Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia

Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia

by Susan E. Lindsey


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Between 1820 and 1913, approximately 16,000 black people left the United States to start new lives in Liberia, Africa, in what was at the time the largest out-migration in US history. When Tolbert Major, a former Kentucky slave and single father, was offered his own chance for freedom, he accepted. He, several family members, and seventy other people boarded the Luna on July 5, 1836. After they arrived in Liberia, Tolbert penned a letter to his former owner, Ben Major: "Dear Sir, We have all landed on the shores of Africa and got into our houses.... None of us have been taken with the fever yet."

Drawing on extensive research and fifteen years' worth of surviving letters, author Susan E. Lindsey illuminates the trials and triumphs of building a new life in Liberia, where settlers were free, but struggled to acclimate themselves to an unfamiliar land, coexist with indigenous groups, and overcome disease and other dangers. Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia explores the motives and attitudes of colonization supporters and those who lived in the colony, offering perspectives beyond the standard narrative that colonization was driven solely by racism or forced exile.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813179339
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 07/21/2020
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 619,580
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Susan E. Lindsey is coauthor and editor of Speed Family Heritage Recipes, a historical cookbook of recipes from the Speed family, who built Farmington Plantation in Louisville. Lindsey has also published several essays and short stories.

Table of Contents

May I But Safely Reach My Home
Slavery and the Troublesome Question
People of Culture and Refinement
Serious Doubts on the Slavery Question
The Scene of Suffering and Misery Is Beyond Description
We Have All Landed on the Shores of Africa
Bowing the Knee to Slavery
We Are All Needy
We Have Had War with the Natives
My Heart Yet Bleeds
We Stand in Great Need of Seed
Affectionately, Your Friend and Brother
The Dark Clouds Begin to Disappear
I Cannot Banish the Horrid Picture
I Will Send You Some Coffee
This Accursed Thing Slavery
Decidedly Antislavery
I Have Been in the Legislature
I Am Nothing but a Plain Christian
I Want to See You and Your Wife and Children Very Bad
The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here
Men of Advanced Views on the Subject of Education
I Am a Free Man in a Free Country
Send Me Some Carpenter Tools (and Bonnets)
We Have Not Lived in Vain
He Was Killed by Those Barbarous People
I Thirst to Meet You in Bright Glory
Conclusion: Under the Vine and Fig Tree

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In recounting the lives of freed slaves who immigrated from Kentucky to Liberia decades before emancipation, Lindsey breathes life into a poignant, provocative, and largely forgotten tale. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, Liberty Brought Us Here is both a significant contribution to the historical record and a pleasure to read." — Alan Huffman, author of Mississippi in Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy in Liberia Today

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