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Yorktown HS Graduate Writes Book About African-American Colonization

Ousmane Power-Greene
Ousmane Power-Greene Photo Credit: Courtesy of Clark University

YORKTOWN, N.Y. --  A Yorktown High School graduate and standout lacrosse player is now a published author.

Ousmane Power-Greene, an associate professor of history at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is the author of "Against Wind and Tide: The African American Struggle Against The Colonization Movement."

Power-Greene will be doing a book signing and discussion at The Field Library in Peekskill on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The book is about African-Americans who battled the American Colonization Society (ACS), which was founded in 1816 to return free blacks to Liberia.

Although ACS members considered free black colonization in Africa a benevolent enterprise, most black leaders rejected the ACS, fearing that the organization sought forced removal.

"I was interested in African-American social political movements," Power-Greene said. "I had worked with a scholar doing work on the abolitionist movement. I came to understand the anti-coloionization movement was part of an important broader struggle for equality."

Power-Greene said researching the book was a challenge as records from the movement are sparse.

"The movement against it is really not prevalent," Power-Greene said. "It would almost be easier to write about the settling of Liberia than the struggle against it."

Power-Greene said that in the Midwest, where states were still being founded, many whites were very pro-colonization.

"They weren't so interested in having free blacks live in those states," Power-Greene said. "They wanted to compel free blacks to go to Liberia so they wouldn't be citizens."

The book also serves as an early history of Liberia and addresses the issue of African-American equality.

"It's an issue that goes way back," Power-Greene said. "We need to realize that and have that context of where we are today."

Power-Greene said he wants people to take away the story of African American agitation and their struggle to believe in the United States.

"This is history that people don't talk about," Power-Greene said. "You almost implicitly assume that African-Americans in this era were kind of silent."

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