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The Price of Liberty: African Americans and the Making of Liberia 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807855164
ISBN-10: 0807855162
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Price of Liberty" is outstanding scholarship that richly captures the meaning, the hopes, and the tragedy of the colonization movement both in the United States and Liberia. (David S. Cecelski, author of "The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina")

In the first book to examine closely both the American background and the post-migration lives of a substantial number of Liberian emigrants, Clegg focuses on the experiences of over 2,000 black North Carolinians who traded the racial crisis in North Carolina for a new set of challenges facing them in Liberia.

This is a brilliant and fascinating account that has filled in many gaps. . . . The narrative has a deep human quality, depicting the real predicament that the option of colonization posed for black people. This book will definitely illuminate the Liberia story and enliven an important period of American history. . . . There is a lot that Liberians can learn from this work that should provide a context for reconciliation and reconstruction. (Amos Sawyer, Interim President of Liberia (1990-1994) and author of "The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia")

"A welcome addition to the literature on the colonization movement . . . the most comprehensive and scholarly study that has yet been undertaken on the subject. . . . Essential reading for everyone interested in the colonization movement of Liberian history."
-- "American Historical Review"

"An engaging and thoroughly researched account of how just over 2,000 North Carolinian blacks left for Africa between 1820 and 1893 and of the role they played in the establishment of the nascent state of Liberia. . . . Brilliant."
-- "Diaspora"

Review

A welcome addition to the literature on the colonization movement . . . the most comprehensive and scholarly study that has yet been undertaken on the subject. . . . Essential reading for everyone interested in the colonization movement of Liberian history.--American Historical Review



Clegg writes elegant prose based upon painstaking research.--Books & Culture



Conceptually and tangibly authoritative.--Journal of American History



Professor Clegg has written an elegant and exceedingly interesting narrative of nineteenth-century efforts to colonize African Americans in Liberia. . . . Combining remarkably thorough research with graceful prose, Clegg has produced the best study ever written about this complex resettlement venture. It is a brilliant and remarkable exploration of race relations in trans-Atlantic perspective.--Lawrence J. Friedman, author of Gregarious Saints: Self and Community in American Abolitionism



The Price of Liberty is outstanding scholarship that richly captures the meaning, the hopes, and the tragedy of the colonization movement both in the United States and Liberia.--David S. Cecelski, author of The Waterman's Song: Slavery and Freedom in Maritime North Carolina



The Price of Liberty. . . . is an impressive and valuable work of scholarship.--Charlotte Observer



Clegg . . . reveal[s] how cherished myths about Africa and America ran aground on the shoals of political and cultural realities.--The Chronicle of Higher Education



An engaging and thoroughly researched account of how just over 2,000 North Carolinian blacks left for Africa between 1820 and 1893 and of the role they played in the establishment of the nascent state of Liberia. . . . Brilliant.--Diaspora



This book about the black North Carolinian's emigration to Liberia is an excellent inquiry into the socioeconomic life of a people, who until now, seem to have had no history.--International Journal of African Historical Studies



This is a brilliant and fascinating account that has filled in many gaps. . . . The narrative has a deep human quality, depicting the real predicament that the option of colonization posed for black people. This book will definitely illuminate the Liberia story and enliven an important period of American history. . . . There is a lot that Liberians can learn from this work that should provide a context for reconciliation and reconstruction.--Amos Sawyer, Interim President of Liberia (1990-1994) and author of The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia



Elegantly written and extensively documented with Liberian and North Carolinian archival materials, Clegg offers a fascinating view of the origins of Liberia as well as some intriguing clues to its current dilemmas.--Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (April 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807855162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807855164
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,678,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Professor Clegg tells the compelling story of freed African Americans who helped found Liberia, the West African country whose destiny, for better or for worse, has been intertwined with its 'stepchild-like' relationship with the United States. The book is well written and a fascinating read both for the specialist and the general reader. My only critique is that by focusing on one particular group of individuals, Professor Clegg sacrifices the proverbial forest for a tree, albeit in this case a most alluring tree. This book would best be read by someone who has first taken a look through a good political history of Liberia like the ones written by Professors Amos Claudius Sawyer, THE EMERGENCE OF AUTOCRACY IN LIBERIA (Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1992); Stephen Ellis, THE MASK OF ANARCHY (New York University Press, 1999); and John Peter Pham, LIBERIA: PORTRAIT OF A FAILED STATE (Reed Press, 2004).
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Very few African Americans on this side of the Great Pond know about the African American connection to the founding of Liberia in 1821...very sad. Liberia is still a forgotten colony and country by the United States who could have done more to help develop Liberia into a stable country. This book reinforces my historical knowledge of Liberia which was home for me during the seventies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book shows the terrific history of the making of Colony and therefore State of Liberia.
It is very well written, it is very deep in the field though, it can be a committing reading. Buy it if you want to have a well-written idea of what happened when the freed blacks of America decided (more or less freely) to go back "home".

It gives a perfect idea of the atmosphere during those days...
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Clegg tells the compelling story of freed African Americans who helped found Liberia, the West African country whose destiny, for better or for worse, has been intertwined with its 'stepchild-like' relationship with the United States. The book is well written and a fascinating read both for the specialist and the general reader. My only critique is that by focusing on one particular group of individuals, Professor Clegg sacrifices the proverbial forest for a tree, albeit in this case a most alluring tree. This book would best be read by someone who has first taken a look through a good political history of Liberia like the ones written by Professors Amos Claudius Sawyer, THE EMERGENCE OF AUTOCRACY IN LIBERIA (Institute for Contemporary Studies, 1992); Stephen Ellis, THE MASK OF ANARCHY (New York University Press, 1999); and John Peter Pham, LIBERIA: PORTRAIT OF A FAILED STATE (Reed Press, 2004).
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This, along with Marie Tyler-McGraw's "An African Republic," and Eric Burin's "The Peculiar Solution," is one of only three purely scholarly treatments on Liberian history to come out in the last decade. Fortunately, all three works are excellent. The fundamental problem with "The Price of Liberty" is that it focuses too sharply on North Carolina rather than the nation as a whole. Of course, any attempt to cover the national sentiment toward Liberia and the American Colonization Society would be lengthy, however, the topic is not yet complete enough for such focused studies. Thus far, from the scholarly literature on the subject, we--the academic community--have two case studies on the ACS, Liberia, and the United States: Virginia and North Carolina. This, simply, is not enough. Although brilliant works such as "The Price of Liberty" are inherently valuable to the academic, and more general, community, they fall short of uncovering to full history and story of such an interesting movement in the United States. Professor Clegg writes fluently and clearly, and covers more ground than Tyler-McGraw, stretching from North Carolina, to Louisiana, to Liberia, and back again. But, unfortunately, he does not move far enough beyond North Carolina to complete the needed understanding of the American emigration movement, or the reality that was Liberia in between 1822 and 1847, and even after. Unfortunately there is no solid history of the AMERICAN understanding of Liberia's history, or even the LIBERIAN understanding of that extremely important international event. That said, "The Price of Liberty" does offer a brilliant scholarly look at that event from a pointed perspective. With works like this, and those of Tyler-McGraw and Burin, we take ever growing steps toward a more complete understanding of Liberia's importance not only in Africa and the African American community, but to the history of the United States as well. Unfortunately, though, we still have to wait for more.
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