Western Migration and Homesteading
|| Landownership maps and atlases were published by
commercial companies, usually on a subscription basis, for the
wealthier rural areas. Landownership atlases also documented the
migration of blacks to the Midwest. A map of Noblesville, the fifth
seat of Hamilton, County, Indiana, shows the site of the Roberts
Settlement. In 1909, Stephen Roberts Jr. (b. 1849), grandson of
Willis Roberts, the first settler, was still buying cattle in
Hamilton County, Indiana Indiana: The Hamilton
Trust Company, 1906
Map Geography and Map Division (98)
|| Abraham Jones's 1837 land-grant certificate, signed
by President Martin Van Buren, is typical of those issued to the
the Roberts Settlement.
Land grant certificate
The Roberts Family Papers, 1734-1944 Manuscript
|| The Roberts family chart traces the descendants of
James Roberts I of Northampton County, North Carolina, grandfather
of Willis Roberts (1782-1846) and founder of the Roberts Settlement
in Noblesville, Indiana. Willis Roberts became a prosperous farmer
and eventually married Mary Marthaline Hunt. They had eight children
born between 1803 and 1819.
Photocopy of manuscript chart
Roberts Family Papers, 1734-1944 Manuscript
|| During World War I, industrial opportunities became
available to women when workers were needed to replace men drafted
into military service. Black women responded to the demand by leaving
their homes and domestic jobs. This chart shows a sampling of the
industrial occupations of 21,547 black women in approximately seventy-five
specific processes, at 152 plants, during the period December 1,
1918, to June 30, 1919. The report was made by Mrs. Helen B. Irvin,
Special Agent of the Women's Bureau on 1918-1919. United States.
Department of Labor. Division of Negro Economics.
The Negro at Work During the World War and During Reconstruction:
Statistics, Problems, and Policies Relating to the Greater
Inclusion of Negro Wage Earners in American Industry and
Agriculture, p. 125 New York: Negro Universities Press,
1969 General Collections (101)
|| African-American journalist Robert Sengstacke Abbott
(1868-1940) founded the Chicago Defender on May 6, 1905, with a
capital totaling twenty-five cents. His editorial creed was to
against "segregation, discrimination, disenfranchisement . . . ." The Defender
reached national prominence during the mass migration of blacks from the South
during World War I, when the
paper's banner headline for January 6, 1917, read "Millions to
Leave South." The Defender became the bible of many seeking "The
Promised Land." Abbott advertised Chicago so effectively that even migrants heading
for other northern cities sought information and assistance from the pages of
the "Worlds Greatest
Kenneth L. Kusmer, Ed. The Great Migration and After, 1917-1930,
vol. 5, p. 4 Black Communities and Urban Development in America, 1720-1990,
New York: Garland, 1991 General Collections (102)
|| Benjamin "Pap" Singleton (1809-1892), a former slave
Nashville, Tennessee, became the leader of the "Exoduster
Movement" of 1879, and in later years he was accorded the title "Father of the
Exodus." In the late 1860s, Singleton and his associates urged blacks to acquire
farmland in Tennessee, but whites would not sell productive land to them. As
an alternative Singleton began scouting land in Kansas in the early 1870s. Soon
several black families migrated from Nashville. By 1874, Singleton and his associates
had formed the Edgefield Real Estate and Homestead Association in Tennessee,
which steered more than 20,000 black migrants to Kansas between 1877 and 1879.
Singleton claimed to be "the whole cause of the Kansas
immigration," in testimony before a U.S. committee on the "exodus
Nell Irvin Painter Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After
the Reconstruction, p. 100
New York: Knopf, 1977 General Collections (103)
|| In February of 1880, more than 900 black families
from Mississippi reached St. Louis, en route to Kansas. Some black
migrants sought "conductors" to make travel arrangements for them.
These conductors would often ask for money in advance and not show
up at the appointed departure time, leaving migrants stranded at
docks and train stations.
Refugees on Levee, 1897. Carroll's Art Gallery. Photomural from gelatin-silver
print Prints and Photographs Division (105) Prints
and Photographs Division (105)
|| At the time of the Exodus to Kansas, yellow fever
ravaged many river towns in Missouri, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Because many of the black migrants who stopped over in these towns
-- coming by steamboat, train, or horseback -- were sick, unwashed,
and poverty-stricken, it was assumed by city officials that they
must be potential disease carriers. This caused great alarm in
such cities as St. Louis, which imposed unnecessary quarantine
measures to discourage future migrants.
"Negro Exodusters en route to Kansas, fleeing from the yellow
fever, " Photomural from engraving. Harpers Weekly, 1870.
Historic American Building Survey Field Records, HABS FN-6,
#KS -49-11 Prints and
Photographs Division (106)
|| In 1874 Benjamin Singleton and his associates formed
the Edgefield Real Estate and Homestead Association in Tennessee.
This association sought out the best locations for black settlements.
Singleton tried to establish a well-planned and organized movement
to Kansas, but by 1879, the unruly, mass Exodus had overwhelmed
Benjamin Singleton, and S.A. McClure, Leaders of the Exodus,
leaving Nashville, Tennessee. Photomural from montage. Historic
American Building Survey Field Records, HABS FN-6, #KS-49-12 Prints
and Photographs Division (107)
|| Blacks had obtained information about Kansas by several
means: letters from migrants, who settled in Nicodemus and other
locations; circulars; and mass meetings. Benjamin Singleton printed
handbills in an attempt to attract blacks to visit or settle in
Kansas. One such flier was headed: "Ho For Kansas!"
"Ho For Kansas!" Copyprint of handbill. Historic American Building
Survey Field Records, HABS FN-6, #KS-49-14 Prints
and Photographs Division (109)