The Mississippi State Colonization Society And The Key Figures In The Mississippi Colonization Scheme
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
SubjectsAfrican American history
African American studies
Winans, William, 1788-1857
The colonization of free blacks to the Liberian coast by the American Colonization Society was one of the most interesting historical events of the 19th century. Many states took part in the colonization scheme and Mississippi was no different. In 1831, the Mississippi State Colonization Society saw the colonization of free blacks as a necessity for the preservation of the slave society in the state; however, this would not be the only reason the colonization society became important in the state. The key members of the Mississippi State Colonization Society supported colonization for other reasons and because of those differing motives, the society went through several stages from acclaim and support to disapproval by slaveholders and citizens alike. The influence of Dr. Stephen Duncan, Dr. John Ker and Reverend William Winans was vital to the success of the colonization society in the state but the publicity that they garnered also worked against them when the colonization society was criticized because of their actions. The successes of the Mississippi State Colonization Society were largely overshadowed by their failure to convince slaveholders that colonization would work in their favor to alleviate the worry of insurrection by slaves from the influence of free blacks and that the society was largely set up for the emancipation of slaves. The scheme of colonization became as hated as the cause of abolition in the state and, eventually, the Mississippi State Colonization Society ended with no applause for its success in transporting more than 570 emancipated and free blacks to Liberia and the creation of their own colony known as, "Mississippi in Africa," on the coast of Liberia in 1837. Duncan, Ker and Winans also suffered as their scheme of colonization in Mississippi made them outsiders in the state and placed a blemish on their reputations.