Alfred Charles Sam; He Pioneered The Back-to-Africa Movement in 1914-1915

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Alfred Charles Sam was born in Appasu in the West Akim district in Ghana. He was educated at a mission school in Kyebi.He became a trader in goods like rubber and acquired the title “Chief” either from an uncle as an honor to recognize that he had traveled to the United States.

In May 1913, after he corresponded with Herbert Macaulay in Nigeria and travelled to the US, he began holding large camp-style meetings in Oklahoma to encourage African-Americans to buy $25 worth of stock in his Akim Trading Company, settle home and develop trade within West Africa and sell commodities such as gold, cocoa etc to the US and encourage blacks to come back home. He was cleared of fraud even though he was criticized. He was supported by blacks and they helped invest in his business.

Alfred Charles Sam

In 1914, 500 Black Americans were prepared on Sam’s ship, the S.S Liberia and met at Glavestone in Texas. 60 of the trained people were selected and left with Sam in August 1914, with a cargo of goods to establish their settlement. They got to Banjul, in Gambia, in December 1914, and Freetown, in Sierra Leone and were received. After their long delay they finally got to Saltpond, in 1915, and were received nicely.  Coming back to Akim failed because of official restrictions and diseases. Many went through difficulties and felt that Sam misled them. Some went to Liberia, Oklahoma and Africa.

In September 1915, before any journey again, Sam’s business collapsed, with everyone loosing their investments. Sam came back as a trader. Some said he moved to Liberia others said US. He died in the 1930s.

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