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Is Africa My Home? A 19th C Debate on the Colonization of Maryland Blacks

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

May’s History Happy Hour is an engaging presentation by Dr. Debra Ham.

Although slavery divided the North and South during the first half of the 19th century, a group of statesmen, clergymen and others from both regions founded the American Colonization Society in 1816 to settle free people of color in Africa. In 1831 Maryland’s auxiliary formed the autonomous Maryland State Colonization Society.

Over a 20-year period, this organization assisted some 1,200 African Americans from Maryland and other states in settling on the west coast of Africa at Cape Palmas.  For blacks already living under the crushing racism of 19th-century America, the offer of settling elsewhere was no easy sell. At one meeting about a recolonization effort, Dr. Ham said it was reported that audience members reacted to the opportunity with stunned silence.

Dr. Ham is professor of history at Morgan State University where she teaches classes on African, African American, archival and public history. She received her Ph.D. in African history from Howard University, her M.A. in African history from Boston University, and her B.A. in history from Howard University.

This program is part of the museum’s History Happy Hour series, which is sponsored by Therrien Waddell Construction Group.  Program includes happy hour drinks and light refreshments.

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map of africa