Extremely Rare Copy of One of the Earliest Endorsements of African American EmigrationismRobert Campbell. A Pilgrimage to My Motherland. An Account of a Journey among the Egbas and Yorubas of Central Africa, In 1856-1860. New York: Published by Thomas Hamilton ; Philadelphia: By the Author, 1861.
First edition. Octavo (7.125 x 4.75 inches; 181 x 120 mm). 145, [1, blank] pages. With tinted lithograph frontispiece portrait of the author and tissue guard. Folding lithograph map affixed to recto of third front flyleaf.
Publisher's brown cloth, thick-thin rules stamped in blind, floral cornerpieces and lozenges stamped in blind, smooth spine lettered in gilt. Three early ownership inscriptions to top of front endpapers, including "Thedore L. Peters, 1896"; printed twentieth-century pictorial bookplate of renowned African and Near Eastern scholar John Ralph Willis to front pastedown. Some foxing and spotting, especially to front and rear flyleaves. Corners bumped, exposing pasteboard. Some loss to tail and head of spine. Headcap perished, with a bit of the spine coming away, but still holding tight. Overall a very good copy.
A significant book that represents one of the first book-length endorsements of emigrationism, and which presents not only socio-political but also economic arguments for its viability. A Pilgrimage to My Motherland is exceedingly rare: So near as we can tell, not a single copy has come up for auction in the last fifty years.
Jamaican-born Robert Campbell accompanied abolitionist Martin Delany on his expedition to explore the Niger Valley in 1859 to investigate the area as a potential emigration point for freed slaves. Their journey resulted in two books, both published in 1861: Delany's Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party and Campbell's A Pilgrimage to My Motherland. Although Delany returned to the United States, Campbell made good on a promise he writes in the book's preface, returning to Africa with his family and eventually founding the second English-language newspaper in West Africa, the Anglo African, in 1863. From the Professor John Ralph Willis Collection of Rare Africana.
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