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Between Homeland and MotherlandAfrica, U.S. Foreign Policy, and Black Leadership in America$
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Alvin B. Jr. Tillery

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448973

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448973.001.0001

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“Not One Was Willing To Go!”

“Not One Was Willing To Go!”

The Paradoxes of “Liberia’s Offerings”

(p.14) 1 “Not One Was Willing To Go!”
Between Homeland and Motherland

Alvin B. Tillery

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores the ways that black elites engaged with U.S. foreign policy toward Africa between 1816 and 1900. During this time, the federal government frequently promoted policies that encouraged black emigration to Liberia. Moreover, the black elite rejected any association with the African continent and worked hard to block policies that sought to stimulate the growth of Liberia. There are, however, several notable cases in which the black elite broke from this pattern and worked to assist the development of Liberia. The conventional wisdom is that the black elite's commitments to a transnational sense of community trumped their concerns about their black U.S. citizenship status. But the archival materials show that members of the black elite entered the foreign policymaking arena in support of Liberia only when they calculated that doing so would shift the national discourse about the capacity of the black race for U.S. citizenship.

Keywords:   Liberia, black elites, black emigration, black U.S. citizenship, national discourse, U.S. citizenship

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