Black Homesteaders

Cultivating Connections

Cultivating Connections

Descendants of black homesteaders tell their stories for the National Park Service website and repository.

Two black men and two black women stand in front of a frame house. Photo is black and white.

Study Focuses on Black Homesteading

Discover the stories of six Midwest Black homesteader colonies.

 
 
six members of the Williams Family
The Williams family, headed by Charles Williams (front left), is known as the first family of Nicodemus. Neil Henry (back center) was the first person born in Nicodemus.

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The promise of land brought homesteaders across the nation. Many black homesteaders came in groups or colonies. The homesteaders created all-black or mostly-black self-governing rural communities. The histories of these communities combine national and regional themes which reveal new dimensions about slavery, black migration, education, liberty, and the earliest iterations of what we now refer to as the Civil Rights Movement.


"This is a deeply American story, a story of migration, risk taking, immense toil, hardship, sacrifice, courage in the face of long odds, disappointment, joy, and for many, triumph. It is above all an account of human persistence and achivement."

- Black Homesteaders in the Great Plains

 

Historic Photos & Papers

Learn more about the lives of black homesteaders through photographs and documents related to their lives including homesteading case files stored at the National Archives.

Explore Primary Documents!
 

Black Homesteaders

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    Last updated: March 27, 2022

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