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Curriculum - 7th Grade Standards - Kansas History Standards - 1860s to 1870s (Benchmark 3) - Exodusters (Indicator 5)

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1880 census of Farmer Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas

1880 census of Farmer Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 1, 1880 through June 2, 1880
This excerpt of a census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of settlers in Farmer Township in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. The county included a black population (B=Black) who had settled there in 1879 with the help of the Freedmen's Relief Association.


1880 census of Nicodemus Township, Graham County, Kansas

1880 census of Nicodemus Township, Graham County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 8, 1880 through June 23, 1880
This census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of both white and black settlers in Nicodemus Township in Graham County, Kansas. This township had been settled by Exodusters in 1877 along the south fork of the Solomon River. Today, the town of Nicodemus is the only surviving Exoduster settlement west of the Mississippi River.


1880 census of Rock Creek Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas

1880 census of Rock Creek Township, Wabaunsee County, Kansas
Creator: United States. Census Office. 10th census, 1880
Date: June 11, 1880
This excerpt of a census schedule provides details--including the name, age, race, and occupation--of settlers in Rock Creek Township in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. The county included a black population (B=Black) who had settled there in 1879 with the help of the Freedmen's Relief Association.


About Nicodemus, The Daily Journal

About Nicodemus, The Daily Journal
Creator: Lawrence Daily Journal
Date: April 30, 1879
This article from the Lawrence Daily Journal discusses a newspaper article from the Chicago Tribune written during the Exoduster Movement in 1879 providing a brief history of the black community of freed people at Nicodemus, Kansas settled in 1877. Nicodemus is now a historic site administered by the National Parks Service.


Action of Other Cities on the 'Exodus' Question

Action of Other Cities on the 'Exodus' Question
Creator: Wyandotte Gazette
Date: April 25, 1879
This article includes information about Exoduster relief efforts in both Topeka and Lawrence. In Topeka, the Kansas Freedmen's Aid Association had appealed to other counties, asking them to form local aid societies to assist refugees in their respective areas. Lawrence citizens held a meeting in Fraser Hall to discuss the Exodus; the attendees recognized the legitimacy of the Exodus and were willing to provide aid and support for the emigrants.


Affidavits of colored men, in report and testimony of the select committee to investigate the causes of the removal of the Negroes from the southern states to the northern states, in three parts

Affidavits of colored men, in report and testimony of the select committee to investigate the causes of the removal of the Negroes from the southern states to the northern states, in three parts
Creator: United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Negro Exodus
Date: 1880
The Senate select committee charged with investigating the causes of the Exodus included this list of sworn affidavits in their report. The affidavits are given by ten black men and one black woman who outlined their treatment while living in Louisiana. Each affidavit includes their full name and parish (county) of residence. Although this source does not directly refer to Kansas, many Exodusters who came to Kansas during the post-Civil War period came from Louisiana.


A lesson of the exodus

A lesson of the exodus
Creator: Topeka Daily Capital
Date: April 23, 1879
This article discusses what lessons may be learned from the black exodus out of the South. The unnamed author maintains that Southerners will realize their dependence upon black labor. Furthermore, Northerners will be encouraged to see that they must continue what they began during the Civil War and that they cannot let white Southerners rule the country.


All colored people that want to go to Kansas

All colored people that want to go to Kansas
Creator: Nicodemus Town Company
Date: 1877
This broadside advertises the availability of land in Nicodemus, Graham County, Kansas encouraging African-American immigration to Kansas. As noted on the poster, some African-American residents of Lexington, Kentucky, were moving to Nicodemus and consolidating themselves with the Nicodemus Town Company. Nicodemus was settled in 1877, and is the only surviving all-black settlement west of the Mississippi that was settled by former slaves during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. It is now a historic site administered by the National Parks Service.


An appeal for help in behalf of the colored refugees in Kansas

An appeal for help in behalf of the colored refugees in Kansas
Creator: Rust, Horatio Nelson, 1828-1906
Date: January 22, 1881
This flyer, distributed by the Southern Refugee Relief Association of Chicago, Illinois, describes the dire situation of the African-American refugees relocated in Kansas. The secretary of this association, Horatio N. Rust, had taken this opportunity to pass along information relayed to him by Elizabeth Comstock, an aid worker in Topeka. Comstock was thankful for the donations of food and other goods, but asked for more assistance in feeding, clothing, and sheltering these refugees. The flyer also includes short excerpts of letters by agents of the refugee association who had direct knowledge of the emigrants' situation.


Andrew Atchison to John P. St. John

Andrew Atchison to John P. St. John
Creator: Atchison, Andrew
Date: August 22, 1881
In this letter, Andrew Atchison updates Kansas governor St. John on the condition of the Exoduster settlement near Dunlap, Kansas. Benjamin Singleton had established this colony in May, 1878, and according to Atchison, the black refugees (numbering around 200 families) were thriving. Another goal of Atchison's letter was to investigate the "practicability" of establishing a Business and Literary Academy in addition to their free public school. Atchison and some other white residents of the area had formed the Dunlap Aid Association to assist the Exodusters' efforts to obtain land and employment.


Articles of Corporation and By-Laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association

Articles of Corporation and By-Laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association
Creator: Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association (Topeka, Kan.)
Date: 1879
This pocket-sized booklet contains the articles of incorporation and by-laws of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association that assisted Southern blacks emigrating to Kansas influencing the Exoduster Movement of 1879. In addition, the booklet includes a listing of the Board of Directors and officers where Governor John P. St. John served as its president.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton
Date: 1880
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton was born a slave in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1809. Singleton escaped to Canada to gain his freedom, returning to Tennessee after the end of the Civil War. Seeking a better life for himself and for his fellow emancipated African Americans, he began his efforts to buy land in Tennessee for blacks to farm. His plan failed due to unfair prices set by white landowners. Singleton then looked to Kansas as a potential site for black emigration, organizing the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association with his business partner, Columbus Johnson. This company founded the Dunlap Colony in Morris County and a short-lived settlement in Cherokee County. Although his company did not create many successful colonies, through his advertisements he did help thousands of Exodusters relocate to Kansas, leading to his name as "Father of the Exodus." Singleton also organized a political group called the United Colored Links and later in life he promoted black colonization.


Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure
Date: 1876
This photograph depicts a steamboat containing freed people in Nashville, Tennessee, with Benjamin "Pap" Singleton and S. A. McClure superimposed in the foreground. Singleton, known as the "Father of the Exodus" for the Exoduster Movement in 1879, organized the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association to facilitate black emigration from the South. His town company founded the Dunlap Colony in Morris County, and a short-lived settlement in Cherokee County, Kansas. His widespread use of advertisements encouraged thousands of former slaves to emigrate to Kansas. McClure was one of his associates and advocate for emigration.


Certificate of Incorporation for the Singleton colony

Certificate of Incorporation for the Singleton colony
Creator: Singleton Town Company
Date: June 24, 1879
This certificate of incorporation laid out the details of the Singleton Colony's town company, including its purpose, term of duration, and number of directors. The document was signed by Benjamin Singleton, William Sizemore, A. D. DeFrantz, Fuel Williamson, George Wade, George Moon, John Elliott, Austin Dozier, John Davis, William Shrout, and John Wade. It was also notarized by Thomas Archer and certified by James Smith, Kansas Secretary of State.


Charles M. F. Striger to Governor John P. St. John

Charles M. F. Striger to Governor John P. St. John
Creator: Striger, Charles M. F.
Date: May 18, 1879
In this letter Charles Striger, a radical Republican from Kentucky, expresses his concern for free blacks in the South. With rather forceful language he berates Southern Democrats for their harassment of blacks. He also asks Gov. St. John to convince the North that it is their duty to aid any refugees seeking solace from Southern white oppression.


District No. 1 School in Nicodemus, Kansas

District No. 1 School in Nicodemus, Kansas
Date: 1977
This is an exterior view of the District No. 1 school building in Nicodemus, Graham County, Kansas. This schoolhouse, which forms part of the National Parks Service site, was built in 1918. It was built on the site of the first school in Graham County, which had been constructed in 1887 but was later destroyed by fire. The school closed in the 1950s. Nicodemus was an Exoduster settlement in Kansas, established in 1877.


Dunlap Academy and Mission School, Dunlap, Kansas

Dunlap Academy and Mission School, Dunlap, Kansas
Date: Between 1880 and 1899
This photograph portrays the students and teachers of the African American school in Dunlap, Morris County, Kansas. Dunlap was located in eastern Morris County and was established in May 1878. The colony was founded by Benjamin Singleton and the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association. This was the last colony Singleton founded in Kansas.


Elizabeth Comstock to John P. St. John

Elizabeth Comstock to John P. St. John
Creator: Comstock, Elizabeth
Date: June 16, 1881
In this letter Elizabeth Comstock, a former agent of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association, relates her experiences during her visit to the East coast in 1881. Comstock and some of her New York colleagues had the opportunity to speak with President James Garfield, giving him four main points to consider regarding the Exodus movement. According to her letter, Garfield was devoted to aiding black refugees. She also wrote of other matters, including how some blacks in southern Kansas were displeased about the dissolution of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association; in contrast, Comstock believed the demise of this association had some positive repercussions.


Exodusters at Floral Hall, Topeka

Exodusters at Floral Hall, Topeka
Creator: Worrall, Henry, 1825-1902
Date: July 5, 1879
This drawing from Harper's Weekly depicts the African-American refugees, called Exodusters, who were housed in Floral Hall on the Topeka Fairgrounds, near what is today the Expocentre. Many of these refugees are listening to a sermon or lecture being delivered on the platform. It was drawn by Henry Worrall.


Exodusters in Floral Hall, Topeka

Exodusters in Floral Hall, Topeka
Creator: Worrall, Henry, 1825-1902
Date: July 5, 1879
This drawing from Harper's Weekly depicts the living quarters of the African-American Exodusters housed in Floral Hall on the Topeka Fairgrounds. These emigrants were crowded into this building while waiting for more permanent lodgings and employment. The drawing was created by Henry Worrall.


Governor John P. St. John to Horatio N. Rust

Governor John P. St. John to Horatio N. Rust
Creator: St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916
Date: January 16, 1880
This informative twelve-page letter, written by John P. St. John, Governor of Kansas, details how the Freedman's Relief Association has been assisting the black refugees fleeing from the South. St. John was well acquainted with the workings of this association, being a board member himself, and therefore he gave specific details about how many emigrants have found employment. He also discusses the barracks in Topeka that housed around 200 emigrants in need of shelter. Many of these Exodusters were suffering during the cold winter, and St. John mentioned that the association needed lumber to build additional barracks and houses for some of the emigrants. Toward the end of the letter, St. John implored Rust to discover if Illinois (Rust's home state) would be able to accept any of these refugees.


Governor John P. St. John to Roseline Cunningham

Governor John P. St. John to Roseline Cunningham
Creator: St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916
Date: June 24, 1879
In this letter, Governor St. John responded to Cunningham's inquiry (from June 18, 1879) about receiving financial assistance to cover the cost of emigration to Kansas. He informs her that there is no society to aid her travel costs, and that the promise of "40 acres and a mule" is a misrepresentation. While he states that he does sympathize with the Southern blacks' situation, he advises Cunningham that emigrants should not come to Kansas if they are destitute. He also provides her with information about Kansas, including the cost of farmland and the typical wage for laborers. Governor St. John, in addition to his official government duties, was also on the board of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association, This association was formed to provide aid to Exodusters such as Cunningham, but unfortunately the association did not have adequate funding to provide for all the Exodusters fleeing from the South.


Governor John Pierce St. John to Rev. Henry Smith

Governor John Pierce St. John to Rev. Henry Smith
Creator: St. John, John Pierce, 1833-1916
Date: May 13, 1879
Governor John P. St. John wrote this letter in response to Rev. Smith's letter dated May 7, 1879. St. John informed Smith that the only problem with Southern blacks' emigrating into Kansas stemmed from the fact that many emigrants were destitute and in need of financial support. According to St. John, black settlers enjoy the same rights and privileges of white settlers. However, he also warned Smith that, while Kansas has a great deal to offer, the benefits of emigration were sometimes exaggerated. He encouraged Smith to be aware of these misrepresentations. St. John, in addition to his duties as governor, served on the board of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.


Henry and Clara Smith to John P. St. John

Henry and Clara Smith to John P. St. John
Creator: Smith, Henry and Clara
Date: May 7, 1879
Henry Smith and his daughter, Clara, wrote this letter to Kansas Governor John St. John requesting information about black emigration to Kansas. Smith wrote on behalf of his community in Marshall, Texas, saying that a number of people were hoping to emigrate because they were unable to make a living due to discriminatory practices. According to the letter, some of the Smith's white neighbors were threatening to follow black emigrants if they attempted to leave the area (to what end is unclear). In addition to his role as Kansas governor, St. John served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.


Ho for Kansas!

Ho for Kansas!
Creator: Singleton, Benjamin, 1809-1900
Date: March 18, 1878
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, a leader of the Exodus movement and president of the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association, distributed this pamphlet in Nashville, Tennessee, to encourage emigration to Kansas. Singleton would organize transportation for any African Americans eager to escape the discriminatory black codes being instituted in various parts of the South. Singleton and other emigrants believed that former slaves would be able to lead happier lives in a northern state such as Kansas.


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