"All Colored People That Wants to go to Kansas Can Do so for $5.00"
Truly from the dust, as there was very little wooded areas in that part of Kansas, especially after the best land for settlement was stolen by white farmers, the residents of Nicodemus, KS constructed a small community. Mostly hailing from KY, these former slaves utilized the Homestead Act and set out to accomplish a dizzying amount as autonomous, self-governing citizens, taking the skills they were forced to do on plantations and applying them to sustaining their town. The residents of Nicodemus fought through incredible hardships (early encampments were dug-outs; near starvation in harsh winters; later the Depression) and opened restaurants, started bands and performance spaces, opened masonic halls right alongside hospitals, churches, and schools. The failed promise of a railroad vis a vis systemic, racialized oversight and oppression contributed to hardships felt to this day, yet there is still a powerful genealogical movement from the town’s descendants to preserve Nicodemus’s wondrous legacy.