Why didn't more African Americans immigrate to Liberia over its 160-sh year run under Americo leadership?

May 2016
186
US
I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask this in, or would the American forum or another be the best place for it.

And before anyone may be offended, no, it isn't, this is just something that I've been curious about for a while now. With everything African Americans were experiencing in the US why didn't more see Liberia as an option or act on it if they did and had the means to do so?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Perhaps because even living in the US under extremely bad conditions was viewed as being preferable to living in Liberia? I mean, Jim Crow was truly vile (and a lot of blacks did leave the South after 1910 and moved to other parts of the US--probably at least in large part in response to this), but living in a dirt-poor African country isn't necessarily better. I mean, Yes, they're going to have freedom, but due to Liberia's backwardness, it would take them a long time to fully develop it.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,717
Money, homeland, and oppression. American blacks were considered the US their home even with all its problems, uprooting and going to a small African nation without much money would be something done only in extreme circumstances. For all the lynchings and other terrible things suffered by blacks after the Civil War most had the attitude that if you kept your head down and played by the rules it was still possible to find some measure of success. No one knew what the rules would be in Africa and probably some reverse racism played a role where being black was understood to be dealt a poor hand but being black and African was even worse.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,321
SoCal
Money, homeland, and oppression. American blacks were considered the US their home even with all its problems, uprooting and going to a small African nation without much money would be something done only in extreme circumstances. For all the lynchings and other terrible things suffered by blacks after the Civil War most had the attitude that if you kept your head down and played by the rules it was still possible to find some measure of success. No one knew what the rules would be in Africa and probably some reverse racism played a role where being black was understood to be dealt a poor hand but being black and African was even worse.
What I do wonder is why a lot of US blacks didn't try emigrating to better countries, though. Did countries such as Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, and the various ones in Western Europe simply refuse to allow large numbers of blacks to immigrate there? I mean, the situation of the Jews in Russia was probably comparable to the situation of blacks in the US (though Jews were a highly educated population relative to their neighbors while blacks weren't) before WWI and yet a couple million Jews emigrated from Russia to other countries between 1880 and 1928.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,717
It takes money and a reason to move to migrate across continents and oceans. Few countries wanted Jews but even fewer wanted Blacks though it never got to the point that was tested since by and large American Blacks stayed in the nation where they were born and where they were already citizens. The targeted criminal profiling that has been done since the 1950s is probably worse for families and children than the occasional lynchings and constant prejudice prior.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,569
Las Vegas, NV USA
Most of the previous reasons make sense because only 2% of the current population can claim descent from American Blacks. The American Colonization Society purchased the land in 1818. It's not clear who the sellers were but the land, called the Grain Coast, was inhabited by the Kru people whose descendants make up the large majority of present day Liberians. The small Black American minority ran a the country for their own advantage until 1980.

The Wiki article needs work. This history has a point of view but is probably more accurate.

Key Moments in the History of Liberia
 
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Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Frederick Douglass has your answer.

We are of the opinion that the free colored people generally mean to live in America, and not in Africa; and to appropriate a large sum for our removal, would merely be a waste of the public money. We do not mean to go to Liberia. Our minds are made up to live here if we can, or die here if we must; so every attempt to remove us will be, as it ought to be, labor lost. Here we are, and here we shall remain. While our brethren are in bondage on these shores, it is idle to think of inducing any considerable number of the free colored people to quit this for a foreign land.

For two hundred and twenty-eight years has the colored man toiled over the soil of America, under a burning sun and a driver's lash—plowing, planting, reaping, that white men might roll in ease, their hands unhardened by labor, and their brows unmoistened by the waters of genial toil; and now that the moral sense of mankind is beginning to revolt at this system of foul treachery and cruel wrong, and is demanding its overthrow, the mean and cowardly oppressor is meditating plans to expel the colored man entirely from the country. Shame upon the guilty wretches that dare propose, and all that countenance such a proposition. We live here—have lived here—have a right to live here, and mean to live here.—F.D.
Douglass on Colonization
 
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Aug 2018
594
london
why go back to stone age/iron age cannibal jungle land when you can be member of western civilisation?
 
Mar 2012
406
It really had nothing to do with that, but the fact that most African Americans by that time considered themselves to be Americans, and why not we(My Ancestors) toiled for free and helped to build the wealth of the young Colonies into a nation that was able to compete economically with the rest of the world. Also a lot of African Americans would not have had the resources to move to a competly different country and start over, many had never been to or seen Africa.

Perhaps because even living in the US under extremely bad conditions was viewed as being preferable to living in Liberia? I mean, Jim Crow was truly vile (and a lot of blacks did leave the South after 1910 and moved to other parts of the US--probably at least in large part in response to this), but living in a dirt-poor African country isn't necessarily better. I mean, Yes, they're going to have freedom, but due to Liberia's backwardness, it would take them a long time to fully develop it.
 
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