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Title | Creator | Date Made Visible | None

Isaiah T. Montgomery to Governor John P. St. John

Montgomery, Isaiah T. (Isaiah Thorton), 1847-1924

Isaiah T. Montgomery of Hurricane, Mississippi, wrote Governor John P. St. John of Topeka, Kansas, concerning the migration of twenty five families of black refugees from Mississippi to Kansas. Montgomery described the difficulties faced by the families and a visit he made to Kansas to assess their conditions. He also critiqued the relief programs in Kansas and made recommendations for assisting present and future migrants. In addition, the letter addresses Montgomery's broader effort to establish a community for black refugees in Kansas and the oppressive conditions under which blacks lived in Mississippi. Montgomery dictated a letter sent to him from William Nervis regarding the conditions of the refugees. During 1879 and 1880 a mass exodus of blacks from the deep South, known as the Negro Exodus, overwhelmed the state's ability to accommodate the refugees. These refugees were called Exodusters. Governor St. John established a Freedman's Relief Association to assist the migrants but its efforts were largely seen as a failure.

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Henry and Clara Smith to John P. St. John

Smith, Henry and Clara

Henry Smith and his daughter, Clara, wrote this letter to Kansas Governor John St. John requesting information about black emigration to Kansas. Smith wrote on behalf of his community in Marshall, Texas, saying that a number of people were hoping to emigrate because they were unable to make a living due to discriminatory practices. According to the letter, some of the Smith's white neighbors were threatening to follow black emigrants if they attempted to leave the area (to what end is unclear). In addition to his role as Kansas governor, St. John served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Freedmen's Relief Association.

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Roseline Cunningham to John P. St. John

Cunningham, Roseline

Roseline Cunningham, a black schoolteacher from Westpoint, Mississippi, wrote this letter to Kansas governor John St. John concerning emigration to Kansas. Cunningham, like many other Exodusters, was unable to make a living in the South and sought information about settling in Kansas. She also wanted to know if there was a governmental agency or society that would help her (and her neighbors) cover the cost of emigration. Governor St. John served on the board of the Kansas Freedmen?s Relief Association.

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