By Amos J. Beyan (auth.)
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Extra resources for African American Settlements in West Africa: John Brown Russwurm and the American Civilizing Efforts
Like Puritans’ contract, the black emigrants devised the following leadership commissions: Members of Council, Committee of Trade, Regulators of Public Acts, and Colonial Secretary. 28 As discussed, aboard the Elizabeth were some eighty-five freeborn blacks. As an aspect of the leadership, the Board of Managers, or the governing body of the ACS, whose members included Crawford, Clay, Mason, E. B. Caldwell, Key, had instructed Crozer and Bacon on December 10, 1819 to guide the blacks who would sail on the Elizabeth to the anticipated West African settlement in these terms: There should not be a single member of the colony of proper age who should not be in a short be instructed to read, write, and learn 50 African American Settlements in West Africa the common rules of arithmetic at least.
Will not the arbitrary laws, or rather prejudices which have been raised in Ohio, be planted and matured in Canada? It required no prophetic eyes to foresee, that to them and their posterity there is no abiding place on the other side of the Atlantic. Canada will hardly afford them a temporary shelter, against the bleak winds of winter. 31 Russwurm’s emigration to the Liberian colony reinforced the already strong resentment of blacks toward him. One Philadelphian black critic maintained, that the positive images that had been portrayed of Liberia by white colonizationists were nothing but gross exaggeration, and that Russwurm, as a tool of the ACS, was promoting these misleading views through the Liberia Herald, a newly published journal in Monrovia, Liberia for which he had been appointed by the ACS to be its editor.
Is he dead to everything noble? Is he contented with his condition? Let he remain in America. To this we reply: that before God we of no surer burial place than Africa, for the men of any color; that we will never envy John B. 37 The action of Russwurm did not, however, deter blacks from their civil rights struggle in America. Indeed, they were to redouble their efforts in pursuit of the goal, especially in the 1830s. 40 Indeed, Russwurm had provided in early 1829 what were obviously convincing and genuine reasons for his change of views to support the attempts of the ACS to settle African Americans, particularly in Liberia, thus: Whatever may have been our opinions hitherto, concerning the plan of colonizing the free people of colour on the coast of Africa, all must sympathize with the friends of [the] cause.