African History 4: Freed Slave States
What do you do when the people you stole from their homeland to do your work start doing too much of your work? Send them right back of course. And spend money building up a town for them to live in. And use military force to make sure no more of them get shipped back to you. We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried...
|World History||African History|
Well, at least in the sense that having someone briefly stop punching you in the stomach is [Man punching someone in the stomach]
We tend to think about the abolitionist movement as people finally standing up for what's right. [Man standing up against a soldier]
But abolitionism back in the day wasn't always for moral reasons. [Protesters]
Many Europeans and Americans supported abolition because they didn't like the competition that
white workers faced from increasing numbers of slaves and the free poor African-Americans. [Bunch of people looking for work]
What can we say?
Sometimes even the good guys are jerks… [Man steals a handback from an old lady]
Instead of making room in their societies for freed slaves, many abolitionist societies
schemed to ship freed slaves back to Africa as colonists. [Slaves are put on a boat back to Africa]
Abolition societies paid to create colonies for free black people at Freetown in Sierra [Abolitionist giving money to a builder]
Leone, for Afro-Brits….
And Liberia, for African-Americans.
Abolition societies at the time said that they were…sending people home. [People waving goodbye next to a cruise ship]
But the thing is…
Africa wasn’t a home for these people. [Pictures of ransacked house]
The reality was that most free black people involved in the scheme had been born in Europe
They’d never even seen West Africa.
They didn’t speak the languages and were completely different culturally. [Man looking confused]
Doesn’t sound too homey, right?
It would be like if you were told you can either stay in horrible poverty and face ridiculous
racism where you grew up…
Or you could go colonize Northern Quebec. [Woman with her thumbs up]
Not an easy choice, although smoked meat poutine is pretty much the best thing ever. [Man eating]
In the end, though, these new colonies of freed blacks did grow and prosper. [Families looking happy down a street]
Especially compared to any white colonies that tried to get going. [Man looking confused trying to build a house]
Without any natural resistance to malaria, sleeping sickness, and yellow fever, white
colonies tended to wither and die pretty quickly. [Hospital full of white people]
So it was hard to get whites to move to Africa.
Sales pitches like…
“You might live 10 or even 15 years before a fever makes you literally sweat to death. [Man trying to convince someone to go to Africa]
But jobs and adventure abound...”
…didn't attract a lot of white colonists.
But most people of African descent still had above-average immunity to most tropical diseases, [Mosquito tries to bite a man]
even if they weren’t born on the continent.
So they were able to thrive.
Still, they were completely dependent on Western powers. [Man riding a horse in the desert]
The Western powers wouldn’t have it any other way.
They’re clingy like that.
Many in Africa, Europe, and America saw these black colonists as the start of greater Western
power and influence in Africa.
Sierra Leone, in particular, became the front door for future British conquest in Africa. [British soldiers queuing at Sierra Leone]
Because leaving the freed slaves in peace would’ve been too easy.
On the bright side, the British warships that Sierra Leone resupplied also attacked slave
traders and forts.
The British took the slaves they freed and offered to allow them to settle in Sierra [Fence is put up in front of slaves]
Leone rather than return to the hostile kingdoms that sold them in the first place.
Not the worst deal we ever heard.
So even though Britain did use Sierra Leone as the launching pad to colonize more of Africa…in [Rocket with colonization on it takes off]
some ways it was a haven for freed slaves. [Rocket lands on Africa]
Sometimes we wish at least one thing in history could be totally good.
But… we also wish the pigeons outside our window pooped gold, and that’s not going [Pigeon drops gold on the windowsill]
to happen either…