Caribbean Crossing: African Americans and the Haitian Emigration Movement
When people learn about African American migration in the early 1800s, they generally talk about the African Colonization Society (ACS). What people generally do not know—and it has been overshadowed—is that there was briefly a movement to immigrate to the new country of Haiti, the first nation run by free blacks. This short book examines that migration to Haiti and the reasons why it was short-lived. Sara Fanning does a good job exploring the reasons Haiti supported the move and how it was a quest to gain legitimacy and recognition as a nation-state and how they felt they could get recognized by the United States if they helped with the U.S. with its “race problem,” as it was termed back then. Even though it was short-lived, the migration had an impact on the African American community and how they view their role in the United States.
Even though it is well written, my main complaint about Fanning’s book is that she tries to connect this migration with migrants coming over from Germany and Ireland around the same time. It just does not work and it makes her overall argument weaker and drags the book down in spots.