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

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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.


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.


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.


Isaiah T. Montgomery to Governor John P. St. John

Isaiah T. Montgomery to Governor John P. St. John
Creator: Montgomery, Isaiah T. (Isaiah Thorton), 1847-1924
Date: May 23, 1879
Isaiah T. Montgomery of Hurricane, Mississippi, wrote Governor John P. St. John of Topeka, Kansas, concerning the migration of twenty five families of black refugees from Mississippi to Kansas. Montgomery described the difficulties faced by the families and a visit he made to Kansas to assess their conditions. He also critiqued the relief programs in Kansas and made recommendations for assisting present and future migrants. In addition, the letter addresses Montgomery's broader effort to establish a community for black refugees in Kansas and the oppressive conditions under which blacks lived in Mississippi. Montgomery dictated a letter sent to him from William Nervis regarding the conditions of the refugees. During 1879 and 1880 a mass exodus of blacks from the deep South, known as the Negro Exodus, overwhelmed the state's ability to accommodate the refugees. These refugees were called Exodusters. Governor St. John established a Freedman's Relief Association to assist the migrants but its efforts were largely seen as a failure.


Meeting of colored people in convention at Richmond, Virginia

Meeting of colored people in convention at Richmond, Virginia
Creator: Topeka Daily Capital
Date: May 23, 1879
According to this brief, unsigned article in the Topeka Daily Capital, black delegates in Richmond, Virginia, had convened to consider the welfare of blacks in their state. They concluded that, due to white Southern oppression, black Virginians should seriously consider forming emigration societies.


"Pap" Singleton songster

"Pap" Singleton songster
Creator: Hickman, Hester
Date: 1877
This pamphlet, sold by Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, the "Father of the Exodus," includes the lyrics for two songs advertising black Southerners' emigration to Kansas. The first song, "The Land that Gives Birth to Freedom," alludes to the hardships of life in Tennessee and the promise of a better life in Kansas. The second song, "Extending Our Voices to Heaven," is a farewell message to those left behind. Lyrics for these songs were written by Mrs. Hester Hickman with arrangement by A. D. DeFrantz. The pamphlet was originally included in the Benjamin Singleton scrapbook.


Part 12: Exodusters, in first annual report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics

Part 12: Exodusters, in first annual report of the Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics
Creator: Kansas Bureau of Labor
Date: 1886
This excerpt of the Kansas Bureau of Labor report includes only Part 12, the portion of the report focusing on the Exodusters in Wyandotte, Kansas. The report includes transcribed testimonies of Exodusters as well as a detailed table showing statistics compiled from seventeen families, including their location, ages, health, and occupations. The report also includes a few references to Exodusters in Topeka.


Report of the majority, 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

Report of the majority, 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
This report, written by the majority party of the Senate select committee investigating the Exodus, outlines the majority's conclusions about why Southern blacks were emigrating to the North during the post-Civil War period. This committee, composed of majority and minority parties, had taken testimony from hundreds of people having direct knowledge of the exodus movement. In essence, the majority party (the Democrats) concluded that blacks in the South had not emigrated due to "any deprivation of their political rights or any hardship in their condition" in their home state. Furthermore, the report maintained that aid societies in the North (such as the Freedmen's Aid Association of Topeka) were working with the Republican Party to encourage black emigration for purely political means. The majority party was composed of three senators: Daniel W. Voorhees (Dem., Indiana), Zebulon B. Vance (Dem., North Carolina), and George H. Pendleton (Dem., Ohio).


Report of the minority, 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

Report of the minority, 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
This report, written by the minority party of the Senate select committee investigating the Exodus, outlines the minority's conclusions about the reasons for black emigration to the North during the Reconstruction period. This committee, composed of majority and minority parties, had taken testimony from hundreds of people having direct knowledge of the exodus movement. In essence, the minority party concluded that the Northern Republican Party and emigrant aid organizations had not persuaded blacks in the South to emigrate to the North. Instead, the unfavorable condition of life in the South had caused this mass exodus. The minority members were William Windom, a Republican senator from Minnesota, and Henry W. Blair, a Republican senator from New Hampshire.


Richard West to John P. St. John

Richard West to John P. St. John
Date: January 18, 1881
Richard West, a resident of Barton Station, Alabama, wrote this letter to Kansas governor St. John requesting information about available land in Kansas. West was a farmer who described in some detail many of the concerns facing emigrants, including transportation and other expenses. In addition to his role as governor of Kansas, St. John also served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.


Roseline Cunningham to John P. St. John

Roseline Cunningham to John P. St. John
Creator: Cunningham, Roseline
Date: June 18, 1879
Roseline Cunningham, a black schoolteacher from Westpoint, Mississippi, wrote this letter to Kansas governor John St. John concerning emigration to Kansas. Cunningham, like many other Exodusters, was unable to make a living in the South and sought information about settling in Kansas. She also wanted to know if there was a governmental agency or society that would help her (and her neighbors) cover the cost of emigration. Governor St. John served on the board of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.


Samuel Baker to John P. St. John

Samuel Baker to John P. St. John
Creator: Baker, Samuel
Date: March 7, 1882
Samuel Baker of Columbia, South Carolina, wrote this letter to Kansas governor St. John requesting information about housing for freed blacks. Apparently, there were around 10,000 blacks in South Carolina wanting to escape racial oppression in the South, and Baker desired more information and advice about relocating these people to Kansas. In addition to his service as governor, St. John also served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.


Testimony of A. A. Harris, 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

Testimony of A. A. Harris, 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
A. A. Harris, a white resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, gave this brief testimony on March 29, 1880, before the Senate select committee investigating the causes of the Exodus. Harris described his contact with the black Exodusters in his area, including their difficulty finding employment. The committee also asked Harris to speak in some detail about the general treatment of African-Americans in Kansas, including any discrimination against them, particularly in the world of politics. This committee was composed of three Democratic senators and two Republican senators: Daniel W. Voorhees (Dem., Indiana), Zebulon B. Vance (Dem., North Carolina), George H. Pendleton (Dem., Ohio), William Windom (Rep., Minnesota), and Henry W. Blair (Rep., New Hampshire). Senators Blair and Vance asked the questions presented in this testimony.


The Great Negro Exodus

The Great Negro Exodus
Creator: Harpers Weekly
Date: May 17, 1879
This article published in the nationally-renown newspaper Harper's Weekly discusses the black exodus from the South, stating that Kansas seemed to be the objective for many of these emigrants. In particular the article discusses the role of the Tennessee Real Estate and Homestead Association, led by Benjamin "Pap" Singleton.


The Negro exodus. Scenes on the wharves at Vicksburg

The Negro exodus. Scenes on the wharves at Vicksburg
Creator: Moser, James H.
Date: May 17, 1879
This drawing, from an original by James H. Moser, depicts a large gathering of African-American refugees congregating around a steamboat docked at Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was published in the national magazine Harper's Weekly.


The President on the Exodus

The President on the Exodus
Creator: Topeka Colored Citizen
Date: June 7, 1879
According to this unsigned article, Rev. John Turner and General Conway spoke with President Rutherford B. Hayes about the black exodus from the South. Hayes listened intently to their report of conditions in the South and agreed that blacks had the right to emigrate and would thrive once spread throughout the states. He also expressed his conviction that any of the emigrants' material needs would be readily supplied through aid organizations.


Topeka Daily Capital article on the Negro exodus

Topeka Daily Capital article on the Negro exodus
Creator: Topeka Daily Capital
Date: April 26, 1879
This brief, untitled article in the Topeka Daily Capital claims that, while the St. Louis Republican argues that "the colored exodus is the result of Republicanism," in reality white Southerners are to blame for causing the Exodus.


Whar de shot gun rules no mo'e

Whar de shot gun rules no mo'e
Creator: Smith, Frank J.
Date: 1880
This song sheet, which includes both the sheet music and lyrics, describes how black Southerners longed for safety and freedom but frequently lived in fear of the Ku Klux Klan and other white Southerners. According to the song, these black Southerners were heading to Kansas "whar de shot-gun rules no mo'e." The song was written by Frank J. Smith, "a native hoosier," and was published by R. R. Meredith and Sons in Chicago. It uses a black dialect that was common in nineteenth-century depictions of African Americans.


What the Rebels of the South Threaten to Do

What the Rebels of the South Threaten to Do
Creator: Topeka Colored Citizen
Date: December 21, 1878
This article in the Topeka Colored Citizen argues that, while many Northerners believed that the Civil War had ended, Southerners continued to deny blacks their rights. It also includes an excerpt from some newspapers in Mississippi that discuss this matter; one even states that "blacks have no right under the sun to vote."


Why the Republicans Squeal

Why the Republicans Squeal
Creator: Wyandotte Gazette
Date: October 31, 1879
This article in the Wyandotte Gazette responds to the Kansas Democrat's claim that Republicans want to disfranchise black voters. According to the unnamed author of this Republican newspaper, Southern whites have disfranchised blacks, while Republicans are making good on their pledge to aid freed slaves. The article also refers to the "three-fifths" clause in the U.S. Constitution. The Kansas Democrat was published in Topeka, Shawnee County.


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