The Settlement of Liberia – Part III

Lead: In 1820 the American Colonization Society began to send freed blacks back to Africa.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Formed at a time when most Americans were racists, either in favor of slavery or convinced that the continued presence of blacks was harmful to white society, the American Colonization Society established a settlement on the coast of West Africa. After the death of many settlers and initial setbacks, the Society sent Jehudi Ashmun, an Episcopal clergyman, to lead the colony. Ably assisted by Elijah Johnson, a settler whose leadership and timely intervention had prevented the collapse in the early days, Ashmun organized a defense force, started trade with the interior and, in 1824, led in establishing the colony as Liberia with a capital at Monrovia, named in honor of President James Monroe.

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The Settlement of Liberia – Part II

Lead: In 1816 a group of whites, disturbed by the presence of black Americans, slave and free, began to plan to
send them back to Africa.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early 1800s most Americans supported slavery. Whether for economic reasons or through a
general sense of racial superiority, many whites considered blacks to be sub-human, eligible for exploitation. Only a small number were in favor of emancipation and full civil rights for blacks. An even smaller body of opinion was represented by the American Colonization Society formed in 1816. This group believed that the continued presence of blacks, slave and free, had a corrosive effect on white society. They proposed to return freed blacks to Africa.

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The Settlement of Liberia – Part I

Lead: The first colony of the United States was an unofficial way of dealing with the problem of black slavery:
send them back to Africa.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the nagging problems left for future resolution by the Founders was what to do about the
millions of black slaves. The Second Continental Congress did debate the issue, but, over Thomas Jefferson's protests, the premier accomplishment of this body, the Declaration of Independence, with all its elegance and high-flying rhetoric, failed to make the obvious connection between principle and practice. It read as if the slaves did not exist. At least the Constitutional Convention of 1787 recognized their presence, but the solution there was muddled and revealed once again that on the question of black slaves the Founders were bitterly divided. For the purpose of representation in the new House of Representatives, each slave was counted as three-fifths of a human being. It was not the infant republic's finest hour.

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White Officers and Colored Troops – Part III

Lead: On July 18, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry led a daring assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. It was the largest civil war engagement involving black troops

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.               

Content: The 54th Massachusetts Infantry was made up of black troops and white officers. It was one of the first regiments formed after the U.S. government authorized the enlistment of African Americans. It was Federal policy, however, that they had to be led by white officers. Early in 1863 Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts, an abolitionist and advocate of African American enlistment, began organizing the unit. He was committed to forming a model regiment and offered command to Robert G. Shaw, a battle-tested, well-educated, young officer from a prominent Boston abolitionist family. Shaw accepted, earned the respect of his regiment, which included former slaves, free blacks and the most well known of their recruits – Lewis and Charles Douglass – the sons of abolitionist militant Frederick Douglass. Under Shaw’s command, the regiment was organized, disciplined, and operated on the assumption that the notion blacks could not fight on a par with white troops was inaccurate and emerged from social bigotry.

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White Officers and Colored Troops – Part II

Lead: In the uncertain year of 1863 during the Civil War, the Federal government established the Bureau of Colored Troops. Its goal: recruit, enlist, and muster African Americans into the army.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.               

Content: Up until the Civil War, blacks were not permitted officially to serve in the Army. With the passage of the Militia Act in 1862 (which allowed them to be used in military service) and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect in early January, 1863, northern white public prejudice against black military service began to break down. Whites began to show a willingness to tolerate the enlistment of black troops – particularly as the need for manpower in the Union Army escalated after the heavy body count in 1862.

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White Officers and Colored Troops – Part I

Lead: On July 17, 1862, during the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passed the Militia Act. African-Americans became an official part of the Federal military establishment.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Under a 1792 law, blacks officially were barred from army service, not permitted to enlist. Despite this prejudice blacks had served in both the American Revolution and would serve in the War of 1812. In mid-1862, the Lincoln Administration, sensing the need to expand strengthen the Union Army, took the first steps allowing blacks to enter service. The Militia Act permitted colored soldiers to serve in “any military or naval service for which they may be found competent.”

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Harriet Tubman III

Lead: In 1861, hard against the onset of the American Civil War, Underground Railroad leader, Harriet Tubman, despite the danger, continued her crusade for freedom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the time the American Civil War broke out, Harriet Tubman, a former slave, was well known for her successful forays into the south where she rescued hundreds of slaves. Between 1850 and 1860 she was a leader or "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of antislavery activists, who facilitated passage of freedom for fugitive slaves in the South. Tubman, herself, took great risks on nineteen rescue missions - all of which were successful.

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Harriet Tubman II

Lead: In 1850 Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave, began a series of return visits to the South. There she gathered other slaves and guided them to freedom.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Tubman was born into slavery on the eastern shore of Maryland.
In 1849 at the age of 29, she rode the Underground Railroad to Philadelphia. There she met William Still, the antislavery activist and one of the founders of this secret effort to bring slaves out of the South. She worked hard to familiarize herself with the Underground Railroad operation and the routes it followed and became trained as a "conductor."

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