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“L” is for Liberian exodus

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“L” is for Liberian exodus. The return of the Democratic Party to power in South Carolina in 1876, and the violence that accompanied it, raised anxiety among African Americans in the state and interest in the possibility of emigration. In South Carolina, interest in emigration became focused on the African nation of Liberia. Black leaders in South Carolina incorporated the Liberian Exodus Joint Stock Steamship Company in 1877. In March 1878 the company’s ship, the Azor, sailed from Charleston with 206 emigrants form South Carolina to Liberia. The effort bankrupted the company. Some of the Azor emigrants returned to South Carolina disappointed, but others enjoyed success in Liberia. In 1880 it was reported that 173 of the original emigrants from South Carolina’s Liberian exodus were still living in Liberia.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.