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Black Exodus of 1879 - Research Paper Example

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“When I landed on the soil, I looked on the ground and I says this is free ground. Then I looked on the heavens, and I says them is free and beautiful heavens. Then I looked within my heart, and I says to myself I wonder why I never was free before?” …
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Black Exodus of 1879
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The Black Exodus of 1879, often referred to as the Exoduster Movement, took place in late nineteenth century US, where there was a large-scale migration of the black Americans from southern states (primarily from regions adjoining the Mississippi River) to Kansas. This was the first movement of the black Americans (in large numbers) away from South, after end of the US Civil War. At this time, there were increasing instances of racial strife that led to widespread violence and brutal murders (of both black and white community members) in the southern states. The protection accorded to the black slaves by the Reconstruction era under Federal Bureau, disappeared with the end of Reconstruction, and with the start of the next phase known as Redemption, the former slaves became more vulnerable and were again at the mercy of their former owners. After the 1876 election, many of the former slaves felt unsafe and decided to migrate to other regions that were deemed safer. While some migrated towards the abolitionists states in the north-eastern regions, there were large-scale movements towards Kansas (held under Republicans and the famous John Brown). The black Americans that moved to Kansas in 1879 came to be known as the Exodusters, and their movement created a great deal of worry for the southerners and led to significant debate amongst the southern and northern states.
In the black exodus of 1879, Benjamin "Pap" Singleton played a prominent role.5 During this movement, nearly forty thousand Exodusters migrated from the South and went to live in Colorado Oklahoma, and Kansas.6  The term Kansas Fever Exodus refers to the immigration of nearly six thousand former slaves to Kansas, from the southern states of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.7 Benjamin Singleton, at the time of the exodus, was residing in Kansas (Morris country), and he had started the demand for rights to black immigration immediately after the end of the civil war, and owing to his deep involvement in the movement he is also known as the “Father of Exodus.” There are various speculations as regards the actual cause for this sudden exodus of the black Americans from the Mississippi region towards Kansas in such large numbers. Some authors contend that this movement was primarily owing to the feeling of insecurity arising from the sudden fall in political ascendancy of the black community, after the Reconstruction era ended. Other writers feel that some of the crafty northern politicians lured these former slaves in order to garner support in the forthcoming elections. Some authors also claim that agricultural failure in 1878, a subsequent fall in labor prices, and various other external causes led to discontent amongst the black population, which ultimately made them move northwards, and search for a better and a more stable livelihood.8 Another strong influence that made many of the black Americans move to Kansas or to other parts in the north and western regions, were the news and letters detailing the prosperous conditions of some of the former slaves who had already migrated and settled in these regions, right after the civil war. In this context, the paper will now discuss the Black Exodus of 1879, and will examine the reasons and causes behind the movement. It will explore the effects of this movement, as in change of black population demographics. The paper will include notable figures that were involved in the movement while examine the opinions of various African Americans of that era about this movement. Discussion The era of reconstruction After the end of the US Civil War in 1865, the period of Reconstruction started which lasted until around 1877, when there were large-scale efforts to rebuild South on new lines and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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