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[Detail] Map of Liberia. Lith. by E. Weber & Co., 1845.

2) Black Americans' Search For Equality

Map of Liberia, 1845

Map of Liberia, 1845. This map was prepared for an American Colonization Society book by ACS agent Jehudi Ashmun.

Maps of Liberia provides students an opportunity to learn more about African Americans' quest for equality. The movement to colonize Liberia was seen by many as a chance to escape the inequalities institutionalized in the United States by law and social custom. Through its system of slavery and constitutional denial of black Americans' rights as citizens, even free black Americans did not live as equals to others. To learn more about the African-American experience in the United States at this time, have students browse the collections African-American Mosaic, African American Odyssey.

By searching on American Colonization Society in African-American Perspectives, 1818-1907 and From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909 students can retrieve accounts of how African Americans lived in Liberia. To what extent did living in Liberia provide black Americans freedom or equality? If you had been a free African American in the United States with an opportunity to move to Liberia, would you have? Why or why not?

Students can browse Maps of Liberia by Subject Index to look for the places in Africa discussed in the American Colonization Society documents.