Synopses & Reviews
"At the close of Reconstruction, as white violence, the loss of civil rights, and economic privation dashed the remaining hopes of Southern freedmen, several thousand black people made an 'exodus' to the promised land of Kansas. Related to earlier efforts to return to Africa and permeated by millennial dreams, this migration actually changed very little for very few. However, it affords an enterprising and sensitive historian an opportunity to describe the lives of poor, rural black people at a particularly desperate moment in their history. Ms. Painter pieces together an affecting and valuable portrait from fragmentary and scattered primary sources. Her handsomely published book also contains some fine illustrations." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"A genuine folk movement, the Exoduster migration has . . . been undeservedly ignored. Nell Irvin Painter has produced a book which rescues the Exodusters from obscurity and demonstrates her considerable talents as a researcher and writer." New York Times Book Review
"In 1879, fourteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of blacks fled the South. They were headed for the homesteading lands of Kansas, the 'Garden Spot of the Earth' and the 'quintessential Free State, the land of John Brown'. . . . Painter examines their exodus in fascinating detail. In the process, she offers a compelling portrait of the post-Reconstruction South and the desperate efforts by blacks and whites in that chaotic period to 'solve the race problem' once and for all." Newsweek
"What makes this book so important is . . . [that it] is the first full-length scholarly study of this migration and of the forces that produced it. . . . Most previous students have focused on nationally recognized black leaders; [Painter] calls for attention to the black masses." David H. Donald
The first major migration to the North of ex-slaves.
About the Author
Nell Irvin Painter is the award-winning author of many books, including Sojourner Truth, Southern History Across the Color Line, Creating Black Americans, The History of White People, and Standing at Armageddon. She is currently the Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University and lives in Newark, New Jersey, and the Adirondacks.