For Land and Liberty: Black Territorial Separatism in the South, 1776-1904
Sanderfer, Selena Ronshaye
This dissertation uses social movement theory to examine the participation of black lower class southerners in movements supporting territorial separatism from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century. This group participated in British resettlements to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Sierra Leone during the Revolutionary Era and colonization movements to Liberia sponsored by the American Colonization Society during the antebellum period in order to acquire land and liberty. The apex of southern black territorial separatism occurred after the Civil War when black southerners attempted to achieve these goals by independently initiating emigration movements to Liberia and the Midwest. The southern black masses were motivated to participate in movements for territorial separatism by their desire for economic independence and political equality. Movement emergence is examined using spatial processes and grievance theories and examinations of movement structure use political processes and resource mobilization theories. Movements supporting separatism emerge after severe changes in political or economic power are worsened by violence and are also affected by physical proximity. Areas of movement structure such as ideology, participation, the diffusion of information, framing, organization, leadership, and strategy are analyzed and show remarkable consistency throughout the multiple phases of southern black territorial separatism. Lower class blacks in the South rationalized separatism as a means to practically improve their condition. They expressed views different from those expressed by Northern upper class black supporters and their experiences offer researchers an alternative view regarding the development of Black Nationalism in the United States.