The spirit of Nicodemus
When it was first settled in 1877, Nicodemus, Kansas was not the only all-African American community west of the Mississippi, but it is the only one remaining today. While many rural communities founded in Kansas and the western United States in the aftermath of the Civil War perished for various reasons, Nicodemus continues to exist. This thesis examines why Nicodemus has been able to overcome adversity when other towns could not. I propose that there is an intangible characteristic found among the people of Nicodemus which stems from the determination of the ex-slaves who first settled the town that has led those who have followed to persevere in Western Kansas. In conducting the research on this project, I used the primary documents of Nicodemus residents that can be found in the Graham County Historical Society located in Hill City, Kansas, and I traveled to Topeka, Kansas to peruse the Kansas State Historical Society’s archives of nineteenth and early-twentieth century newspapers to ascertain a more public accounting of events in that community. Other sources, both primary and secondary, were easily located within Ablah Library on the campus of Wichita State University.
Thesis (M.A)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Dept. of History