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American Colonization Society

Presbyterian Reverend Robert Finley founded the American Colonization Society on December 28, 1816 with the assistance of Elias B. Caldwell, Francis Scott Key (Star-Spangled Banner fame), and other influential whites. The organization wanted to send free and recently freed African Americans “back to Africa” as a way to rid the United States of free black labor and promote Christian morality and industry on the African coast. Finley’s connections to many wealthy businessmen, slave owners and government officials earned the organization $100,000 to relocate freed men and women. Significant involvement from slave owners deterred African American support.

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This program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.