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Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction Paperback – May 17, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In 1879, fourteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of blacks fled the South. They were headed for the homesteading lands of Kansas, the 'Garden Spot of the Earth' and the 'quintessential Free State, the land of John Brown'. . . . Painter examines their exodus in fascinating detail. In the process, she offers a compelling portrait of the post-Reconstruction South and the desperate efforts by blacks and whites in that chaotic period to 'solve the race problem' once and for all.” (Newsweek)

“What makes this book so important is . . . [that it] is the first full-length scholarly study of this migration and of the forces that produced it. . . . Most previous students have focused on nationally recognized black leaders; [Painter] calls for attention to the black masses.” (David H. Donald - New York Times Book Review)

“A genuine folk movement, the Exoduster migration has . . . been undeservedly ignored. Nell Irvin Painter has produced a book which rescues the Exodusters from obscurity and demonstrates her considerable talents as a researcher and writer.” (American Historical Review)

About the Author

Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey, and the Adirondacks.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (May 17, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393009513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393009514
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon Thomas on June 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good solid historical account. Well documented and relentless in the telling of the story. It was another reminder for me of the intensity of the oppression of the American southern blacks before and after the Civil War. Once Reconstruction was effectively ended in 1876, the black people of the South were abandoned by the politicians of the North and left to the tender mercies of the southern planters and their hired help.

The Exoduster movement involved the movement of approximately 6,000 southern blacks from the South to Kansas starting around 1876 and peaking in 1879. It was a reaction to the terrorism used by the planter class and the white authorities of that time to keep the blacks in their place politically and economically. The fact that blacks outnumbered the white planter class and their minions in parts of the South meant that "appropriate methods" needed to be used by these same people to prevent the black populace from voting.

A story worth telling and well told by the author. It is a well documented and footnoted book. The book pays homage to the courageous spirit of the Exodusters, but also provides a reality check against those that would have us conveniently forget terrible injustices in our history.

Something to remember as we go forward in our grand national adventures in this year of our Lord, 2007.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ex Libre on May 9, 2008
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The book was an easy and very informative read for me. I am the family historian and this added additional depth to my family research. When you delve into the history during the time your ancestors were living and experiencing it, it adds another dimension to your research. My mother's famiy were slaves in Overton Co. Tennessee and made the exodus to Kansas.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James Salter on November 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
A very comprehensive look at the events precedeing and including Black migration from the South after the Civil War. A must read for anyone interested in Black history or the Civil War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven D. Livengood on August 24, 2009
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Painter does an excellent job of providing the context of the Exodus of freed African Americans from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas to Kansas, particularly the mass migration in March and April 1879 from Louisiana. The records and stories of the participants are limited, and the story is usually told from the perspective of the elite Black leadership, but Painter has told it from the viewpoint of the folks on the ground, showing the grassroots origin of the idea, its Biblical roots, and the bewilderment of Black as well as White leadership in dealing with something they were not leading.

A fascinating story from a unique perspective.
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