They Put Their Wealth - And Lives - On The Line For A Chance At Freedom
After migrating to the U.S., Ghanaian-born entrepreneur “Chief” Alfred Sam yearned for Black Americans to see the land their ancestors were stolen from.
He planned to lead hundreds on the trip of a lifetime - and his next brilliant move got the ball rolling.
To purchase a German steamer and fund the initial voyage, he sold $25 stocks in his company, Akim Trading. An intrigued following invested their savings - but not without some reservations.
Though there were some who initially doubted Sam’s motives, the African Pioneer newspaper still endorsed his radical plans.
So by the summer of 1914, 60 passengers set sail on the S.S. Liberia from a Galveston, Texas port, heading straight for Saltpond, Ghana. Inspiring as that first trip was, it was not without its share of difficulties.
Several stops at other ports delayed their passage and prematurely drained resources. Illness set in - all of which caused morale to suffer.
After arriving late yet alive, the travelers were warmly welcomed by Ghanaians.
Sam’s investors’ dreams of developing their own townships were short-lived, however, when local leaders refused to allow foreigners to own property.
Unfortunately, Sam’s Back-To-Africa movement ended with the sale of the S.S. Liberia and a collapsed company, but he took a risk, and because he did, achieved at least part of his aim to show Black people their heritage firsthand.
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