Homestead National Monument of America, Nicodemus National Historic Site, and the University of Nebraska announce completion of a study called Black Homesteaders in the Great Plains. This work is the result of a multiyear research effort by the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska.
The new scholarship examining Black Homesteaders will provide the basis for expanded understanding of our Nation’s epic Homestead Story. After the Civil War and Emancipation, Black Homesteaders arrived in the Great Plains. They sought to build new lives, provide for their families, and educate their children, aided by opportunities provided through the Homestead Act.
The study explores six major black homesteading communities settled at Blackdom, New Mexico; Dearfield, Colorado; DeWitty, Nebraska; Nicodemus, Kansas; Empire, Wyoming; and Sully County, South Dakota.
To celebrate this important study, Homestead National Monument will be doing extensive work creating digital content for our website and social media accounts. This will include using digital materials already created, as well as building new digital pages.
This part of the project is expected to take approximately 18 months. The Center for Great Plains Studies will also be creating a traveling exhibition, “Staking Their Claim: Black Homesteaders and the Promise of Land in the Great Plains.”
One of the six communities in the study, Nicodemus, Kansas, hosts an annual “Homecoming Emancipation Celebration” – every year, descendants of the original homesteaders return to Nicodemus. Due to impacts from COVID-19, this year’s Homecoming (July 31 – August 1) will be held virtually – you can find out more at www.nicodemushomecoming.org/.
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