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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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Report of the majority, in report and testimony of the select committee to investigate the causes of the removal of the Negroes from the southern states to the northern states, in three parts

United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Negro Exodus

This report, written by the majority party of the Senate select committee investigating the Exodus, outlines the majority?s conclusions about why Southern blacks were emigrating to the North during the post-Civil War period. This committee, composed of majority and minority parties, had taken testimony from hundreds of people having direct knowledge of the exodus movement. In essence, the majority party (the Democrats) concluded that blacks in the South had not emigrated due to ?any deprivation of their political rights or any hardship in their condition? in their home state. Furthermore, the report maintained that aid societies in the North (such as the Freedmen?s Aid Association of Topeka) were working with the Republican Party to encourage black emigration for purely political means. The majority party was composed of three senators: Daniel W. Voorhees (Dem., Indiana), Zebulon B. Vance (Dem., North Carolina), and George H. Pendleton (Dem., Ohio).

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Andrew Atchison to John P. St. John

Atchison, Andrew

In this letter, Andrew Atchison updates Kansas governor St. John on the condition of the Exoduster settlement near Dunlap, Kansas. Benjamin Singleton had established this colony in May, 1878, and according to Atchison, the black refugees (numbering around 200 families) were thriving. Another goal of Atchison?s letter was to investigate the ?practicability? of establishing a Business and Literary Academy in addition to their free public school. Atchison and some other white residents of the area had formed the Dunlap Aid Association to assist the Exodusters? efforts to obtain land and employment.

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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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