In the early 19th century, the American Colonization Society was formed with the sole intent of creating a colony for free blacks and former slaves. Both blacks and whites took passionate stands either for or against this proposal. Despite the controversy, the first group of settlers landed on the west coast of Africa in 1822. They faced numerous problems arising from the unfamiliar climate, hostile encounters with the indigenous people, and the failure of other nations to recognize their independence, but they managed to build a nation, naming it Liberia, for liberty. Today, partly because of these difficult beginnings, Liberia is a country plagued by unrest.
In this accessible and well-written book, award-winning author Catherine Reef presents a significant but as of yet relatively unexplored chapter in African American history. Her account is filled with excerpts from diaries and letters of the settlers and richly illustrated with period photographs and prints, many of which have never been published before. Photo gallery, endnotes, bibliography, index.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.62(d)|
|Age Range:||10 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Catherine Reef is the author of more than 40 nonfiction books, including many highly acclaimed biographies for young people. She lives in College Park, Maryland. Visit her online at catherinereef.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I picked up this book because I wanted to learn more about the history of Liberia and its connection to the United States. There were two things that were particularly interesting. The first is that the colonizers of Liberia carried on many American governmental and cultural traditions. In addition to clothing, and politics the colonizers, fleeing oppression in the U.S. were often discriminatory towards natives in Africa. While the settlers were opposed to slavery, they were not progressive and still carried on discriminatory politics. Another interesting fact, was to learn about how controversial the emigration to Liberia was, and how most freed slaves were very opposed to the idea of starting a colony even in the face of injustices such as the Black Codes after Emancipation. Yet, Abraham Lincoln was in support of black emigration to Liberia, and believed that blacks and whites could never live fairly and peacefully in the United States. This book is very cleanly organized chronologically, from the arrival of the first colonists to modern day Liberia. There are several pictures provided with captions. In the author's note it explains that most of the photographs were taken at least 80 years after the founding of Liberia due to technological advancements. This is an appreciated note, as it does change the accuracy of the relationship of the photographs to the text. While I felt that there was sufficient primary source information and comprehensive background on the topic, I still felt as though this book was less engaging than many of the other books we have read in this class.