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

May 2016
186
US
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.
That's the thing. From the information I can find Liberia wasn't a "dirt poor" country, at least not for the so called Americos.

Liberia’s growth collapse is the largest on the modern record. From its peak in 1972 to its nadir in 1995, Liberia’s real income per capita fell by an astonishing 93 per cent. In 1972, on standard purchasing power comparisons,1 Liberia was ranked just ahead of Thailand and Egypt, 107th of 163 countries—not rich, but by no means poor. Its GDP per capita was more than 80 per cent higher than that of China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India.
Deals and Development in a Resource-Dependent, Fragile State: The Political Economy of Growth in Liberia, 1960–2014 - Oxford Scholarship

I'm of course no expert on the country and no expert when it comes to economics, but much of what I could find states that it wasn't a poor country and it's hey days were the 50's-60's.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,754
SoCal
Very interesting! Thanks!

Also, might the US blacks who moved to Liberia been more educated on average than the general US black population was?
 
Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
Liberia was not a success in the decades following its creation. The UK and USA both interfered economically to prevent prosperity, and there was conflict between the settlers and the natives of the land.

It was however a rich land with the resources necessary for success.

Now it's a disaster, thanks to the conflicts of recent decades, largely initiated by Reagan pumping massive amounts of arms into the country for no discernible reason.
 
Sep 2012
1,093
Tarkington, Texas
Many of the White Americans that preached about Black people returning to Liberia, wanted them to pay their own way and bear the costs of living there. In Louisiana the most valuable plantation going into the Civil War was a place near Natchitoches, owned by a Free Black! This did not prevent General Banks' Yankees from trashing the place when they marched through. Many Free Blacks were artisans and what we would call contractors today. The Contracting company might be owned by a White, but it would be run by Blacks. New Orleans had quite a few of these people. Life could be easy if you had all the work you wanted. Why go back to Africa?

Pruitt
 

mark87

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,080
Santiago de Chile
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.
A lot of those countries mentioned had mainly European immigrants (preferably of certain backgrounds wink wink) in mind during the 19th and early 20th century. They would have balked at the prospect of hundreds of thousands or millions of black Americans immigrating there. Not to mention, African Americans spoke English wouldn't make much sense to try to eke out an existence in Spanish speaking lands, considering there was already a poverty issue in the US that affected them (immigration is not cheap in general not to mention you somewhat need someone to receive you in the next country). The Jews who arrived in Argentina were not always the most popular folk among other immigrants and the local population as an example, they definitely suffered at times pretty strong antisemitism. I understand Australia had a White only immigration policy at the time as another example. The world was a racist/bigoted place back then and white/European was associated in many minds to progress and civilization (however wrongly).
 
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Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
Liberia wasn't even fully backed by Whites, it was "see you later" and the original borders weren't what they were not, there was a ton of natives that had to be dealt with by the sword by no other choice, and this caused a massive issues that still persists until this day, and you have to add that groups that were considered part of the regions aurrounding Liberia, now several states after colonization, they want that land back.

Curiously after the initial take over by the sword, Liberia was actually prosperous until the communist times where those groups in surrounding nations got arms and took to them. Liberians were mostly overrun but managed to push back, but at the end had to compromise with many natives, and then you had further issues once guns were pumped into the region and international "intervention" was involved. A good number of Black American origin Liberias left during these periods, when not killed or driven out.

Heck, I'd be surprised if 10% of the population still has Black American roots there. A good chunk of the fighting in recent times have been between indigenous groups that were in the land. If anyone wanted to move to Liberia it would have had to been during the prosperous times. Which was after the initial settlement which involved war near immediately.
 
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Oct 2019
95
West Virginia
Liberia wasn't even fully backed by Whites, it was "see you later" and the original borders weren't what they were not, there was a ton of natives that had to be dealt with by the sword by no other choice, and this caused a massive issues that still persists until this day, and you have to add that groups that were considered part of the regions aurrounding Liberia, now several states after colonization, they want that land back.

Curiously after the initial take over by the sword, Liberia was actually prosperous until the communist times where those groups in surrounding nations got arms and took to them. Liberians were mostly overrun but managed to push back, but at the end had to compromise with many natives, and then you had further issues once guns were pumped into the region and international "intervention" was involved. A good number of Black American origin Liberias left during these periods, when not killed or driven out.

Heck, I'd be surprised if 10% of the population still has Black American roots there. A good chunk of the fighting in recent times have been between indigenous groups that were in the land. If anyone wanted to move to Liberia it would have had to been during the prosperous times. Which was after the initial settlement which involved war near immediately.
Your term "communist times" is confusing. When was Liberia ever "communist"? One of my friends in grad school was a Pele from Liberia. When Reagan was shipping arms to the very problematic Liberian government, my friend kept asking, "What communists?" "Where are the communists?" "Where is the foreign enemy?"

At the time there was little violence going on in the region. But Liberia erupted into chaos thanks to all that weaponry, which changed hands as the govt was replaced, with the result we've seen.

Reagan's delusional policies motivated this far more than any "communism".
 
Oct 2019
39
Area Ocean
Your term "communist times" is confusing. When was Liberia ever "communist"? One of my friends in grad school was a Pele from Liberia. When Reagan was shipping arms to the very problematic Liberian government, my friend kept asking, "What communists?" "Where are the communists?" "Where is the foreign enemy?"

At the time there was little violence going on in the region. But Liberia erupted into chaos thanks to all that weaponry, which changed hands as the govt was replaced, with the result we've seen.

Reagan's delusional policies motivated this far more than any "communism".
"where those groups in surrounding nations got arms and took to them"

As in communist times is when those surrounding nations, got arms during the cold war times which went to the groups that were in those nations. Which they then used to try to gain power in Liberia.

This in turn was the excuse used to pour in arms into Liberia.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,877
Portugal
The migration of ex-slaves from the USA created a new social group in Liberia that controlled the country until quite recently and that created some tension with the previous population, as it is normal in this cases that there is a significant number of new arrivals.