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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, or OLLI at Auburn, will host a brown bag lunch and learn Aug. 8, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Clarion Inn and Suites located at 1577 South College St. The featured speaker for the lunch is Matthew McDaniel, who will provide a talk from his book "Emigration to Liberia: From the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama, 1853-1903." The program is free and open to the public. OLLI members, guests and friends are invited. Attendeers should bring their own lunch.

McDaniel will provide stories of African Americans who left Georgia and Alabama to start new lives in Liberia. During the uncertainty of the post-Civil War years, approximately five hundred African Americans left the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama to start new lives in the West African Republic of Liberia. "Emigration to Liberia: From the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama, 1853-1903" tells their stories. McDaniel reveals that most emigrants sought safety, escape from a still intact white supremacist society and greater opportunities for prosperity, while black nationalism and evangelical zeal motivated others. Liberia would be their "own" country and afford an opportunity to spread Christianity throughout Africa. All of the emigrants faced many hardships in Liberia. Some returned to the United States; however most stayed, and a small number prospered. The book contains some 500 names of those who made the journey to Liberia.

McDaniel grew up in Social Circle, Georgia. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He received a Master of Historic Preservation degree from the University of Georgia in 2002 and a Master of Arts degree in History from Louisiana State University in 2007. McDaniel has more than a decade of cultural resources experience as an architectural historian, historic preservation planner, museum director and archivist. He works as an architectural historian with Mulkey Engineers and Consultants. He lives in Columbus, Georgia, with his wife, Dorothy, and daughter, Lucy May.