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Although the Civil War in the United States had begun as a war for reunion, by 1863 it had become a war against slavery as well as against the Confederate Leadership that had take eleven Southern states out of the union. Reconstruction following the Civil war, instituted a social and economic reordering of Southern life. In and environment social upheaval, the extent that the interests of African-Americans conflicted with the whites of the South, lead to opposition to this the new Social order.

Called Redemption by Southern whites, it is convenient to date Redemption from the Compromise of 1877, which put Rutherford B. Hayes in the White house. Opposition by Southern whites however, proceeded in fits and starts across the South until Africans American people lost hope for their prospects. A massive migration from the south began in the mid-1870's and peaked in 1879 as African-Americans fled searching for hope, freedom and prosperity. This immigration of Exodusters is a significant event in American history.

During the Civil War, and in the decades after it, Termed Exodusters (or Exodusers) after the Biblical flight of the Israelites from slavery, African-Americans fled the South to the North which was seen as a beacon of hope for freedom and prosperity. As these people left the south, they settled in the major northern cities and 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, Kansas, 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.

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

During the past ten days, a large number of colored immigrants from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee have landed in Kansas. Nearly all of them are penniless, many are sick, and all of them are objects of sympathy. A public hearing was held at the courtroom Tuesday afternoon to take steps for their relief and to provide against spreading contagious disease. . . .

The following resolutions were adopted.

  • Resolved: That it is the sense of the meeting that the colored immigrants from the South, now among us, and still to come, should be aided only to such an extent as they are unable to help themselves as they tarry among us.
  • Resolved That it would be very unwise in these people to stay in the towns already overcrowded with laborers, as they are, and that it will in our judgment be unsafe for them to remain long in large companies.

A week later a letter signed by white Wyandotte citizens appeared in the same paper.

A Protest of the People of Wyandott, Kansas Concerning the Negro Immigration To The People of The United States:

Within the last two weeks over a thousand Negroes, direct from the South, have landed at Wyandott. None of them have money to carry them further west, or to purchase the necessary wherewithal to supply their most urgent necessities of food and shelter. Large numbers have died, and at least 5% of the whole number are sick with pneumonia and kindred complaints. In a word, over a thousand paupers have within a very short period of time been thrown into a town of about five thousand people, who are unable to properly provide for their wants.

These people are possessed of the most visionary ideas concerning what they must confront when coming to Kansas. Their sole idea seems to be to get West to go where the government land can be occupied, but they are wholly destitute of means to improve it or to sustain themselves until they can cultivate a crop. Go where they will in Kansas, they must be provided and cared for, or they will perish. We have reliable information that thousands more are coming. If so, the situation will soon be a serious one for the deluded, helpless and ignorant Negroes who are blindly rushing to Kansas, and a mighty burden will be thrown on our people. They must become virtually a public charge upon the communities where they may happen to be cast.

In view of the state of facts, we, the undersigned citizens of Wyandott, Kansas denounce those who are encouraging these people to come to Kansas as really their worst enemies. We further say that the sentiments of this protest and memorials are those of the people of Kansas without regard to party and we request papers throughout the country to publish this protest and warning.

Some of the colored refugees say that they prefer living in the South to coming to Kansas, but that the whites will not sell them any land there, hence, they came to Kansas to secure homes of their own. We are authorized by Dr. McDowell to say that he will sell any of them good cotton land for $1.50 an acre and guarantee that they can catch more opossums on the land than will pay for it.

What happened? Did the African Americans stay and become permanent residents - as the white residents feared - or did they move on to other places in the north and west? The migration patterns of African Americans into various areas of the country during the years between 1875 and 1885 is a fascinating area of study. The immigration pattern of African Americans into northern states from the south is a necessary first step in answering the larger research question of how the United States was settled by immigrants.

The background information and the work you have done so far, has provided a much better understanding of this event in American history. Now it is up to you to gather as much information as possible about this event with information specific to your research question.

A good starting point is to realize that there are many people in the world working in many different fields. Researchers work on a problem until they think they have something to value to report to other researchers. Then they describe their findings or thoughts in an article or paper. They submit the paper to one of the many publications and/or journals printed though out the world. The submitted article is reviewed by persons acquainted with the particular field and these persons are able to judge whether the article makes a contribution to the literature and knowledge of the area. If it does, the article appears in the publication. A few journals publish papers items of interest to all Researchers. These journals contain not only reports of original research, but also general articles, announcements, and advertise events of interest to researchers. Journals are a great source for current research and information on your subject. Journals are usually found through library research, although some are now in electronic, online versions.

Library research will provide several sources of information of value. Books are still a wonderful source of information. It generally takes longer for new information to find acceptance into the field and into the books of the field. However, good solid information on our understanding of the natural world presented in books, may be new to you. Books help create a fundamental understanding of your research area and provide a wide view of our understanding of the natural world. There are also a standardized protocol books, which are very useful.

Internet searches are also valuable but remember, always evaluate the source of the information and determine how reliable that source is for this information. There are several internet search engines that do very wide searches; Goggle http://www.google.com is an example. They are not necessarily better at finding specific information than search engines that search very specific sources. but they cast a very wide "net". A good example of one of these specific search engines is Google Scholar. Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. The trick to finding information using any search engines is to try several terms related to your research questions, and to try combination of terms.

Another source of information to review is the collection of material that other PathFinder Science participants have found and posted for you here. PathFinder Science is a community of people working together and those working in this area before you have left "tracks" for you to follow. If you find additional information that will help others following you, post it on-line using the form below. It is important to help the PathFinder Science community build this valuable resource to our research community. A community is only sustainable if members contribute as much as they use!

Click on a link to read the information that others have found or type in new information below. As you have reviewed additional information you have developed, an even deeper understanding of the context from which the research question comes from has developed. It is important to go back to your research question and review it. Is it asking what you really want to know? The research question directs your work and you should refer back to it often.

Click on a link to read the information that others have found or type in new information below. Only the most recent posts are listed below, visit the discussion area for more related posts.

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