...uninstructed, uncivilized, and unChristianized
          people to the western coast of Africa, with Bibles
          in their hands to teach the natives (sic) the
          truth of the gospel, social happiness, and moral
          virtue, [was] mockery and ridicule in the extreme.
          We are much in favor of Christianizing Africa, but
          not according to the plans of the Colonization
          Society, to purchase their lands of them, with a
          few paltry guns, beads, &c., and then establish
          forts and garrisons, to protect traders and traf-
          fickers without, perhaps, once naming the religion
          of Jesus to them (William Garrison, 1969).

Delany, perhaps more than most others, epitomized this political and economic astuteness.  He accepted early in his life that morality had its place in the struggle to remove oppression from the lives of Black people, but he quickly enjoined this morality position with one of economics.  He apparently realized that power, like truth, is the commodity of those who control the means of production.  Thus, Delany, in his biography, argued most forcibly that to move successfully both African America and Africa, it was "neither the moralist, Christian, nor philanthropist whom we now have to meet and combat, but the politician, the civil engineer, and skillful economist, who direct and control the machinery which moves forward, with mighty impulse, the nations and powers of the earth."

In 1836, Martin Delany laid out his "Project for an Expedition of Adventure to the Eastern Coast of Africa" to resolve the dilemma of his people.  Delany saw Eastern Africa in 1836 as virgin land and available to eventual settlement by Black people.  He wrote then: "With a settlement of enlightened freemen, who, with the immense facilities, must soon be grown into a powerful nation.  [For] Bounded by the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean, [Eastern Africa] presents the greatest facilities for an immense trade, with China, Japan, Siam, Hindoostan (sic), in short, all the East Indies -- or any other country in the world."

<back to previous page


continued on next page>


cologo3.gif (6014 bytes)

November 2000