Equality on the Plains

When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862, most black Americans lived as enslaved people in the South. The end of the Civil War in 1865 and the passage of the 13th and 14th amendments freed millions of black Americans from lives in slavery. As new and free U.S. citizens, thousands of African Americans moved to the Great Plains to homestead. Most black homesteaders settled in communities with other African Americans.


Nicodemus was the first and best-known of the black homesteader communities. In 1877, six black businessmen joined a white Kansan to form the Nicodemus Town Company. They chose a spot on the Solomon River valley

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