New York: African Civilization Society, 1858. Single leaf folded, 4 pp. 8 ¼ x 7 ¾ inches. Good. Item #List021
The African Civilization Society was formed in 1858 by several prominent members of Brooklyn’s Weeksville community. The second article of this document, the organization’s constitution, states its goals as follows: “The objects of this Society shall be the evangelization and civilization of Africa, and of the descendents of African ancestors in any portion of the earth, wherever dispersed. Also, the destruction of the African slave trade, but the introduction of lawful commerce and trade into Africa; the promotion and growth of cotton and other prodcuts there… the elevation of the colored population of our own country, and of other lands.” The group’s founding members included Henry Highland Garnet, Martin Delany, Junius Morel and many other prominent members of the African-American community in Brooklyn. With the exception of Theodore Cuyler, the only white founding member, the organization had the distinction of being one of the only organizations of its kind to be organized almost exclusively by African-Americans (a trait that differentiated the group from the African Colonization Society). Frederick Douglass, though friends with many of the organization’s founding members, opposed the idea of African colonization and was therefore not a supporter.
The constitution lays out thirteen articles of incorporation, many dealing with the logistical concerns of the organization. The preamble lays out the mission of the organization and extols the agricultural potential of Africa: “The facts which have become public concerning [Africa’s] climate, soil, productions, minerals, and vast capabilities for improvement, are such, that we can no longer mistake the intention of the Divine Mind toward Africa.” We locate eight surviving copies of this document with multiple OCLC entries. This copy in good minus condition with a small tear with loss to upper margin and some faint staining to margins, pages nearly separated at fold but could easily be restored. Remains quite presentable and bright.