Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Exodusters in Kansas
David Mulligan
American History
Time Frame:
1 class
Civil War

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Teacher would provide the student with a 10-15 minute historical overview of what the term exoduster means and how it relates to Kansas.


To teach students about exodusters in Kansas and the factors that contributed to African Americans coming to Kansas during reconstruction.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Using visual images available from the KSHS ( specifics provided by the teacher or handed out as photocopy) : "Exodusters" and Kansas's War, The Civil War in Documents, edited by Pearl T. Ponce


Full description of activity or assignment.

Beginning in the late 1870's, as Reconstrucyion was coming to its conclusion in the South, a "stampede of colored people" moved out, many of them to Kansas. By the 1880's, several thousand African Americans had left their homes in the Southern United States for a new beginning in Kansas. The teacher will assign background reading and pictures to be analyzed.
The students will analyze and explain the feelings evoked in each image. Using the broadside from 1877, the students will answer the following: 1) What was the cost to join the colony? 2) How do African Americans refer to themselves? Why? 3) What is a militia and why would these people need one?



Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Teacher will grade students on their responses to the activity questions based on participation and accuracy of the answers. Assign a grade for the activity.