Read Every Day
"Between 1820 and 1861 more than 12,000 American blacks made the long voyage to Liberia. Many were members of families that had been brought to America in the 1600s. In the jungles of West Africa, these new settlers battled virulent tropical diseases, marauding wild beasts, and fierce native tribesmen; with only basic hand tools (draft animals could hardly survive the climate) they faced the challenge of carving out fields from one of the world's densest forests. To former masters and to their own people the new Liberians wrote letters about physical deprivations, often asking for help; they also reported proudly on the political progress of their adopted country, which became a republic in 1847.
Despite the discouragement and disappointment reflected in many of the letters, the settlers demonstrated a remarkable capacity to overcome the hostility of nature and to endure with courage and dignity. Bell I. Wiley has collected and annotated 273 letters written from Liberia by former slaves...
To read the letters is to reach a new understanding of the meaning of slavery and of freedom; one senses the strength of the black family that distance did not splinter; one wonders at the religious faith that endured through the unimagined hardships and disasters"