First-Class Citizenship Existed Nowhere In This Country

By 1900 Blacks in Kansas were generally, if not overwhelmingly, more prosperous than their counterparts in the South; politically they were enormously better off. Although they might not enjoy their civil rights to the extent that white Kansans did, they were far freer and less discriminated against than were their peers in the South. Kansas was no Canaan, but it was a far cry from Mississippi and Louisiana.  Relative to those states, Kansas was better in the 1880’s and still better in the 1890s and early twentieth century. The sad fact was that first-class citizenship existed nowhere in this country for Afro-Americans. Any black movement seeking real freedom within America was destined to realize no more than a relative measure of success. To the degree that the Exodusters aimed to escape the South and the specter of reenslavement, they succeeded. All in all, the Exodus to Kansas was a qualified but real success.

  • P.260, Exodusters – Nell Irvin Painter, ISBN 0-393-00951-3

Nell Irvin Painter


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