Mathew F.K. McDaniel presented Emigration to Liberia: From the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama, 1853-1903 as the program for the April 2014 Georgia State Archives Lunch and Learn series. Mr. McDaniel took the broad topic of the emigration and narrowed it to the Columbus, Georgia area for his master’s thesis. McDaniel received a Master of Arts degree in history from Louisiana State University in 2007. The Historic Chattahoochee Commission [http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/arts-culture/historic-chatta... recognized the value of his material and published the thesis as a book in 2013.
Now is the time to update the histories of Columbus, Georgia, and Eufala, Alabama. History needs to reflect the lives of the 447 people who were part of the 4,093 black emigrants the American Colonization Society (ACS) sponsored and sent to Liberia after the American Civil War. In both Mr. McDaniel’s lecture and book, he explains the extensive research necessary to know more about the black emigrants that sailed on the ship Golconda bound for Bexley, Liberia in late 1867 and early 1868.
The American Colonization Society had supporters in the North and the South. According to Mr. McDaniel’s research, the supporters’ motives depended on where they lived. If the person lived in the North, the move to an African colony would chip away at the slave system and provide no prospects in a white supremacist society. If the person lived in the South, the move to an African colony would remove free blacks who were a destabilizing influence.
The chapter titled Emigrants 1867-1868 analyzes the make-up on the people. This includes their ages, occupations, educational backgrounds, and religious affiliation. The chapter titled Liberia, 1867-1903, relates what the country offered. On page 64, the author ends with “For those willing to adapt to Liberia as they fund it, rather than as they wished it to be, the Liberian dream could be realized.” The book offers thorough notes and a full bibliography. Emigration to Liberia: From the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama, 1853-1903 is a must read for everyone interested in the history of Georgia and the Liberian colonization project.
My personal interest was to hear and see the photographs of Liberia. My father, Henry Kampe (1916-1983), my aunt, Mrs. Eleanor Schuler Boldt (1910-1995), and uncle, Rev. William J. Boldt (1905-1989), went to Monrovia, Liberia in 1959. They travel extensively in Africa and brought back many interesting stories.