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Extra resources for African American Settlements in West Africa: John Brown Russwurm and the American Civilizing Efforts

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Cried] for her children; and will not be comforted till they come home. Send more, more. . They are ignorant of our climate, soil, fruit, and cattle. It may be that they are wicked too; some of them . . You must not listen to the words of those white persons who try to stop free people from coming over. . Let them come and sit down in our valleys, and on our hills, and near our rivers; and all the country will soon break forth into song. Sherbro country is full of meat, fish, bread, oil, and honey.

Confidence . . [that] the time has arrived when the descendants of Africa abroad shall begin to return to their own country. His mind relies on the promises of God. 16 Hence, Kizell’s misleading statement that the chiefs around the Sherbro Island area had approved the establishment of the proposed American colony on the island was accepted at face value by Mills and Burgess. As already noted, the statement was passed on to the officials of ACS in Washington, DC. Against this background, the ACS decided to send some eighty-five African Americans on the ship, Elizabeth.

28 Similar arguments used against the ACS and its leaders were employed against Russwurm. The criticisms levied against Russwurm were, however, harsher than the ones used against white colonizationists, because blacks feared that his pro-colonization position would not only undermine their strong opposition to the ACS, but would also broaden the base of support for that body. Against this background, Russwurm was portrayed as a traitor by blacks. They also maintained that his defection would boost the interests of ACS that had long planned to destroy the racial solidarity, consciousness, and unity the Freedom’s Journal was trying to promote among blacks.

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