Ohio Colonization Society. Letter from the Secretary of the Ohio Colonization Society. [Liberia, Africa Colonization Schemes]
Defending the colonization of African-Americans in Liberia
1870 broadsheet issued by the Ohio Colonization Society defending the colonization of African-Americans in Liberia and writing passionately of those “...having been torn from their own land, the greater proportion of them to die in slave ships…” and further proclaiming the “‘right’” of those Blacks who wished to “...go to their fatherland, Africa, and to live and labor there for the firmer establishment of a negro nationality…”
The text comprises a strongly-worded letter from Rev. B.F. Romaine, Corresponding and Financial Secretary of the Ohio Colonization Society, to George W. Gregg of Circleville, Ohio. The society was founded in 1827 to encourage Black Ohioans to emigrate to Africa. Now in the post-Civil War, “emancipation” era, Romaine is defensive about the continuing use of the term “colonization.” He writes:
The old term “Colonization” has been continued in our present working, although it may not be deemed as applicable as heretofore; and does not, properly speaking, embrace the whole scope of our operations. We aim, as much is any American can, for the elevation of the colored citizens of our country… We make not only “self-consent,” but self-application, the ground of any aid extended by us to any colored citizen of this Republic, for the purpose of going to Africa… Can you, one of our distinguished philanthropists, say, that we have done all we should do for the descendants of Africans, by simply making making [sic] them free and giving them the elective franchise? ... Nay, abandoning all selfishness, and eager to pay back a portion of the unfooted debt we owe to Africa, should we not hail with joy any opportunity offered, to pay, not the debt, but a little of the vast accrued interest? (p, emphases in original)
Signed in print by B.F. Romaine, he appends to the letter an excerpt from the inaugural address of Edward James Roye (1815–1872), fifth President of Liberia. Not found in the standard references.
Description: Ohio Colonization Society. Letter from the Secretary of the Ohio Colonization Society. [Liberia, Africa Colonization Schemes]
[Columbus, Ohio: np (1870)]. Broadsheet. Approx. 8¾ x 4¾ inches. Light soil; one soft crease line; tiny perimeter chip; Very Good.