“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.”
David H. Donald - New York Times Book Review
“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.”
American Historical 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.”
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.