A small town in Kansas relishes its history as a refuge for freed blacks

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tags: racism, Civil War, Reconstruction



The story of Nicodemus is unique in a region where many settlers were German or Swedish or Czech, and in a state that remains overwhelmingly white to this day.

The town was founded in 1877, in the midst of America’s rapid westward expansion, by freed slaves from Kentucky who envisioned a black oasis on the prairie.

It grew quickly at first, with two newspapers, a baseball team, restaurants and a post office. But in those days, sustaining growth meant getting a railroad line to run through town, and the trains never came to Nicodemus. Within a few years of its founding, many stores had closed, and plenty of residents left.




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