This Our Dark Country

This Our Dark Country Cover

This Our Dark Country

The American Settlers of Liberia

By Catherine Reef

Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618147854, 144pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2002


In the early 19th century, the American Colonization Society was formed with the sole intent of creating a colony for free blacks and former slaves. Both blacks and whites took passionate stands either for or against this proposal. Despite the controversy, the first group of settlers landed on the west coast of Africa in 1822. They faced numerous problems arising from the unfamiliar climate, hostile encounters with the indigenous people, and the failure of other nations to recognize their independence, but they managed to build a nation, naming it Liberia, for liberty. Today, partly because of these difficult beginnings, Liberia is a country plagued by unrest.

In this accessible and well-written book, award-winning author Catherine Reef presents a significant but as of yet relatively unexplored chapter in African American history. Her account is filled with excerpts from diaries and letters of the settlers and richly illustrated with period photographs and prints, many of which have never been published before. Photo gallery, endnotes, bibliography, index.

About the Author

Catherine Reef is the author of more than 35 nonfiction books for young people. Her books for Clarion include the highly acclaimed JOHN STEINBECK and SIGMUND FREUD, which was the recipient of the 2002 Sydney Taylor Award, presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries. She lives in College Park, Maryland.

Praise For This Our Dark Country

"The handsome design makes the hard facts accessible….many readers will use the meticulous endnotes. A must for history collections." Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"Taking care to explain the prejudice and promise that relocation held, the foundations of this seldom-explored topic are readily understood." School Library Journal

"Reef is. . .skillful. A well-selected gallery of maps, period lithographs, and captioned photos enhance the presentation." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

". . . an engrossing look for . . . all ages at both a continent and a chapter of American history too often ignored." --Ruminator Review Ruminator Review

"An unbiased, journalistic style...award-winning author...photographs...add interest...fills a void in African-American history collections and is highly recommended." VOYA (VOICE OF YOUTH ADVOCATES) VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)