As early as 1820, Black Americans journeyed to the African continent via the American Colonization Society (ACS), which founded the Republic of Liberia in West Africa.
By 1880, the masses of poor Blacks realized America was determined to keep them at the bottom of society. They sought freedom and opportunity in Africa.
Consequently, wealthy Blacks and white liberals fought to prevent oppressed Black people from voluntarily returning to Africa.
Black emigration died down until Marcus Garvey introduced African Zionism and Pan-Africanism in the beginning of the 20th century, establishing successful trade routes within the African diaspora.
Garvey established the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the Black Star Line, and the Negro Factories Corporation to encourage Black economic independence worldwide.
He was not only motivated by the idea of racial separation, but by Black nationalism, which inspired later movements like the Nation of Islam.