Migration to Ethiopia [Fannie B. Eversole, 1865-1951]
Beginning in 1930, a number of African Americans and West Indians migrated to Ethiopia in search of the "Promised Land" in the Back to Africa Movement affiliated with Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. The exact number of persons who left the U.S. was in question, with estimates as high as 100 and as low as 25.
The group was led by Arnold Ford, rabbi of Beth B'nai Abraham [Harlem, NY, Black Jews]. The migrating families were promised land, livestock, and a farming life, but the promises were unfulfilled. In 1932, the U.S. State Department issued a release to discourage others from migrating to Ethiopia due to the number of destitute American immigrants and because there were no government funds for transportation back to the States.
By 1934, 35 immigrants had returned to the U.S. In 1935, the Italy-Ethiopia War put an absolute end to any further trips home, by which time all but three of the prior immigrants had returned to the U.S. In September 1935, U.S. Legation Officials warned that any Americans who remained in Ethiopia did so against the advice of the State Department.
Three of the last African Americans to leave were the wife of Baron Jackson and her daughter, Predonia, from Alabama, and Mrs. Fannie B. Eversole. They had all gone to Ethiopia in 1931 as part of the Back to Africa Movement. The American Negro Benevolent Society paid their fares back to the U.S. Seventy-year old Fannie Eversole (b. 1865 in Paris, KY) arrived in New York Harbor October 8, 1935, aboard the ship Berengaria, according to the New York Passenger List in Ancestry.com.
Fannie Eversole had been the wife of Man G. Eversole (b. 1865 in VA), and according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, they had been homesteaders in Glade, Washington. Fannie Eversole was living in Los Angeles, CA, before leaving for Ethiopia in 1931. She had been a cook and housekeeper. Upon her return to the U.S., she made her home at 1621 W. 35th Street in Los Angeles and is listed as retired in the 1940s California Voter Registration Records. According to the California Death Index, Fannie Eversole died in Los Angeles on June 22, 1951.
For more see "Legation Officials advise Americans to leave Ethiopia," Florence Morning News, 9/11/1935, pp. 1 & 6; **"Addison E. Southard, U. S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, to U.S. Secretary of State in The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers; Africa for the Africans, 1923-1945, Volume X, by R. A. Hill; Judaising Movements, by T. Parfitt, et al.; and Black Zion, by Y. P. Chireau and N. Deutsch.
**[Addison E. Southard, 1884-1970, was born in Kentucky.]