African American Migration To Wyandotte County
1875 - 1885
PART I : RESEARCH QUESTION AND BACKGROUND
Does the immigration of Blacks from
former slave holding states to Delaware Township, Kansas after 1879 show
an increase over the immigration of Blacks from former slave holding
states to Delaware Township Kansas before that date?
the Civil War, and in the decades after it, Blacks fled the South to the
North which was seen as a beacon of hope for freedom and prosperity. Termed
Exodusters (or Exodusers) after the Biblical flight of the Israelites from
slavery, these Blacks settled in the major northern cities of Chicago,
Detroit, St. Louis, etc. They also formed smaller farming communities in
northern states. The most famous of these is Nicodemus, Kansas, the
first all Black community west of the Mississippi.
But African Americans also farmed in areas
near urban centers such as Kansas City, Kansas.
Delaware Township, which comprises the southwest corner of Wyandotte County,
was the home for some Black southern immigrants. The most famous
migration of Blacks to Kansas from the South came during a
few months in 1879 when an estimated 6,000 to 20,000 African Americans
left the South for Kansas in the space of a few months. 1
What happened? Did the Blacks stay in Wyandotte
County and become permanent residents - as the white residents feared -
or did they move on to other places in the North and West? A study
of the migration patterns of African Americans into Delaware Township,
Kansas in the years between 1875 and 1885 is a good first step toward a
larger study of Black migrations from the South and its affect on
the permanent settlement of Blacks in the Wyandotte County area.
The Kansas State Census data for the years 1875 and 1885 will provide the
necessary data for this research.