History

Study Notes

Exoduster Movement

Level:
GCSE
Board:
Edexcel

In 1865 the American Civil War ended. It had been won by the anti-slavery north. This meant that over four million African-Americans were freed from slavery in 1865.  However, many of the southern states could not accept this and they continued to try and restrict black Americans freedom.

In 1865 the American Civil War ended. It had been won by the anti-slavery north. This meant that over four million African-Americans were freed from slavery in 1865.  However, many of the southern states could not accept this and they continued to try and restrict black Americans freedom. For example, the KKK terrorised black Americans throughout the southern states and used intimidation to prevent black Americans form voting. The southern states also forced many black Americans into sharecropping. Sharecropping is when a landlord gives a tenant some land in return for a proportion of the crops they grow. Although black sharecroppers were freemen, this system kept black farmers working on white plantations for free.

 

Life for black Americans therefore remained difficult in the southern states and some black Americans decided to move west to file homestead claims. Many began to move to Kansas, which had always been a free state. Benjamin Singleton, a former slave, pioneered this move by advertising Kansas to black Americans still living in the south.

 

In 1879, a rumour spread that the US government was giving away free land for ex-slaves in Kansas. This further encouraged thousands of black Americans to move to Kansas. By the end of the year, over 40,000 had began the journey to Kansas. This became known as the Exoduster movement as it was an exodus to the dusty West. 

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