This study has had a long gestation, from research long ago to insights
gained over the last few years. Initially I published a study of the crisis
surrounding accusations of slavery against Liberia in 1929. Several years
later, I was a contributing editor to The Marcus Garvey and Universal
Negro Improvement Association Papers. I knew Liberia the place; I knew
less of Garvey and the circumstances that had produced him. The editor
of the papers, Robert A. Hill, sent me tons of material whetting my
appetite to know more. I thank him very much for that impetus. My
growing interest in the Diaspora led me to wonder why African Ameri-
can emigrationism had been seen by many as an impractical, if glorious,
detour on the road toward participation in a multiracial society. Ten
years ago Randall Kennedy of the Harvard Law School suggested to me
that I pursue the question. Time and other projects pulled me in other
directions, but the questions remained. This book is my answer to some
of them, and it hopes to raise other questions, especially with regard to
human rights and the frameworks in which we view them.
I conducted research in Liberia, Great Britain, the United States, and
Spain. In Liberia I went through the National Archives before the over-
throw of the Tolbert regime and have not retraced my steps. The same is
true of the United Kingdom. I have returned to Spain several times. The
Archivo General de la Administración Civil del Estado in Alcalá de
Henares, which was closed to me earlier, is now open. In the late 1980s
I was also given access to previously closed archives in the Republic of
Equatorial Guinea.
I thank all those who aided my early e√orts, especially Joel Jutkowitz
who helped me first get into print on Liberia and labor. As an African-
ist who has ‘‘drifted’’ toward the Diaspora, I want to thank all of those
who have helped me along the way. African American collections have
been invaluable in bridging that ‘‘middle passage’’ between the formerly
artificially separated fields of Africa and its Diaspora. The Moorland-
Spingarn Research Center at Howard University was more than helpful.
I thank chief librarian Jean Church and Ida Jones, Donna Wells, and
Cli√ord Muse for their assistance, especially with my insistent requests
for photographs. I thank Leila Torres of the center for her moral sup-
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