During the years immediately following Reconstruction, 1879 and 1880, there was a massive migration of former slaves from the South north to Kansas. Kansas was a common destination because it was a free state, it welcomed settlement by people of all races, and held symbolic importance as the home state of abolitionist John Brown. It was an “exodus” and the migrants who participated were called “Exodusters.” More than forty thousand mostly poor, uneducated southern blacks migrated to Kansas. Half of them came through St. Louis where they were aided by the local African American community and largely reviled by the white St. Louis civic and political establishment. It was all chronicled in the book The African American Community and the Exodusters written by Professor Bryan Jack of Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.
Contributors: Bryan Jack