The Indiana Colonization Society, formed 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves in Indiana to settlements in Liberia, Africa. The ICS was an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society (located in Washington D.C.) which formed in 1817. Indiana University offers an excellent guide to resources both online and in print on this topic. Free black people voiced strong opposition to this movement, as did many abolitionists, who viewed the agenda of the Society as counterproductive for racial reconciliation and ineffective as a scheme to combat slavery. Click on the document image or document title for links to the Indiana State Library Digital Collection to read the items in their entirety.
This 1855 circular (an advertisement or letter delivered to a large number of people) is addressed to the Friends of African Colonization. It is comprised of a one page introduction, and a long letter addressed to the Indian State Board of Colonization. Overwhelmingly white, supporters of the Colonization Movement advocated for relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves to Africa. Free black people voiced strong opposition to this movement, as did many abolitionists, who viewed the agenda of the Society as counterproductive for racial reconciliation and ineffective as a scheme to combat slavery. The circular author, Rev. James Mitchell (1818-1903), was a Methodist minister, an abolitionist and the Secretary of the American Colonization Society of Indiana. The introduction to the body of the circular, which is a communication addressed to the Indian State Board of Colonization, summarizes the purpose and intention of the movement as benevolent, and requests state action be fully funded in this direction. Mitchell criticizes legislation and action that essentially deports fee people of color to Liberia without adequate provisions or funding to ensure their safety and success. He argues that eh citizens of Indiana support this movement, and that colonization must be voluntary with philanthropic objectives, not oppressive or coercive. In the body of the circle, Mitchell argues that the, “time for action has come”, complains financial provisions are inadequate, explains Colonization Society delays, and details specific plans for colonization, including funding, and the location fo the settlement in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia. He also proposes an administration plan to eliminate inefficiency involving either the appointment of AME Rev. John McKay ( a black minister) as commissioner who would deal directly, in person with the government of Liberia, or deputizing the Rev. William W. Findley, a free black minister, charged with the promotion of the movement to free people of color.
Circular to the friends of African colonization – Indiana Print Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
The colonizationist, 1847-05 -Indiana Print Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
This is volume 2, issue 2 of “The Colonizationist”, a monthly publication fo the Indiana Colonization Society. It ws printed by the Indiana State Journal in Indianapolis. The ICS, formed in 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation fo free people of color and emancipated slaves to settlements in Liberia, Africa. Overwhelmingly white, supports of the Colonization Movement argued that an integrated society was impractical and impossible, and that black people could find liberty only in Africa. Free black people voiced strong opposition to this movement, as did abolitionists.
Twelfth annual report of the Indiana Colonization Society, 1847 – Indiana Print Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
Report on colonization for 1863 to the state board -Indiana State Agency Documents, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
This 1863 report on the colonization movement is authored by William W. Wick (1796- 1868), the Secretary of the State Board of Colonization. It is addressed to the Colonization Board, but intended for members of the legislature and general public. Wick writes to report the “total failure” of the Colonization Movement, which he attributes to the ambition of formerly enslaved people to be equal in status to white Americans. He cites only to two or three applications from 1852-1856 and only to or three inquires on the subject in 1863.
Letters on the relation of the white and African races in the United States, and the necessity of the colonization of the latter – Indiana Print Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
This pamphlet is a collection of private letters written by James Mitchell as agent of the Indiana Colonization Society, on the subject of the African Colonization Movement, detailing the actions, policies and intellectual and theoretical foundation of the organization. It is addressed to “Lincoln, Dougls, Bell, and Breckinridge”, candidates for the 1860 U.S. presidential election. The purpose of the pamphlet is to privately communicate the aims of the movement to popular leaders and the future president.
The speech of Oliver P. Morton, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, 1860 – Indiana Print Collection, Indiana Division, Indiana State Library
This document isa speech by Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, delivered in Terre Haute on March 10,, 1860. Morton (1823 – 1877) discusses campaign issues including popular sovereignty, his position on the Constitutions’s application to new territories as it relates to slavery and the fugitive slave law, hostile relations between northern and southern states, slavery, abolition, tariffs, and homesteading legislation. Morton and his running mate Henry S. Lane won the 1860 election. per their agreement, the new majority Republican General Assembly appointed Hale Senator and Morton became the 14th governor of Indiana.