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Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




My work contributes to current scholarship on African colonization by providing a specific case study of a Virginia plantation mistress who chose to send a number of her slaves to Liberia. A microhistory such as Ann’s is useful because it allows us to analyze the larger questions regarding African colonization on a smaller scale where we can take into account the small yet key details and nuances which are lost when we try to understand colonization from a wider point of view. I attempt to better understand why Ann Randolph Page found colonization so appealing that she was willing to sacrifice significant personal time, effort, emotional energy, wealth, and social expectations in order to send thirty-three slaves to Liberia. A clearer understanding of Ann’s motivations and aims for colonization will help explain how the American Colonization Society was able to garner as many enthusiastic supporters as it did during the 1820s and 1830s, despite the lack of concrete evidence of Liberia’s prosperity at that time. My work also contributes to recent historians’ study of paternalism by pointing out how Ann attempted to describe herself as benevolent in her attempts to “reform” an institution simultaneously attacked by black and white abolitionists as singularly cruel and sinful. Her belief that enslaved people had to be “prepared” for freedom and could never find equality within Virginia is an illustration of southern paternalism. Finally, my study of Ann’s colonization venture is distinctive because the slaves from Annfield who immigrated to Liberia do not remain a mere list of numbers. As far as is possible with the limited sources available, I have tried to transform the enslaved people who lived at Annfield into real, living people with individual names, particular characteristics, family ties, and personal stories.