For many freed blacks in the South, life was far from easy after the Civil War and Reconstruction.
All the land east of the Mississippi was taken. Jobs were scarce. Discrimination closed many doors. Some former slaves choose to leave the South in search of a future in the untamed West.
The "Black Exodus" had begun.
Kansas, which fought a bloody battle to enter the Union as a Free State, welcomed black immigration. Nicodemus National Historic Site preserves one small all-black town established in Kansas by Freedmen in 1877.
Blacks on the frontier assumed the same roles as their fellow white settlers. They became farmers and trappers, teachers, and businessmen. They joined the U.S. Army as Buffalo Soldiers and rode for the Pony Express. They built and managed and staffed hotels, general stores, banks, and barbershops.
Nicodemus National Historic Site includes five buildings that represent the various aspects of black life on the frontier—home, church, business, government, and education.