Nell Irvin Painter – Ambivalent Politicians

The St. Joseph North Louisiana Journal reported Senator Preston B. Plumb of Kansas as saying that “Kansas does not want any negro emigration from the South,” for the state was “not suitable for negroes.”13 In fact, however, both Plumb and Congressman Thomas Ryan of Topeka were ambivalent about the Exodus. Plumb actually said, “we do not desire them to come to us, for the reasons which I have given [the Exodusters destitution and dependence on charity], yet we do not wish to appear as if shutting our door in their faces.” Congressman Ryan expressed similar sentiments: “you will not understand me as saying a word in discouragement of the exodus of the blacks, especially those who are in anyway prepared to provide for themselves. What I do not care to see encouraged is the inducement to come among us before they are prepared to provide for themselves.”14

  • 13- St. Joseph North Louisiana Journal, April 19, 1879
  • 14- New York Daily Herald, April 4, 7, 1879
  • P.238, Exodusters – Nell Irvin Painter, ISBN 0-393-00951-3



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