Mo Tappan: Transnational Abolitionism and the Making of a Mende-American Town

Abstract

Established in the early 1850s in what is now southern Sierra Leone, Mo Tappan was a direct descendant of the Amistad slave revolt and served as a transatlantic extension of the American abolitionist movement. Named after philanthropist Lewis Tappan, the town was a symbolic, intentional community. As the forward operating station of the Mendi Mission, it was a hub of education, commerce, and cultural exchange. It was the site of the first systematic studies of the Mende language, the first printed material in Mende, and some of the earliest recorded examples of Mende literature and folklore. It also housed multiracial families of African and American missionaries who pushed a radical agenda of religious discipline, social justice, and economic transformation. Until recently, very little was known about Mo Tappan, its origins, or its operations. The discovery of a large cache of material belonging to John Brooks, the community's founder and primary leader, sheds new light on the making and unmaking of this unique Mende-American town.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/cwe.2018.0025
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture (CCISC)
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: © 2018 The Journal of the Civil War Era
Publication ISSN: 2159-9807
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-06-01
Accepted Date: 2018-06-01
Authors: Yannielli, Joseph (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8703-569X)

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