Exodusters

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  • Named for their parallels to the Jews fleeing Egyptian slavery, the Exodusters were a grassroots movement of African American families (estimates range from six thousand to twenty-six thousand to fifty thousand people) who fled the South circa 1877 to 1882 (especially in 1879) to make their non-Southern homes, primarily in Kansas. Most arrived by Missouri River boats, but others walked from Texas across Indian Territory.

    Reconstruction officially ended in 1877 when Union troops left the South. As white Southern Democrats regained political power, the election of black leaders ceased, and work arrangements appeared to recreate slavery. Black people were legislated, intimidated, or beaten out of open political action. The availability and quality of education dwindled away as districts would not tax whites for (or states appropriate ...

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