A post-Civil War town founded by former slaves perseveres

Discover the improbable and inspiring Nicodemus, Kansas.


A Civil Conversation is an ongoing series exploring the experiences of African-Americans in the West, in an effort to create more informed public dialog on issues of race and racism.

Nicodemus, Kansas, founded in 1877, is the only black American, post-Civil War town still in existence in the West. As part of our Civil Conversations series, writer Wayne Hare and documentarian/videographer Mara Ferris traveled to Nicodemus to learn about the town’s vibrant past, explore the disturbing social and economic forces that led to its rapid retreat, and get inspired by the people behind its improbable persistence today. 

Wayne Hare is a member of the High Country News board who lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. Email [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor.

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