The African Americans

Search for Truth and Knowledge

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Jr.

Part Seventeen: The Separation Tradition of African American Response

One of the major responses of the Black Community to the American system has been characterized as a voluntary separation in some form, either leaving the country; moving to another region within the country; or creating a separate way of life. In the Revolutionary War era, this pattern was represented by the Blacks who fled the plantations to fight for their freedom with the British, and were forced to evacuate to Canada and eventually to return to Africa to establish Freetown, which became the Republic of Sierra Leone. This is an excellent example of the re-socialization process in the military, and its impact on identity, family, institutions, and the community.

In the pre-Civil War period, the most important example of the Separation Tradition was the movement by thousands of African Americans to leave the United States and sail to Liberia in West Africa and help found a colony of freemen and women that became a Republic in 1848. Many African Americans opposed leaving the United States because their forefathers had contributed so much to the development of the country in spite of slavery. Others felt they must leave and start a new life for themselves and their children.

In the post-Civil War period the Separation Tradition did not involve African Americans emigrating to Africa because of the difficulties and the costs. Instead of migrating overseas, African Americans moved westward from the South to states in the Mid-west and West. This movement was led by men such as Pap Singleton were called the "Exodusers."

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