On this day in 1820, the first group of free Black Americans set sail for Sierra Leone


Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. "Map of the west coast of Africa : comprising Guinea, and the British possessions at Sierra Leone, on the Gambia and the Gold Coast, together with the countries within the courses of the rivers Senegal, Gambia, & Kowara" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1843.
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On February 6, 1820, a contingent of 88 free Black individuals embarked on a journey to the British colony of Sierra Leone aboard a vessel known as the Mayflower of Liberia.

Financed by the U.S. Congress and coordinated by the American Colonization Society, a Quaker group, this endeavor was driven by the belief among many Quakers that Africa provided a more conducive environment for African Americans to prosper, viewing full integration into American society as unattainable.

Arriving safely at Sherbro Island, off the coast of Sierra Leone, on March 9, the group unfortunately faced significant casualties due to malaria.

The concept of establishing an African-American colony in West Africa regained momentum in 1821, when a U.S. Navy vessel journeyed to Liberia in pursuit of suitable land for settlement.

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