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Becoming African in AmericaRace and Nation in the Early Black Atlantic, 1760-1830$
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James Sidbury

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320107.001.0001

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African Churches and an African Nation

African Churches and an African Nation

Paul Cuffe, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the American Colonization Society

(p.157) 6 African Churches and an African Nation
Becoming African in America

James Sidbury (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the story of the first expedition sent to Africa by the American Colonization Society (ACS) and the efforts of two of Paul Cuffe's close friends and supporters — John Kizell, a Nova Scotian leader of the Friendly Society that Cuffe had helped to found in Freetown, and Daniel Coker, one of the founders of the AME and Cuffe's point man in Baltimore — to take control of the fledgling colony away from the white officials sent out by the Colonization Society. Kizell, who served as the local host of the venture, and Coker, who was the leader of the settlers, sought to found a black “African” colony on Sherbro Island (off the coast of southern Sierra Leone) that might develop into a commercial center of the sort that Cuffe envisioned. The settlement at Sherbro disintegrated in a welter of recriminations, as Coker and Kizell sought to blame each other for its failures and to retain favor with leaders of the Colonization Society in the United States. Coker largely won the battle of reputations, but both moved back to Sierra Leone, and neither played any further role in the ACS's efforts in Africa. As they withdrew, the vision of an African nation that had grown out of early black authors' assertions of African identities and that had flowered in Paul Cuffe's nationalist project began to lose its grip on black activists within the United States and on black emigrants moving to the American colony that was soon founded in Liberia.

Keywords:   Africa, American Colonization Society, John Kizell, Daniel Coker, Paul Cuff, colony, African nation, Sierra Leone

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