"African-Americans Migration To Wyandotte County 1860 - 1900 "
Dennis Lawrence

    The free port of Quindaro has haunted the memories of the residents of Kansas City, Kansas since its founding and subsequent disappearance beneath the brush lining the banks along the Missouri River. The story of Quindaro is not limited to its heady pre-war success and subsequent failure and abandonment by the white abolitionists who founded it. The town site became home for immigrant African-Americans migrating North during and after the Civil War.

    After the war, the population increased and the settlement was moved out of the gully where it was nestled close to the bluff overlooking the Missouri River to the top of the hill in an area known as Bell Crossing. There the nucleus of the African-American population in the Wyandotte County was established. Churches and schools anchored a small African-American community in that area of the newly established Wyandotte County.

    Many African-American emigrants from the South used the rivers for transportation North, and in the river bottom between what was then the Kansas town of Wyandotte and the Missouri town of Kansas City, a temporary colony was established for these African-American emigrants. Many moved on, but of those who stayed, many moved to the nearby bluff called Juniper1. Adjacent to Juniper, in an area known as Rattlebone Hollow, German immigrants had established a settlement. The early integration of these two groups of immigrants in these contiguous geographic areas underwent gradual erosion until it became largely an African-American enclave in the early years of the nineteenth century. White movement out of the area left Juniper and Rattlebone Hollow nearly all African-American communities. This area in the northeast section of Kansas City, Kansas became the second anchor of the African-American population in Kansas City, Kansas.

    Historically, much of the African-American population of Kansas City, Kansas today traces its roots to this area where most of the churches, schools, businesses and other institutions vital to the existence of community were African-American owned and operated.  As African-Americans continued to move into the area after the Civil War, they gathered into these two historical settlement areas while others scattered throughout Wyandotte County.

    The Third Ward stretched north from State Avenue to the Missouri River between 7th and 10th Streets in the town of Wyandotte and was an early home to many African-Americans and whites as well. It, too, became a mostly African-American community after the turn of the century.   The 1855 Territorial Census showed a total population of 1,944 in Districts 16 and 17, wherein lies today's Wyandotte County. It also listed 56 slaves and 19 "free Negroes."   By 1865, there were 11,622 residents in Wyandotte County, 1,323 of whom were African-Americans. African-Americans were by far the largest minority in the area, foreign born citizens and Native Americans numbering 552 and 259 respectively. 

    Reaction to the large influx of African-Americans into Wyandotte County and the town of Wyandotte was wary.  The Wyandotte Herald described the 1879 exodus in this way.