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Nicodemus, Kansas, Linked To Former VP

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The Kansas African American Museum

  The Kansas African American Museum in Wichita will host a presentation Wednesday about a small northwest Kansas town linked to a Vice President. Nicodemus, Kansas, is the only remaining black settlement west of the Mississippi. KMUW’s Carla Eckels has more…

Historian and Nicodemus descendent, Angela Bates will explore the lives of Tom Johnson and John Samuels enslaved by U.S. Vice President Richard M. Johnson who served under President Martin Van Buren in the mid-1800s. The slaves became free men--eventually homesteading in Nicodemus. Bates, who speaks at various events across the state, recently highlighted the importance of knowing the history of the founders of Nicodemus…

"In order for you to understand who these African-Americans were here in Kansas you need to really understand who they were during slavery and prior to making their migration out to the west because they didn’t just drop from the sky in 1877," she says.

Bates will discuss life in Nicodemus and what happened to the two slaves on the Vice President Johnson plantation, the tragic split of their families, and ultimately settling as free men on the western plains of Kansas. The community is invited to attend.

The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. There is no cost to attend.