Proclamation

Nevertheless, British colonialists were eager to expand along the coast of the hinterlands. They did not want a neighboring “free state” that is ruled by Blacks. At that time the colonial masters wanted Africans to think of themselves as inferior to govern themselves. In the north in Guinea and also in the Ivory Coast the French devised the same strategy. But in 1862, United States President Abraham Lincoln gave two new executive orders. As the Commander in Chief of the US Army and Navy, the President emancipated all slaves. The American Civil War ensued. He specified that he would liberate every slave within the Confederate States. And that is even if those States never return to the Union.

Many believed that those executive orders were his way to turn the Blacks against their slave masters so he would win the civil war.”

He cited the US Constitution as the grounds for this decision. Many believed that those executive orders were his way to turn the slaves against their masters. So they would join the Civil War and help him win. Some say the southern states wanted to leave the Union. They wanted slavery to continue. Among other ideas, many thought the abolition of slavery was the leading cause of the war. President Lincoln declared that by the following year all slaves would be free. The states that had not opted for cessation from the Union he allowed to keep their slaves in the meantime. Every slave wanted freedom. They were the descendants of a people who slave traders had captured or bought in Africa. They had also lost their culture and ethnic identity. Many of these people wanted to return to their motherland.

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Slavery, War & Freedom

Now that freedom was on the horizon; the slaves were willing to give anything to grasp it. During that time, slave owners banned all Blacks from speaking African languages. They punished them for teaching their African culture to their offspring. They did not allow the slaves to learn how to read and write. Slaver owners often broke up slave families by selling the one who could read. Many managed to learn how to read and write but kept it a secret. Some of them were more literate than the slavers. If someone found out that a slave is literate, they would punish that slave. At the emergence of freedom and being eager to have freedom, many Blacks escaped to Canada.

When the American Civil War erupted, some Blacks joined the US Army and played a significant role in causing the Union of States to defeat the Confederate States so slavery could be abolished. Any states not named under the Union in President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Act had their slaves removed from them and set free. The Act was criticized for only freeing slaves in the Confederate and not the slaves in the Union. This move was seen as a devastating economic blow to the Confederate States and as viewed by some, a punishment for withdrawing from the Union of American states.

Moreover, Abraham Lincoln’s Act fueled the growing abolition movement which set the stage for the ultimate freedom of all slaves in the United States of America.”

Even though this move did not affect certain states within the Confederate States because they had rejoined the Union or, were in the process of rejoining the Union. More than 20, 000 slaves were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation Act. Most of those slaves ended up being the first Krios in Romarong. Moreover, Abraham Lincoln’s Act fueled the growing abolition movement which set the stage for the ultimate freedom of all slaves in the United States of America. Notably, even the ones who remain enslaved in the Union States were set free in the end.

This became a very contentious issue among the slave owners in the north because they too wanted the continuation of the business of slavery. Those that accepted the abolition of slavery did not wish to four million Blacks living among them. This is where racism and segregation started, where discrimination found its foothold. For years to come, white Americans would discover crafty methods to encrypt the system with glitches which not only restrained Blacks but kept them regulated to impoverished locale and in undeveloped neighborhoods.

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Furthermore, creating intangible roadblocks preventing them from ever thoroughly amalgamating as bonafide equals among the whites. In the 1800s, this prompted many slaves to relocate to parts of the country where slavery had been abolished and where discrimination and segregation did not wholly dwindle their self-worth. The proclamation had been set forth but was not enforced immediately. Some Blacks were still being enslaved in the Confederate and Union States even after the Emancipation Proclamation Act had been declared.

Blacks had grown fed up with slavery and yearned for the freedom to come quicker. Many could not wait for the law to be fully enforced in their state. Some turned to crime and murdered their master with his entire family. Others joined a repatriation program and were among the first to be returned to Africa. At the slightest opportunity to escape, a group of slaves would slip away, under cover of darkness, to relocate to another part of the country. The civil war raged on when the army moved south to reclaim it. As the forces recovered from the south, numerous slaves were set free. Towards the end of the civil war in America, almost every slave was free from the sheds of slave row. Chains and shackles removed, their backs no longer swelled from the overseer’s whip.

t the slightest opportunity to escape, a group of slaves would slip away, under the cover of darkness, to relocate to another part of the country.”

A new dawn was on the horizon. Black people were slaves no more. However, in this further dawn segregation and discrimination was born. Some whites viewed Blacks as equals – that the color of one’s flesh does not define the moral of their character. Some whites were sympathetic to the black struggle and assisted, even as there were Blacks who betrayed fellow Blacks into slavery. Discrimination and segregation were now being fought against. Slavery was abolished in 1833 in England with the installment of the Slavery Abolition Act. A British philanthropist, by the name of William Wilberforce, helped form the Committee for the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in 1787 and set forth to challenge British authorities to end slavery not only in England but within the entire British Empire.

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Though Blacks were the majority of slaves held in England and in Scotland, there were also slaves from East Asia and India at the time. These slaves were shuffled between the British who often migrated to their colonies in North America and throughout the Caribbean. After James Somersett, the runaway slave’s case was won, the legality of slavery became increasingly questionable even as slave owners remained reluctant to let go of their treasured slaves. James Somersett’s case fueled the movement against slavery in British colonies where an estimated ten million Blacks, East Asian, and Indians were being sold as domestic slaves or plantation workers.

In the mid-1800’s, British Lords made a final decree to abolish the Slave Trade in all their colonies including the northern American states, Canada, the Caribbean and even in the United Kingdom. Many despise the world that had enslaved them and yearned for a return to the motherland – a motherland that still consisted of chieftaincies spawned from gold, salt, and kola nut trade. The freed slaves intended to rebuild Africa into what they saw as a new civilization but West Africa comprised mostly of indigents who were the descendants of several dispensations of ancient ancestors. They despised any and all western culture or ideology.

They worked with philanthropists like Wilberforce and other activists and abolitionists like Thomas Ramsay and Granville Sharp…”

They were ones, who apart from Islam and Christianity, could not be converted to any new standard of living especially if it threatened to deviate them from their shared belief, rituals or culture. William Wilberforce’s Committee for the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade cited human rights violations in the trading of slaves as well as, inhumane treatment. By the late 1800’s, many Blacks who had won their freedom has also gained a higher education. They worked with philanthropists like Wilberforce and other activists and abolitionists like Thomas Ramsay and Granville Sharp and religious protagonists like the Quakers or the Clapham Sect of Evangelical reformers to proliferate an anti-slavery movement.

The movement grew fast, including some of its members gathered information about the day-to-day running of the slave business and how inhumane it is.  Those who were eligible joined the British Parliament and used that to push for an end to the centuries-long travesty. In 1807, the Slave Trade Act was passed by the British Parliament, plus slavery was legally banned throughout the British Empire.

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Navy vessels patrolled the high seas and investigated any ship suspected of carrying human cargo. Those ships were fined a hundred pounds per slave if any were found aboard. At this time, even as slavery had been outlawed by the British, the French were not part of the British colonies. Hence they continued to trade. They smuggled slaves from Africa along new routes, furthermore when confronted by the British Navy they threw the Blacks overboard to avoid the fines imposed by the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy confiscated hundreds of slave ships at sea and set tens of thousands of Africans free.

In 1831 Sam Sharp, a highly educated ex-slave who had become a Baptist preacher, helped some slaves set forth a Christmas rebellion against their masters.”

In Africa, treaties were signed with Kings who benefited from the slave trade and those treaties were used to force them to desist from selling their natives to slave traders. The abolition movement, after successfully causing the end of the slave trade, turned its attention to the act of slavery. In 1823, an Anti-Slavery Society was formed. In 1831 Sam Sharp, a highly educated ex-slave who had become a Baptist preacher, helped some slaves set forth a Christmas rebellion against their masters.

The slave trade had been abolished, but some slave masters refused to set their slaves free. On August 1, 1838, every slave that lived in the British colony was emancipated. The British government paid twenty million pounds to slave owners in Trinidad (located in the Caribbean Islands) to cover their loss for releasing their slaves, though no slave was ever compensated for being enslaved. *

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