African-American Exploration in West Africa

African-American Exploration in West Africa

Four Nineteenth-Century Diaries
Edited by James Fairhead, Tim Geysbeek, Svend E. Holsoe, and Melissa Leach
Distribution: World
Publication date: 10/23/2003
Format: cloth 504 pages, 39 b&w photos, 11 maps, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-34194-5
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Description

In the 1860s, as America waged civil war, several thousand African Americans sought greater freedom by emigrating to the fledgling nation of Liberia. While some argued that the new black republic represented disposal rather than emancipation, a few intrepid men set out to explore their African home. African-American Exploration in West Africa collects the travel diaries of James L. Sims, George L. Seymour, and Benjamin J. K. Anderson, who explored the territory that is now Liberia and Guinea between 1858 and 1874. These remarkable diaries reveal the wealth and beauty of Africa in striking descriptions of its geography, people, flora, and fauna. The dangers of the journeys surface, too—Seymour was attacked and later died of his wounds, and his companion, Levin Ash, was captured and sold into slavery again. Challenging the notion that there were no black explorers in Africa, these diaries provide unique perspectives on 19th-century Liberian life and life in the interior of the continent before it was radically changed by European colonialism.

Author Bio

James Fairhead is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex.

Tim Geysbeek teaches history at Grand Valley Sate University and has taught at the ELWA Academy in Monrovia, Liberia. He has published his work in History in Africa and the Liberian Studies Journal.

Svend E. Holsoe is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Delaware. He has done extensive research on Liberia and is the founding editor of the Liberian Studies Journal.

Melissa Leach is Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research interests include issues of gender, environment, science, and history. She is the author of Rainforest Relations.

Reviews

"[T]hose with some knowledge of the area will find the carefully annotated diaries fascinating. . . . Recommended." —Choice

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Table of Contents

Preliminary :

List of Illustrations
List of Maps
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Liberia of the Journeys
2. Journeys in the Interior
3. James L. Sims, 1858
4. George L. Seymour, 1858
5. Benjamin J. K. Anderson, 1868-1869
6. Benjamin J. K. Anderson, 1874
7. The Journeys and the Interior
Notes
Bibliography
Index