American Colonization Society

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Chronology of Events

  • 1816: Meetings held at Washington, D.C., to discuss forming a colonization society
  • 1817: “The American Society for Colonizing Free People of Colour of the United States” founded at Washington, D.C., with Bushrod Washington as president and Elias B. Caldwell as secretary Ebenezer Burgess and Samuel J. Mills sent to Africa to select a suitable site for the colony
  • 1820: First colonists sent to Africa where they resided at Sierra Leone
  • 1821: Eli Ayres and Robert Stockton purchased land for a colony at Cape Mesurado on the west coast of Africa
  • 1822: Ralph R. Gurley elected secretary of the society First settlers established at Cape Mesurado Jehudi Ashmun arrived in Africa and became the society's first colonial agent (died 1828)
  • 1824: Ralph R. Gurley visited the colonists Territory of new colony named Liberia; settlement named Monrovia
  • 1825: Publication of the first issue of the society's journal, African Repository
  • 1837: American Colonization Society incorporated in Maryland
  • 1837 - 1839 : Society reorganized; new constitution adopted Samuel Wilkeson named president of the board of directors and general agent in charge of administration (resigned 1841) Ralph R. Gurley named corresponding secretary
  • 1839: Commonwealth of Liberia organized under a governor appointed by the society Thomas Buchanan named governor of Liberia (died 1841)
  • 1841: Joseph Jenkins Roberts named governor of Liberia
  • 1844: William McLain elected secretary of the society
  • 1847: Liberia declared independence; Joseph Jenkins Roberts chosen president
  • 1857: Republics of Liberia and Maryland in Liberia united
  • 1858: William McLain elected financial secretary and treasurer of the society (died 1873)
  • 1862: United States formally recognized Liberia
  • 1873: William Coppinger elected financial secretary and treasurer (died 1892)
  • 1912 - 1913 : Society's active support of emigration ceased
  • 1929: Booker Washington Agriculture and Industrial Institute founded in Kakata, Liberia, largely supported by the American Colonization Society and the Phelps-Stokes Fund
  • 1954: Booker Washington Institute became a technical college attached to the University of Liberia, Kakata, Liberia
  • 1963: Directors voted to dissolve the society; functions ceased
  • 1964: American Colonization Society legally dissolved; assets turned over to the Phelps-Stokes Fund

From the guide to the American Colonization Society Records, 1792-1964, (bulk 1823-1912), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf American Colonization Society Records, 1792-1964, (bulk 1823-1912) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
African Americans--Colonization--Africa


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Ark ID: w62p74q2

SNAC ID: 35632561