Inalienable possessions and flyin' west :

Inalienable possessions and flyin' west :

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Inalienable possessions and flyin' west : african american women in the pioneer west
Hosbey, Justin
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University of South Florida
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ABSTRACT: Nicodemus, Kansas is one of the few remaining settlements founded by African American former slaves in the post-Civil War period of American history. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site in 1996, Nicodemus has secured its role as a place deemed important to the history of America. For this project, I worked as an intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society, under the direction of Angela Bates. This local heritage preservation agency manages archival and genealogical records important to Nicodemus descendants, and exhibits several of the community's cultural and material artifacts for the public. I was specifically involved in the collection of archival research for this agency and the facilitation of an oral history project. In addition to these duties, I used the ethnographic techniques of participant observation and semi-structured interviewing to explore how Nicodemus descendant identity is constructed, and how this identity maintains its continuity into the present day. Using Annette Weiner's arguments concerning women's roles in identity formation and cultural reproduction in Inalienable Possessions, I worked to discover the ways that women have historically worked to preserve Nicodemus cultural heritage and reproduce Nicodemus descendant identity for future generations.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
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by Justin Hosbey.

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Inalienable possessions and flyin' west :
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by Justin Hosbey.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
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(M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
3 520
ABSTRACT: Nicodemus, Kansas is one of the few remaining settlements founded by African American former slaves in the post-Civil War period of American history. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site in 1996, Nicodemus has secured its role as a place deemed important to the history of America. For this project, I worked as an intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society, under the direction of Angela Bates. This local heritage preservation agency manages archival and genealogical records important to Nicodemus descendants, and exhibits several of the community's cultural and material artifacts for the public. I was specifically involved in the collection of archival research for this agency and the facilitation of an oral history project. In addition to these duties, I used the ethnographic techniques of participant observation and semi-structured interviewing to explore how Nicodemus descendant identity is constructed, and how this identity maintains its continuity into the present day. Using Annette Weiner's arguments concerning women's roles in identity formation and cultural reproduction in Inalienable Possessions, I worked to discover the ways that women have historically worked to preserve Nicodemus cultural heritage and reproduce Nicodemus descendant identity for future generations.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Jackson, Antoinette .
Dissertations, Academic
x Cultural Anthropology
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Inalienab le Possessions and Flyin' West: African American Women in the Pioneer West by Justin Hosbey A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D. E. Christian Wells, Ph.D. Susan Greenbaum, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 28, 2011 Keywords: cultural heritage, identity formation, Nicodemus, African American history, Kansas Copyright 2011, Justin Hosbey


Dedication I dedicate this thesis to Patricia Johnson. I could not have done this without you.


i Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures iv Abstract v Chapter 1: Establishing the Research Context Introduction 1 Project Background 4 Internship and Applied Research Goals 5 Research Settin g and Background Information 6 Nicodemus in the Present 13 Chapter 2: Relevant Literature and Theoretical Framework Introduction 16 Abolitionist movem ent and political influences 18 N PS reports and publications 19 D iscussion of the historical framing of wom en's roles in Nicod emus history 22 Women as Gatekeepers of Cultural Heritage in Historically Underrepresented Communities 24 Inalienability, cosmology, and authenticity 26 Critiques of Weiner's thesis 28 Chapter 3: Research Design and Methodology Introduction 31 Population, Sa mpling, and Informed Consent 31 Limitations 33 Researc h Questions and Objectives 3 3 Participant Observation 34 Community Heritage Events 3 5 S emi structured interviews 3 7 Archival research 3 9 Data analysis 39 Chapter 4: Results and Discussion Introduction 41


ii Research Question One 41 Research Question Two 50 Research Question Three 55 Chapter 5: Conclusions 61 Literature Cited 66 Appendices 70 Appendix A: NPS Thematic Guidelines for Interpretation at National Historic Site s 71 Appendix B: Oral History Database created as Project D eliverable for the Nicodemus Historical Society 73 Appendix C: List of supporting materials submitted to the Project PI for the Nicodemus Technical Assistance and Support g rant 77 Appendix D: Internship duties while working for the Nicodemus Historical Society 78


iii List of Tables Table 1: Summary of Informant Characteristics 38 Table A1: Oral History Database created as project deliverable for Nicodemus Historical Society 73


iv List of Figures Figure 1: Location of Graham County within Kansas 6 Source: Kansas Historical Society Figure 2: Early Plat Ma p of Nico demus settlement 8 Figure 3: N icodemus Township School 9 Figure 4. Newspaper notic e of Nico demus school year 10 F igure 5: Township Hall 11 Source: National Park Service Figure 6: Satellite Map of Nico demus To wnship, present day 14 Source: Google Maps Figure 7: Oral History Worksho p with Nicodemus descendants 3 5 Figure 8: Portrait of Lul u Sadler Craig and family 43 Figure 9: Ola Wilson house, Nicodemus His torical Society Headquarters 45 Figure 10: Archival picture of the Joyfu l Exodusters 4 H Cl ub 46 Source: USF Heritage Management Lab Figure 11: Angela Bates, Grand Marsh al of 2010 Homecoming Parade 49 Figure 12 : Quilts on exhibit at the Nicodemus Historic Site Visitor Cente r 52 Source: USF Heritage Management Lab


v Abstract Nicodemus, Kansas is one of the few remaining settlements founded by African American former slaves in the post Civil War period of American history. Designated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site in 1996, Nicodemus has secured its rol e as a place deemed important to the history of America. For this project, I worked as an intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society, under the direction of Angela Bates. This local heritage preservation agency manages archival and genealogical records im portant to Nicodemus descendants, and exhibits several of the community's cultural and material artifacts for the public. I was specifically involved in the collection of archival research for this agency and the facilitation of an oral history project. In addition to these duties, I used the ethnographic techniques of participant observation and semi structured interviewing to explore how Nicodemus descendant identity is constructed, and how this identity maintains its continuity into the present day. Usin g Annette Weiner's arguments concerning women's roles in identity formation and cultural reproduction in Inalienable Possessions I worked to discover the ways that women have historically worked to preserve Nicodemus cultural heritage and reproduce Nicode mus descendant identity for future generations.


1 Chapter One: Establishing the Research Context Introduction "If we don't do this, we cast Nicodemus' fate into the wind." Nicodemus descendant during a National Park Service community event, July 2010 These words encapsulate the sentiment I encounte red consistently by several individuals over the course of my fieldwork journey in Nicodemus, Kansas in the summer of 2010. This phrase captures the most dominant theme that emerged in my research: the importance of preserving the past in order to bolster contemporary identity By "doing this," the Nicodemus descen dan t was speaking to the importance of preserving the historic resources of the community, so that future generations can learn about the unique history of their forefathers. Nicodemus, Kansas is one of the few remaining settlements founded by African American former slaves in the post Civil War period. Founded by settlers originating from approximately 7 families from central Kentucky, the community has experienced tremendous e conomic hardship and several environmental catastrophe s However, the unique cultural traditions and s pirit of the community continue to persevere, and with the establishment of the Nicodemus National Historic Site by the National Park Service in 1996, Nicodemus has secured a lasting presence as a place deemed important to the history of America. Despite this designation the present day community has been reduced to approximately 15 households. The conversation swirling in the community about Nicodemus fate being "cast into the wind" is especially prescient, considering that the average Nicodemus resident is in his or her 70s. With this


2 portrait of an essentially dying community, how has Nicodemus been able to persevere and retain its identity over the past century? The Homec oming Celebration that bring s descendants from across the country to Nicodemus every July is one way of preserving Nicodemus, because it creates an annual sojourn for descendants to commemorate the history of the town. However, this event is not enough to keep the community going during the 360 days of the year that the event is not celebrated. What, or who, is keeping Nicodemus alive ? Informed by Annette Weiner's arguments in Inalienable Possessions, this thesis seeks to explore how the history and heritag e o f Nicodemus, Kansas is reproduced My research explores Weiner's analyses through the lens of the Nicodemus community and investigates the ways that women have been integral to the survival of th e Nicodemus community through their safeguard of family h eirlooms, which take both material and non material forms (i.e. family history, genealogies, local folklore, etc.). According to Weiner, t hese material and non material heirlooms serve as "inalienable possessions" (Weiner 1992:26) and, as a result of women 's' roles in the preservation and transfer of these items to future generations, women have been primary catalysts in the formation and reproduction of Nicodemus cultural identity The title of this master's thesis contains the phrase, "Flyin' West." Flyi n' West is the name of a theatre production written by Pearl Cleague in 1992, which describes the unique travails of African American pioneer women, through the specific lens of Nicodemus, Kansas. Cleague's work is a publicly accessible resource that bring s forth a vivid discussion of the women of Nicodemus. Using live performance and popular media,


3 Cleague expands the reach of anthropology to a wider range of audiences who often find articles in the academic journals of our discipline to be inaccessible. While conducting fieldwork in Kansas, I was given the opportunity to be a participant observer in several community events as well as conduct semi structured interviews w ith several community members. Many of these residents and descendants expressed susp icion towards the National Park Service's presence in their community, and they often recalled dissatisfaction with previous studies conducted by ethnographers and historians that were commissioned by the NPS. Many Nicodemus residents felt that several par ts of the story of Nicodemus' development were missing, specifically women's role in local businesses and politics, in addition to close connections between early Nicodemus residents and local Native Amer ican populations ( the Osage and Pottawatomie ) Usin g the ethnographic techniques of participant observation and semi structured interviews, combined with the completion of archival work with local historic preservation agencies and public record offices, my goal is apply frameworks presented by Weiner in I nalienable Possessions to discover stories and themes that have been delegitimized in official historiographical reports ( NPS 1986 ; NPS 2003a ; NPS 2003b ) back into the larger discussion of Nicodemus history ( Athearn 1978 ; Crockett 1979 ; Flamming 2009 ; Hamilton 1991 ; Painter 1977 ; Savage 1976 ) Hopefully, this research will assist in widening the reach of the Nicodem us story and aid other scholars in exploring the dynamic ro le of African Americans in the westward e xpansion movement of the late 19 th century.


4 This thesis addresses three research questions: 1. What political and economic roles have the women of Nicodemus taken in the past and present? 2. In what ways and to what extent have the descendants of Nicodemus used inali enable possessions to maintain their community since 1877? 3. As a result of Nicodemus federal recognition as a National Historic Site, does this federal legitimization' of their heritage affect the contemporary formation of Nicodemus descendant identity ? Project Background Before conducting fieldwork in Nicodemus, I completed background research that explored the historical context of the Nicodemus settlement specifically within the larger American w es tward e xpansion narrative. These initial investigati ons included archival research of primary and secondary sources that addressed the Nicodemus community as well as a s emi structured interview with a former National Park Service official familiar with this type of ethn ohistorical work. Exploration of them es that emerged from data in this background research helped provide a context from which to approach entering Nicodemus and conducting fieldwork for this thesis I began work on this project in the Fall of 2009 as a student in Dr. Antoinette Jackson's Is sues in Heritage Tourism class. I was a member of a research team that navigate d through NPS published materials, in order to provide insight into how the African American westward migration in the late 19 th century is contextualized This analysis was pre sented as a final deliverable to Project PI Antoinette Jackson, and


5 presented within the framework of the NPS' modes of interpretation. This project was completed with the stated objectives of: Presenting to the NPS an adequate context for interpreting the African American westward pioneer story, while incorporating important themes that represent African American cultural, societal, geographical, and political movements of the time. Increasing the understanding and appreciation by the NPS for the people, places and organizations that contributed materially to the creation and c ontinued existence of the Nicodemus community. Upon completion of these deliverables, I was offered the opportunity to assist further in this project, ultimately working as an intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society under the terms of Dr. Jackson's grant for the Nicodemus National Historic Site project (J6068090024 H5000085095) Piedmont South Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit between National Park Service and Un iversity of South Florida, entitled Ethnographic Technical Assistance and Research Support for Nicodemus National Historic Site In the semester prior to my internship in Nicodemus, I assisted Dr. Jackson with support ing materials for the Nicodemus tech nical assistance and support grant, which included submission of the deliverables listed in Appendix C. Internship and Applied Research Goals From June 15 to August 4, 2010, I worked as an intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society and provided research support and technical assistance for an Oral History Project commissioned by the National Park Service. This applied research project is conducted as part of a National Park Service grant under the direction of Dr. Antoinette


6 Jackson to support the communi ty of Nicodemus in collecting and preserving its history and heritage. In order to facilitate data collection for this master's thesis, I conducted semi structured interviews with members of the Nicodemus community using the question set approved by the I nstitutional Review Board for Dr. Jackson's ethnohistorical profile of the community (on file with Project PI) I used formal and informal interviewing strategies, participant observation, reviews of relevant literatur e, as well as migration and land recor ds to gather the data necessary to complete this project. While completing research for my own thesis, I also performed archival work duties for the Nicodemus Historical Society and helped teach interviewing strategies to local families By equipping Nico demus descendants with the techniques and tools required to interview members of their own community, hopefully a more holistic nuanced study of Nicodemus can be completed My internship duties facilitated the collection of data for my thesis, and these t asks are listed in Appendix D. Research Setting and Background Information N icodemus was not the f irst African American settlement in Kansas. T he first black settlement was the Cherokee Colony in southeastern Kansas, established after a scouting mission se nt in 1870 by Ben jamin Pap' Singleton, the self proclaimed father of the Black Exodus movement ( Crockett 1979 ; Painter 1977 ; Singleton 1880 ) The first settlers of Nicodemus were likely not convinced to migrate to Kansas b y Singleton's


7 Figure 1. Location of Graham County within Kansas Source: Kansas Historical Society ( Society 2010 ) efforts alone H owever it is probable that these individuals were influenced by the post slavery westward movement of African Americans that Singleton helped initiate (Painter 1977). With Kansas' historical reputation as a st ate that worked towards fairness and integration of its African American population, many Reconstruction era African American businessmen established black settlements in Kansas ( Hamilton 1991 ; Savage 1976 ) The first group of 30 African Americans was recruited to move from Lexington, Kentucky to Nicodemu s, Kansas in the summer of 1877 at the behest of black businessman W. J. Nile s and white minister W. R. Hill Two waves soon followed, with 350 settlers in September 1877 and 100 more set tlers in March 1878 ( Athearn 1978 ; Painter 1977 ) The residents o f Nicodemus survived in northwest Kansas, despite suspicion and alarm from neighboring white residents. The rapid growth of the settlement necessitated the official organization of the territory into a formal settlement (see Figure 2), but white residents resisted and worked to delay Graham County's organization. They believed that


8 Figure 2. Early Plat Map of Nicodemus settlement if blacks dominated the county, white residents would be saddled with the debt burdens of the entire population. However, whit e settlement in the terri tory outpaced black settlement and by 1880, Graham County was organized with a solid white majority ( Painter 1977 ) In e very year since Nicodemus' founding, residents and descendants hold a Homecoming Celebration (also known the Emancipation Celebration) at the end of July that leads into beginning of August. The c elebration was he ld for many years inside Scruggs Grove, which was located approximately one mile away from the town proper on the property of R. B. Scruggs. However, the celebration moved to the town center in the 20 th century. This event is the social highlight of the ye ar and descendants from all over the United States return to the small town for a week of festivities remembrance, and celebration of Nicodemus heritage. Homecoming culminates in a large parade on Main Street on Satur day morning which is attended by Gra ham County residents, Nicodemus descendants, and several others from neighboring Kansas counties.


9 The Nicodemus community prospered in the late 19 th century with the construction of Nico demus Schoolhouse No. 1 in 1887 (the first schoolhouse in Graham Cou nty ; see Figure s 3 and 4 ) and the promise of Nicodemus being commissioned as a railroad sto p on the Union Pacific rail line that travelled through northwest Kansas. However, Nicodemus was passed over as a railroad stop a nd a neighboring town, Bogue, was es tablished as a final stop before the depot in county seat Hill City ( Heiman 2007 ) At the turn of the century, Nicodemus faced a brain drain as many young adults moved away to larger, more industrialized towns, to find work and pursue educational opportunities ( Flamming 2009 ) However, several people chose to remain in Nicodemus, and civic groups such as the Three K Club, the 4H Club, Prince Hall Masons, the Priscilla Ar ts Club, and Order of the Eastern Star helpe d foster the community's spirit. These organizations promoted social events and conducted fund raising drives to help send promising Nicodemus youth away to college or to help community members who were struggli ng financially. Figure 3 Nicodemus Township School


10 Figure 4. Western Cyclone n ewspaper n otice of the first school year in Nicodemus August 30, 1886. In the 1920s, high corn crop yields promoted a general level of prosperity for many Nicodemus resi dents. However, the 1930s brought severe droughts and economic hardship to the community. The Stock Market crash of 1929 significantly impacted Nicodemus farmers r elying on stable marketplace conditions in order to recoup the faming debts of the previous y ear. The Stock Market crash and resulting Great Depression, combined with the droughts of the 1930s affecte d all of Graham County severely The drought s caused Nicodemus farmers to become overwhelmed with debt and many eventually sold off their homesteads in order to move to California and Colorado. These drought s were followed by the Dust Bowl period, which crippled Nicodem us by killing most livestock and ruining all arable land. Despite these hardships,


11 the Nicodemus community came together, and showed t heir resilience by helping each other clean up their homes that had been infiltrated by the dust storms. After the Great Depression, the Nicodemus population declined to 40 residents ( NPS 1986 ) In 1939, t he federal government intervened to help Nicodemus, implementing a few New Deal programs to help residents recover from the Great Depression. The Federal Land Bank program offered assistance to help some farmers from losing their homesteads, but many of the original black farmers had sold o ff portions of their farmland off during previous periods of economic instability The New Deal Works Progress Administration Figure 5. Township Hall Source: National Park Service (WPA) created a project to give the men of Nicodemus work by commissioni ng the construction of a town hall for the township. The two year project gave employment to 12 men during this extremely arduous period of Nicodemus history. Despite the hardship, one Nicodemus resident expresses a current theme in Nicodem us history: "I d on't know how we just existed so mehow. The Lord took care of us" ( NPS 1986 :33 ) This township hall stands today (see Figure 5) and currently serves as the Visitor Center for the Nicodemus National Historic Site. After this period of econo mic hardship, global political events affected the Nicodemus community: World War 2. As Nicodemus men were drafted to the Armed


12 Forces from 1939 to 1945, few of those men returned to their lives in Nicodemus. They most often moved to California or the Paci fic Northwest. After i ntense droughts in the 1930s, the early 1950s brough t massive flooding to Nicodemus ( Heiman 2007 ) As a result of these environmental catastrophes, Nicodemus residents began to reorganize their township. With the completion of Township Hall in 1939, the Homecoming C elebration was moved downtown, where it continues to take place today. Accompanying this shift of social activity to downtown Nicodemus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Electrifica tion and Administration (REA) installed electricity in Nicodemus. Before electri city, most residents relied on lamps for lighting and heating ( Heiman 2007 ) However, only a few residents had installed electricity by 1958, and the biggest advantage electricity brought to Nicodemus life was a more lively Homecoming Celebration every year. Despite these improvements to the public inf rastructure of Nicodemus, the town was sideswiped by World War 2 in the 1940s. President Dwight Eisenhower decided to close many rural post offices in an effort to consolidate the U.S. Postal Service, and Nicodemus' post office was closed in 1953. Many res idents often describe this as the moment that Nicodemus' viability was threatened most in recent times ( NPS 1986 ) With no post office and no major highways or railroads coming through the town, more Nicodemus youth began to leave the townsh ip once they graduated high school. By the late 1950s, there were only 12 families living in Nicodemus, and in 1960, the District No. 1 school was closed This was a devastating blow to the community, because the District No. 1 school h ad been a symbol of the first settlers' dedication to education for the community since its construction in 188 6 After the closing of District No. 1 school children in Nicodemus attended school


13 in the neighboring town of Bogue. Currently, all children of Nicodemus are bused to county seat Hill City for primary and secondary school. Despite a brief resurgence in the 1940s and 1950s because of New Deal programs, the town's viability was greatly diminished by the early 1960s ( Heiman 2007 ; NPS 1986 ; Wood 2007 ) Many people left the town, and older residents began to leave their homesteads in the larger Nicodemus township and move closer to the city center, i n order to have easier access to social support groups in town. However, despite the economic, political, and environmental catastrophes that worked a gainst them, the Nicodemus community continued to survive. Nicodemus in the P resent In the 1980s, Nicode mus descendant and principal investigator for my internship Angela Bates began a campaign to get Nicodemus officially recognized as a National Historic Site, which was finally achieved in 1996. This designation is very important to many people in Nicodemus because it serves a s a way of preserving Nicodemus' heritage permanently. I f local residents and descendants are not able to maintain the community, the federal government's presence ensures that Nicodemus history will be able to be tr ansmitted to future generations. The Nicodemus National Historic Site is responsible for the maintenance of five buildings classified as important to the history of America in the Historic American Buildings and Structures Report of 1977, which include the Township Hall, th e African


14 Figure 6. Satellite Map of Nicodemus Township, present day Source : Google Maps Methodist Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church, the St. Francis Hotel, and the Nicodemus School District #1 Schoolhouse According to several NPS employees at the Nicodemus National Historic Site, these structures do not have the funding for full restoration only for exterior maintenance. Although working in cooperation with local preservation agencies like the Nicodemus Historical Society, NPS officials expressed no desire to enter into temporary easement agreem ents with Nicodemus landowners These temporary easements would allow the NPS to conduct preservation work inside these buildings, while allowing landowners to retain their full property rights. Until the N PS owns these historic al structures, there are no plans to conduct any restorative work that would allow them to be explored by park visitors and Nicodemus residents. Except for the Township Hall, all of the buildings have fallen into disrepair over the co urse of the 20 th century and the economic and population de cline of the Nicodemus town. These structures are all deemed un safe to enter.


15 The 2000 census summ ary for the Nicodemus Township reports that there were 52 people living in the township, and the s e data correspond with my personal experiences while conducting fieldwork in the area. The racial composition of Nicodemus currently includes 25 white residents, 26 A frican American residents, and one American Indian/Alaska Native resident ( Census 2000 ) despite claims of it being an all black town. However, the townsh ip is the larger geographic area in Graham County of which all of the land plots are demarcated and in my experience, I only noticed one white family living in the town of Nicodemus. There are approximately 15 single family homes in the Nicodemus community in addition to the federally subsidized apartments on the southeast quad rant of the town proper and First Baptist Church. This ethnohistorical research on the community of Nicodemus is important in that it will help to fill a gap in the prevailing narra tives surrounding westward pioneer movements in the United States. As with many of the dominant themes that emerge in historical interpretations of America's past, the roles of historically underrepresented groups, particularly w omen in the settlement of the nation's western frontier have a tendency to be marginalized (NPS 1986; Wilson Moore et al 2003; Taylor 2003) Prior to coming to Nicodemus, I interviewed an NPS ethnographe r to discuss t he methodological process behind African American ethnohistorical studies in order to learn the process that the NPS undertakes to rep resent this history in the public sphere Although t his project is principally concerned with the gaps that occ ur in the Nicodemus narrative, t his work is more broadly significant because it seeks to remedy gaps in representation and expand the narrative of the American westward e xpansion story


16 Chapter 2: Relevant Literature and Theoretical Framework Introduction Before going to Nicodemus, I completed a comprehensive literatu re review that focused on the role of African American s in the American westward e xpansion narrative, with a special emphasis on all sources that mentioned Nicodemus history. This review included analyses of media of seve ral forms that interpreted the west ward e xpansion movement of post Civil War United States, including books, peer reviewed journals, online media, congressional reports, and official NPS publications (including past resource reports and ethnohistorical studies). There are several cultural a nd political issues that drove African Americans into pioneer territory, and two specific themes emerged from this literature review: biblical allegory as a rationale for resettling in the "Promised Land" and t he Abolitioni st movement's influences on black westward settlement patterns Exploration of these two themes provide insight into the motivations behind African American movement to the w est ern United States and factor greatly into the development and continuity of the Nicodemus community Biblical a llegory as rationale for resettling in the "Promised Land" The biblical story of Exodus served as an especially salient allegory to many African American enslaved people throughout history The conquered Israelites languished in slavery under the pharao hs of Ancient Egypt, until an Egyptian prince turned Hebrew prophet names Moses secured their freedom from pharaoh's rule and led


17 them to the Promised Land. Ironically, as enslaved Africans were indoctrinated into the Judeo Christian philosophy of their Eu ropean subjugators that declared Blacks to be the cursed rightfully enslaved descendants of Noah's son Ham ( Haynes 2002 ) what many African Americans gleamed most prominently from the bible were the liberation stories of the Israelites who were delivered from Egyptian domination to freedom in Canaan. Coping with the cruel physical and p ernicious psychological stresses of slavery, many enslaved people internalized this ideology of deliverance from enslavement to a promised land, where they would no longer be subject ed to the economic exploitation and psychological domination of their ma sters. After the American Civil War, many newly freed slaves languished in poverty and disenfranchis ement during the Reconstruction era along with many of their white counterparts. T he African American experience was aggrandized by racism, the tenant farme r and sharecropping system, and the burgeoning Jim Crow laws and Black Codes ( Ravage 1997 ; Savage 1976 ) As a result, after slavery, many African Americans responded to several of the marketing advertisements that were produced in the late 19 th century, encourag ing Americans to stake their claims on unsettled property in the West. Many African Americans saw the American Great Plains as a "po tential Elysium (Athearn 1978)," where they could rest after years of enslavement and finally experience the satisfactions o f freedom, while simultaneously working to secure political, economic, and educational opportunities for their children There is debate among several historians concerning the origin of the name Nicodemus. Some historians believe that the name has unamb iguous biblical origins, belonging to an Israelite judge who opposed the scorn that the Sanhedrin, ancient Israel's


18 council of judges, showed towards Jesus, and he also helped prepare Jesus' corpse for burial. Other historians believe that Nicodemus was na med after a popular anecdote among enslaved African Americans about an African prince who was brought to the United States as a slave and eventually purchased his own freedom. This poem details, "Nicodemus was a slave of African birth, And he was bought f or a bag full of gold; He was reckoned a part of the salt of the earth, But he died years ago, very old. Nicodemus was a prophet, at least he was as wise, For he told of the battles to come: How he trembled with fear, when he rolled up his eyes, And we heeded the shake of his thumb ( NPS 1986 :6 ) ." Despite these dual interpreta t ions present in the lite rature, the town's name is derived either primarily or secondarily from a source that is biblical. Abolitioni st movement and political influen ce s The second theme that emerged from my literature review addresses the Abolitionist movement, and how Kansas' reputation as a nexus for abolitionists encouraged African American settlement. During its formative years, Kansas Territory was known as "Ble eding Kansas" for the spastic violence of its antislavery campaign This political environment seemed especially promising to many African Americans, because the state's deep abolitionist tradition extended as far back as the ferment of John Brown's free s oil rebellions of the 1850s. Brown's famous Pottawattamie Massacre that killed several proslavery settlers in eastern Kansas and reports of Kansas abolitionists


19 crossing the state border to free slaves on Missouri plantations made Kansas very attractive to African Americans. At one stage, Lawrence, Kansas, the current home of Kansas University, was considered to be the most well advertised antislavery town in the world ( Taylor 1998 ) As newly freed African Americans began to contemplate if and where they would re settle aggressive marketing campaigns targeted them specifically in hopes of getting more workers for Ka nsas' sparse western wheat fields. Moving almost exclusively by foot or by railroad, African Americans moved en masse to Ka nsas and other western territories. By 1880, there were 43,107 African Americans in the state of Kansas, outnumbering blacks in every state and territory west of the Mississippi River except Oklahoma ( Taylor 1998 ) This re settlement movement wa s so great that in 1880, the Senate of the 46 th Congress commissioned an official inquiry into the reasons behind the mass exodus of African Americans into the western territories ( Davis 2008 ) to determine if fear or intimidation from southern Whites or political m anipulation from Republicans was the catalyst b eh i nd the spread of bla ck, primarily Republican voters across the nation's frontier. NPS reports and publications The National Park Service has to date, commissioned four separate ethnohistorical profile s of the Nicodemus community, the fourth being the research grant currently issued to Dr. Antoinette Jackson ( see note at end of chapter for project details ) The first project was a Historic American Building and Structures Report in 1977, which was conducted as a requirement of Nicodemus' designation as a National Historic Landmark. This report included structural reports of the main five historic properties in the community the Township Hall (which now houses the Visitor Center), the African


20 Methodist Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church (the only act ive church remaining in Nicodemus), St. Francis Hotel, and Nicodemus School District #1 Schoolhouse. The report was also accompanied by an Oral History Project, in which numerous open ended interviews were conducted with several descendants and members of the community T he data gathered from these interviews were used to create the ethnohistorical report Promised Land on the Solomon: Black Settlement in Nicodemus, Kansas ( NPS 1986 ) Note that Nicodemus was not designated as a National Histor ic Site until 1996, 19 years later. Dr. Jennifer Michaels conducted the second study in 1999, in which she worked to update the initial profile produced on the Nicodemus community in 1986 A n additional set of interviews were commissioned in 2001 and condu cted by Luis Torres for a separate oral history project which culminated in a 2003 Cultural Landscape Report ( NPS 2003b ) The 1986, 1999 and 2003 NPS reports provide a wealth of historical and ethnographic information about Nicodemus lifeways and the experiences of the Nicodemus descendants, past and present. However, these reports discuss extremely specific pathways that are developed according to the most recent revision of the NPS' thematic framework for its national parks and heritage sites ( NPS 1 994 ) The Nicodemus Historic Site falls under the thematic purview of Ethnic Heritage: African American and within this larger ethnohistorical scope there are eight subjects to explore as detailed by the NPS ( NPS 1994; detailed explanations of each core theme located in Appendix A) These themes are p eopling places creating s oc ial institutions and m ovements expressing cultural v alues shaping the political l andscape developing the American e conomy e xpanding science and t echnology transforming the e n vironment and the changing r o le of the United States in the world c ommunity


21 As a result of these defined parameters women 's political and economic roles fall within the range of themes necessary and suitable to be included in every official pu blication designated by the NPS, and specifically within the case of Nicodemus, where women are integral in the creation of social institutions, shaping the political landscape, and transforming the environment. However, in many formally commissioned NPS ethnohistor ical reports, these issues are left un addressed, or are not fully developed Most notably, the 1986 report ( NPS 1986 ) speaks almost exclusively from a patriarchal vantage point, and does not include historical details of the several busine ss es owned by women in Nicodemus history, or the political roles held by women. Although there were representational gaps in the 1986 report, there were several data emergent from HABS interviews that could have been extrapolated to provide a more holistic profile of the community. The omission of m any female perspective s is especially glaring considering nearly every photograph included in this report is credited as belonging to a woman, and the only individuals that are shown in these photographs explaini ng family genealogies and the value of family hei rlooms are all female. In the 1986 report ( NPS 1986 ) women's roles in Nicodemus history are primarily assigned to traditiona l female roles, as teachers wives, or menial laborers. I do not wish to demean these roles, because women who fulfill these duties are pivotal to the survival of every community. However, my concern is that the representation of women in official NPS literature is limited to these roles, and is not representative of th e breadth of responsibilities assumed by women throughout Nicodemus history. Data collected over the course of my fieldwork and interviews mirror this analysis discovered in my literature review, and also speak to the dissatisfaction that several


22 members o f the descendant population have with the method ologie s and results of the work of previous ethnographers in their community. This issue is addressed more thoroughly in the analysis section of this report. Discussion of the historical framing of women's r oles in Nicodemus history For the purposes of this research, I am specifically interested in the representation of women in the historical narratives surrounding the black western movement. A vailable literature that profiles the larger African American we stward expansion, or Exoduster movement is sufficient, however literature that p rofiles the Nicodemus community is generally sparse. In reviewing these sources, I discovered that there is another unfortunate gap in representation within these piecemeal so urces. T here exist only a few narratives that explicitly detailed the ways that Nicodemus women contributed to the preservation of the community Despite this gap in representation, the most well known account of the experience of some of the firs t settler s of Nicodemus belongs to a woman, Mrs. Willianna Hickman. Hickman was 31 when she travelled to Nicodemus, a part of the third wave of settlers that arrived in 1878, and the following is her harrowing acco unt of her arrival to Nicodemus: "When we got in si ght of Nicodemus the men shouted, "There is Nicodemus." Being very sick I hailed this news with gladness. I looked with all the eyes I had. I said, "Where is Nicodemus? I don't see it." My husband pointed out various smokes coming out of the ground and sai d, "That is Nicodemus." The families lived in dugouts. The scenery to me was not at all inviting an d I began to cry ( Sterling 1984 :111 )


23 The NPS maintains an interpretive exhibit that describes this story on the first sta tionary exhibit in the Visitor Center of the Nicodemus National Historic Site, and it serves as an important reminder of the economic and environmental hardships that the first groups of settlers faced in establishing Ni codemus. As vexing as Hickman's initial experience s were by reading the NPS exhibits alone, park visitors would never learn about how Hickman and her famil y's life unfolded. Hickman eventually established a home for her husband and three daughters on her family's homestead in the Nicodemus Township, which was located approximatel y 15 miles from the town proper. Hickman was active in Nicodemus' local church, put her daughters though the Nicodemus primary school, and remained in Nicodemus for the next twenty years ( Taylor and Wilson Moore 2003 ) Following Hickman's narrative to completion would s peak directly to women's roles in establishing and maintaining fili al bonds across time and space. H owever the one dimensional presentation of Hickman's initial experiences dominate s the discussion of women in Nicodemus. During my review, I discovered a n article in the journal Phylon which was established in 1940 and serves as the official journal of the historically black Atlanta University Center This article details an account of journalist Steven Steinberg who travelled to Nicodemus in 1975 to learn about this isolated all black pioneer town ( Steinberg 1976 ) Hi s account focuses almost solely on the hospitality that the Nicodemus women showed him during his data collection period. He profiles the role of women in the local church congregation and in l ocal businesses, but his work is not an anthropological account, and is essentially a travel awareness piece. Steinberg's w ork is unpretentiously poignant, and provides a catalyst for the theoretical framework of this


24 thesis, while also assisting in art icu lating a larger dialogue of the ways that women have contributed to the formation of Nicodemus descendant identity. The knowledge gained from this research will help fulfill gaps in research on the contribution of African American women as conduits of cult ural reproduction in black communities, and specifically the roles of African American women in preserving cultural heritage and traditions. Women as G atekeepers of Cultural H eritage in Historically Underrepresented C ommunities I considered several theor etical framework s to elucidate the role of women in historic preserv ation and cultural reproduction I am primarily interested in the ways that women serve as facilitators for cultural reproduction and I balanced several theoretical frameworks before choo sing Weiner's thesis of inalienable possessions As I completed my literature review and took notice of the representational gaps and "silences" that emerged from the data, as Trouillot (1995) would describe the m I began to look for theoretical frameworks that address the formation of identity in marginalized communities. Di Leonardo (1984) describes the ways that minorities live out their identities in the United States, both past and present, and levels a critique against the traditional ways that thes e identities are describ ed. She argues, Ethnic identity in the United States today is popularly assumed to imply an adherence to tradition, and tradition encodes the ideal of the patriarchal family. In fact, ethnicity itself is seen to belong to men: the y arrogate to themselves (and identify with) those ethnic characteristics maintained by women to whom they are connected" (di Leonardo 1984:221 ).


25 She qualifies this argument with the assertion that "a large part of stressing ethnic identity amounts to burd ening women with increased res ponsibilities" (di Leonardo 1984 :222 ), which include traditional roles that belong primarily to women within a Western, patriarchal framework, which includes preparing special recipes, planning rituals, and administering "ethn ic" socialization skills to their children. Unlike whiteness, which is tacitly constructed and produced through subliminal action and language production ( Bucholtz 1999 ; Chun 2001 ) non white identities are produced and reinforced explicitly, and women serve as repositories and physical manifestations of these identities Le Espiritu ( 2001 ) also argues the heighte ned role of women in the formation of minority identity. I n her work with Filipino American im migrant families in California, s he argues "gender is a key to immigrant identity and a vehicle for racialized immigrants to assert cultural supe riority over the dominant group (Le Espiritu 2001 :415 ). These frameworks provide an appropriate framework from which to discuss the intersections of racial and gender politics in the formation of identity in historically underrepresented groups. The ethnohistorical natur e of my fieldwork in Nicodemus necessitated the use of a framework that would allow me to combine both historical and contemporary data in order to create a well rounded profile in order to address some of the historical silences in regards to t he women of the Nicodemus community. I chose several theoretical concepts presented in Annette Weiner's Inalienable Possessions (1992) in which she argues that cross culturally, one of women's primary roles is the responsibility f or preserving family heirlooms and m aintaining them for transfer to future generations. I argu e that Weiner's work provides framework from which to address some of the silences that exist in dominant literature concerning women's historic roles in preserving and maintaining


26 identity. For the purposes of this paper, I use the following concepts from Weiner to illuminate my main thesis. I nalienable P ossession s, Cosmology, a nd A uthenticity Weiner argues that in non capitalist societies, the primary specter of economic exchange is not the assum ed tender of reciprocity but is particularly focused on the pos s essions that must not be trad ed or given away because of the immeasurable and indispensable value that they carry This position countered many of the dominant theories of economic exchange t hat had been proposed by anthropologists and economists, which tended to focus on theoretical models that placed men at the nexus of the exchange of commodities According to Weiner's analysis, these possessions may be potentially loaned out, but they must be retained by members o f a family's lineage over time in order to be claimed by future generations who have nothing to do with the original giving ( Weiner 1992 ) In a system that is characterized by the norm of reciprocity', alienable properties are weighted against each other based on their utility. However, inalie nable possessions are "symbolic repositories of genealogies and historical events, [and] their unique, subjective identity gives them absolute value placing them above the exchange ability of one thing or another (Weiner 1992:33). These possessions are ver y important symbols of the social identity of the communities that are vested in them, and serve to preserve lineage ties and reproduce the specific cultural characteristic s of the larger group. According to Weiner's analysis, "[these] possessions authenti cate a kin group's descendants and origins" ( Mosko 2000 :385 ) Maurice Godelier (1999) expands Weiner's thesis asserting that these inalienable goods, through their specific iconographies and hist ories, are the phys ical manifestations of "keeping." T hese


27 possessions bring a vision of permanence into a social world that is constantly in flux; the effort to make memory persist, as irrational as the combat against loss can be, is fundamental to chang e ( Godelier 1999 :112 ) Although w omen are the prim ary managers of inalienable possessions, Weiner asserts that women's roles have traditionally been neglected (specifically in the case of ethnographies of Oceanic peoples) from anthropological analysis, and her reconfiguration of exchange theory provides a n experimental, yet progressive framework from which to analyze economic, social and political realities In Nicodemus, these inalienable possessions take both material and non material forms, and include photographs, genealogical and land records, recipes traditions, and folklore. Weiner also asserts that cosmologies are tied into the authentication of possessions, and form the locus and rationale for public displays of power (Weiner 1992:104). Despite debate among historians about whether to classify th e original Nicodemus settlers as Exodusters or as a separate movement (Crockett 1979; Hamilton 1991; Painter 1977; Taylor 1998; Taylor and Wilson Moore 2003 ) Nicodemus descendants assert th at their forefathers arrived to Nicodemus prior to the Exoduster movement. This theme is often used by descendants to substantiate the local cosmology surrounding the "first and only remaining all black town west of the Mississippi River", which factors gr eatly into the formation of a separate and distinct Nicodemus identity. This cosmology is often displayed in large public displays and reenactments that occur annually in the Nicodemus community, including the Pioneer Days event and the Annual Homecoming C elebration. I argue that the central theme of the "all black" town,


28 combined with other events recalled in the local folklore of early Nicodemus add power to inalienable possessions in Nicodemus, of which women are the primary gatekeepers. Weiner also argu es that t hese possessions are infused with local cosmologies that highlight and increase the importance of their existence. These cosmologies not only authenticate the importance of the possession, but also maintain and support the prestige of the fami ly o r group that it is tied to, providing a locus and rationale for public displays of power (Weiner 1992:104). In Nicodemus, there are several local folklores that form a very important part of the fabric of the community. These local folklores are analogous to the cosmologies of th e Polynesian and Melanesian communities Weiner describes in her analysis, and they work to ensure that Nicodemus is perpetually recognized as a separate and distinct movement from the Exodusters These folklores constitute a larger cosmology that provides the isolated and previously marginalized Nicodemus community with a sense of importance and belonging. Despite the many hardships the residents of Nicodemus have face d, there h as always been a spirit throughout the settlement that N icodemus was an important place that should be treasured and maintained. While the town faced a brain drain from many young adults moving away to larger, more industrialized towns in the early 20 th century (Heiman 2007) for several people, leaving Nicodem us was never an option they considered. The central theme of the "all black" town, combined with other events recalled in the local folklore of ea rly Nicodemus have maintained the viability of the community to the present day Critiques of Weiner's thesis There have been several critiques leveled at Weiner's theoretical assertions focusing on her work with the Trobriand Isl and and Melanesian communities. Some of


29 these critiques include the experimental nature of her analysis, her inconsistent use of the c oncept of inalienable possessions specifically in regards to her analysis of the Kula exchange network problems with her interpretation of personhood and agency in these societies and her tacit imposition of Western cultural suppositions on local populati ons ( Mosko 2000 ) Mosko argues that Weiner provides an inconsistent and ethnocentric model from which to analyze exchange in the communities she described. However, I argue that the s e critique s ar e not pertinent to my theoretical framework because I am using the broader themes proposed by Weiner in order to elucidate the ethnographic data I collected in Nicodemus. My argument does not concern economic exchange in Nicodemus or the particularities o f agency and personhood in the preservation of inalienable goods. I am honing in the elements of Weiner's framework that places women at the center of my ethnographic work, in order to uncover delegitimized and non traditional narratives of the Nicodemus c ommunity. I believe that Weiner's framework provides a strong basis from which cultural anthropologists can work to uncover knowledge that is doubly subjugated by the larger structures of both race and gender; particularly the heightened primacy of women's roles in cultural reproduction, heritage preservation, and the bolstering of identity in historically underrepresented populations in the United States ( Billson 19 95 ; di Leonardo 1984 ; Jones 1985 ; Le Espiritu 2001 ) As shown by Le Espiritu (2001), in t hese enclaves, women are often viewed through the lens of a cultural framework that characterizes the American, white middle class as normative, and all other identities can fall short in comparison due to issues including racial discrimination and disprop ortionate access to resources, among other s. In response to the dominant white, "middle class" standard minority identity is often produced and


30 exhibited through contrasting discourses with whiteness. These subversive discourses allow minorities to create a form of cultural superiority over the dominant group, and psychologically legitimize their social and political status. Women are essential to the establishment and reproduction of this ena ctment of cultural superiority because they work as the primary gatekeepers of the specific cultural traditions ( di Leonardo 1984 ) and "inalienable possessions" that establish and maintain the continuity of this unique identity. Therefore, Weiner's arguments that place women at the point of convergence for anthropological investigation provide a solid framework from which to address the formation of non white identities in the United States Note: The current ethnohistorical profile being conducted by Dr. Antoinette Jackson under the grant number #J6068090024 H5000085095 and title, Piedmont South At lantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit between National Park Service and University of South Florida


31 Chapter 3: Research Design and Methodology Introduction This chapter is a discussion of the methods used during the collection of data fo r this thesis. The first section presents background information on the population of interest, the sampling pool, sampling methods, the issue of informed c onsent, and potential limitations to the study. The next section restates my research questions and objectives, introduces the methodology of this study, rationale for the use of each method, and how each method contributed to achieving the goals of this project and addressing the research questions. The chapter concludes with a brief description of how the data were analyzed. Population, Sampling and Informed Consent From June 15 to August 4, 2010, I helped facilitate an Oral History Project conducted by t he Nicodemus Historical Society and commissioned by the National Park Service. Over the course of t ime spent working for the Nicodemus Hist orical Society, I facilitated five individual interviews and two group inte rviews per the terms of my internship. In addition to those seven interviews, I conducted semi structured interv iews with six other Nicodemus residents. I used Dr. Antoinette Jackson's I nstitutional R eview B oard approved question set ( on file with Project PI ) that accompanied this research project. F or every interview I conducted I managed the Institutional Review Board form signage process, a nd I explained the process to every informant before they signed the consent forms ( also on file with Project PI ) When working with human subjects, the University of South Florida's IRB requires this form to guarantee that every interviewee


32 is aware of th e purpose of this research and its potential risks. Because of the small size of the community, I use pseudonyms for every informant in this paper, as an ethical consideration for any information that may have been shared with me in both formal interviews and participant observatory settings. As a result of the Nicodemus community's small size, I was able to interview many of the household heads of Nicodemus. Prior t o coming to Nicodemus, I completed a database of all Nicodemus residents and descendants tha t had been interviewed in any of the previous NPS commissioned oral history projects (Appendix B). Using this database, I was able to determine which residents had not been interviewed previously and relay this information to the Nicodemus Historical Socie ty to assist in their selection criteria for the oral history project. Using the local secondary data gathered from these previous ethnohistorical reports also assisted in my thesis research because it provided a context for how previous studies in Nicode mus were conducted. It also allowed me to shape t he design of my particular study ( Schensul 1999 ) As a result of the exploratory nature of my thesis goals, I used convenience sampling as a s trategy to interview descendants across generations of the Nicodemus town. I combined this convenience sample with leads provided by the key informant of this st udy, Internship PI Angela Bates At community events, parties, funerals, birthday parties, and at local libraries, as Bernard (2006) states I grabbed anyone who would stay long enough t o answer questions. However, after the community became aware of my presence and intentions, most people were willing to open their homes and hearts to my presence I am enduringly grateful for their collaboration in this project. I followed up with each i nformant, giving them a copy of the terms of the consent form at the end of


33 each interview, as well as a thank you and holiday card upon my return to Florida. Included in my follow up letters, I gave each informant details of my thesis presentation at the 2010 USF graduate colloquium Limitations In most research projects, there are inevitable limitations and gaps within the framework of the goals of each study. Therefore, it is paramount for researchers to honestly and explicitly address these restraints and how they may have impacted their research The major limitation of this research is the time and resource cons traint of master's thesis research, and a resultant lack of interviews with descendants who do not live in Graham County, Kansas, but still pr eserve ties to Nicodemus through annual sojourns to attend Nicodemus annu al events I believe that hearing the perspectives of these descendants would augment the range of perspectives concerning Nicodemus identity formation, and provide in valuable insight into how identity is maintained and reproduced across space and time. These non local perspectives would also assist in providing a stronger investigation into the roles of inalienable possessions in Nicodemus identity formation and the primacy of women a s keepers and managers of these goods. This is a pivotal beginning point for future ethno graphic research in the Nicodemus community. Research Questions and Objectives T o answer the research questions presented in Chapter 1 I i nterview ed and conduct ed p articipant observation with Nicodemus descendants, focusing particular attention on female Nicodemus descendants, in order to discover knowledge concerning the political and economic roles of women throughout Nicodemus history I also explored


34 in my interv iews the ways and media through which Nicodemus identity and traditions are transmitted across generations, through the lens of inalienable possessions and the integral role of women in cultural reproduction ( Weiner 1992 ) I was also concerned with u nderstand ing how Nicodemus residents negotiate their identity in the f ace of the creation of official and "legitimized" narratives that are commissioned by the National Park Service To achieve these goals, I utilized participant observation, s emi st ructured interviews, and a rchival research Participant Observation Partici pant observation is a process of learning through experience with or involvement in the typical activities of parti cipants in the fieldwork setting ( Schensul 1999 ) This method was used initially as a way of establishing my presence to community members and to create a level of trus t between community members and myself Nicodemus is a very small community that has been studied by historians and anthropologists at several junctures ove r the p ast 30 years, and I took note of a general level of skepticism and mistrust of non local acad emic professionals' work in the community. Many community members feel that researchers typically come into Nicodemus, gather the raw data they need for their publications from the lived experiences of Nicodemus descendants, and never give back to the comm unity for their participation in the project. Therefore, I worked hard to make my presence known at community event s parties, funerary events and regular church services. Participating in these events allowed me to learn a bit about local community dynam ics including the roles that community membe rs play in the political organizati on of Nicodemus and the tensions that exist in the community. I was also able to attend official NPS meetings with


35 the community, in which Nicodemus descendants and residents e ngage in dialogue with NPS employees, voicing their opinions on the most recent developments in the community. Participant observation was a tool that allowed me to navigate several of the resultant tensions between Nicodemus descendants and federal author ities, and create a list of potential informants to interview in order to address my final research questions. Community Heritage Events Attending several Nicodemus heritage events assisted in learn ing the community dynamics and to choose which elements of their community I would study, as well as establishing dialogue between Nicodemus residents and myself Several of these events were created through collaborative effort s from the USF Heritage and Resource Management Lab and the Heritage Research Exper ience of Undergraduates (REU) field school under the direction of Dr. Antoinette Jackson of the USF Department of Anthropology (see Figure 7) For this REU experience, I served as a graduate mentor for the four undergraduates who participated in this progr am. Students conducted research as support staff and technical assistance to the Nicodemus Historical Society, in which they were given specific individuals to research Figure 7. Oral History Workshop with Nicodemus descendants


36 in order to fill gaps with in the NHS' archival resources The students each completed a semi structured interview under the direction of either Dr. Antoinette Jackson or myself, and completed archival research in the Graham County Courthouse Depositor y In addition to these duties, students developed individual research interests for their final project, and conducted research to achieve tho se individual objectives The students also assisted in helping Dr. Jackson conduct an Oral History workshop on June 18, 2010 to teach Nicodemus descendants about the IRB consent form process and different interviewing techniques so that they would be equipped with the tools to conduct oral history interviews The two weeks of work culminated in a final deliverable to th e Nicodemus Historical Soc iety in the f orm of an official presentation Each USF student presented the methodology of their particular research, where each of their sources were found, and how their research helped the NHS' overall mission of preserving Nicodemus' unique heritage a nd identity. The final presentation readout was presented to an audience that included both the President and CEO of the NHS, the superintendent of the Nicodemus National Historic Site, several community members, and a professional archaeologist from a loc al university I also participated in other gatherings that occurred during the annual Nicodemus Homecoming Celebration, several of which had been conducted since the early 20 th century. During this festival, Nicodemus descendants from around the country c onverge for a weeken d to commemorate the unique heritage that they all share. There are athletic competitions, concer ts, breakfasts, lectures, and parade s that all observe the heritage and perseverance of the Nicodemus descendant families, and the event br ings much


37 exuberance to Nicodemus These events allowed me to learn about the importance of preservation and continuity to Nicodemus descendants, regardless of age and geographic location. Descendants appear to feel a deep, essential connection to this are a that culminates in the celebratory events of Homecoming. Semi structured interviews Using the IRB approved question set developed by Dr. Antoinette Jackson and assigned to this research project, I interviewed several informants in the Nicodemus communit y. These interviews assisted in my understanding of the roles that women have taken in Nicodemus past and present, how culture and identity were transmitted across the Nicodemus community and further develop my thesis concerning how women served as prese rvers of heritage in Nicodemus. There were also two group interviews conducted during the Ho mecoming Celebration. The first group interview included several participants that had been interviewed individual ly but included two informants who had not been interviewed previously. The second group interview was conducted with 10 participants, of which the majority did not live in Nicodemus, but were returning for the Homecoming events. Of these individuals, only one had been interviewed individually. These i nterviews were crucial to my analysis, because they gave me the material from which to formulate my thesis objectives and understand the perspectives of my informants. I chose semi structured interviews because the questions in the IRB approved question se t are open ended and offer the capability to be fully expanded by myself or the interviewee ( Schensul 1999 ) My research was exploratory, as I was working to expand on my theoretical framework concerning women and cultural reproduction. Semi


38 Table 1. Summary of Informant Characte ristics Lives in NICO? Age Ever lived outside NICO? Length of time in NICO Individual interview? Group Interviewee? April* N/A N/A N/A N/A Y N/A Daisy Y 80s Y 50+ Y Y Sophia Y 80s N 80+ Y Y Melissa N 80s Y N/A Y N Raven N 80s Y 50+ Y N Michelle N 5 0s Y 10+ N Y Annie N 10s Y N/A Y N Faith Y 70s Y 50+ Y Y Mary Y 80s Y 50+ Y Y Gwen N 80s Y 50+ Y N Alicia Y 80s Y 10+ Y N Ruth Y 40s N 40+ N Y Vanessa N 50s Y 10+ N Y Claire Y 40s N 40+ N Y Laura N 40s Y N/A N Y Judy N 30s Y N/A N Y Alice N 40s Y N/A N Y Regina N 60s Y 20+ N Y Kim Y 50s N 50+ Y Y Candace N 70s Y 20+ N Y Rhonda Y 70s Y 40+ N Y Separate interview with NPS ethnographer, conducted prior to coming to Kansas structured interviews allowed me the flexibility to explore these theme s as exhaustively as my informants preferred, while simultaneously staying within the themes and frameworks explored in the interview schedule. I conducted and facilitate d a total of 10 interviews and two group interviews The majority of the informants we re descenda nts of the Nicodemus community. However, a few individuals were not direct descendants of Nicodemus but had significant ties to the community (through intermarriage in all instances ).


39 Archival Research I conducted archival research prior to c oming to Nicodemus to learn more about the research context in which I would be working. A s I began to conduct my fieldwork, archival research also assisted by providing ethnographic data crucial to my analysis. These "materials collected for bureaucratic service, or administrative purposes" ( Schensul 1999 :106 ) were helpful in clarifying themes that were addressed in previous NPS studies and in forging ahead with the theoretic al frameworks discussed in Chapter 2. Local secondary data that I analyzed include the ethnohistorical repo rts and interview transcripts from three previous NPS projects conducted in Nicodemus (1979 HABS study; 1999 Michaels study ; 2003 Torres study ). To augment these data I conducted archival research at the Graham County courthouse, the c ounty Library's vert ical file collection and the c ounty 's archival repository. I also completed focused, individual research in the microfiche collections of the Nicodemus Western Cyclone newspaper located in the Graham County library Data collected from these research site s work in tandem with my participant observation and interview data. Data Analysis I utilized the grounded theory approach in order to analyze the data gathered from the semi structured interviews completed for this study. The grounded theory approach al lows the researcher to identify categories and concepts that emerge from the text, and then link these concepts into substantive and formal theories ( Bernard 2006 ) I isolated themes in the text and coded my fieldnotes and interview notes based on whether or not those themes were emergent in the text utilizing the qualitative analysis software Atl as.ti I used in vivo coding techniques, incorporating the actual words used by interviewees to


40 code my interviews and fieldnotes, instead of coding themes and passages based on my own research goals and objectives. Due to restraints on both time and resou rces, I was unable to transcribe every interview for my analysis ; however, I took comprehensive fieldnotes while listening to each interview and coded these notes. My internship was conducted under the auspices of Dr. Antoinette Jackson's NPS research gran t Despite this tie to the NPS, I was able to use this opportunity to fulfill my duties as assigned by the Nicodemus Historical Society, as well as map out my own research intentions and follow up on them. My research experience was a very intricate interp lay between expectations placed on me as an intern funded by the NPS, simultaneously working with objectives that were set by Nicodemus Historical Society. While negotiating the demands of these two organizations, I also worked to pursue my own research go als and gather the data necessary to complete this thesis. Despite this, I remained consistent with my use of IRB approved protocol and forms. M y methods were consistent, using the tools of participant observation, semi structured interviewing, and archiva l research.


41 Chapter 4: Results and Discussion Introduction This chapter presents an analysis of my research findings, organized by research question. As discussed in C hapter 3, my research methods included semi structured interviews, participant observation, and archival research, which included an analysis of local secondary data. Much of the data included in these results were gathered from the semi structured interviews conducted for this project, in addition to data gathered while working as a participant observer. In this analysis, I profile several women across important to both my informants and Nicodemus history. In providing a portrait of these women, I hope to elucidate the ways women have historically worked to bolster and reproduce Nic odemus identity RESEARCH QUESTION ONE : What political and economic roles have the women of Nicodemus taken in the past and present? Vanessa Smith "Being a woman is your ticket that you will always have over all the guys, being a woman equals strength." T his is a quote taken from Nicodemus descendant Vanessa during an interv iew during the 2011 Homecoming C elebration, in which she discusses her childhood and upbringing in Nicodemus and the lessons taught to her by her mother Vanessa was born and raised in Nicodemus, a daughter in a large family that has deep roots in Nicodemus. She has come to the Nicodemus celebration as she has done every year for her entire life


42 save for one year when she decided not to make the sojourn for personal reasons. She decided quickly soon after that she never would miss another year. Divorced from her husband and now a grandmother, she brought her two grandchildren to the Homecoming celebration, to en sure that her grandchildren fostered a connection with the homeland of their a ncestors. Vanessa is not the first woman to instill within her descendants the importance of the Nicodemus community and the descend ant connection to the township. D ata from both my archival research and interviews show that women have, both historically a nd in the present day, served as primary conduits through which the historical significance of the Nicodemus community is transmitted to future generations. Lulu Sadler Craig In the late 19 th century Nicodemus descendant Lulu Sadler Craig recognized the uniqueness of the black experience in the United States, and began to complete what amoun ts to an ethnohistorical profile of the journey of the first men and women to settle in Nicodemus. Craig was a teacher in the Nicodemus District No. 1 school, and work ed tirelessly as one of the first historians of her community. I conducted a rchival research in the Nicodemus Historical Society's archives and in the Graham County depository, and I found several of Craig's personal effects Craig travelled to eastern Col orado to receive her teaching certification, and returned to Nicodemus to teach local schoolchildren. While she was a teacher, she began drafting a manuscript that offered a narrative of the town ship from the perspective of a descendant. In compiling this work Lula Sadler Craig describes in detail her methodologies, and utilized fieldwork strategies such as unstructured interviews with local residents, oral history collections, and incorporated local folklore


43 Figure 8. Lulu Sadler Craig and her family C raig pictured top row, center She create d a masterpiece that provides extensive detail for future generations to learn about the early Nicodemus experience. Craig is meticulous in the ways that she categori zes each discussion topic from slave life in Ken tucky, encounters with Native Americans, to the creations of schools in the Nicodemus township ( Lulu Craig manuscript n.d. ) She maintains integrity of the actual linguistic dialect of the African Americans of her time, quoting them verbatim to maintain th e richness of the ir lexicon She also painstakingly works to provide an adequate social and political context for many of the themes she addresses in this document citing dates and names of specific legal rulings and local environmental catastrophes that predate particular events in Nicodemus history She incorporates archival research into her data, creating a comprehensive narrative that richly details the experiences of the first Nicodemus settlers. Craig assumed the responsibility of collecting these data for her community with the intention of publishing a book but this goal was never realized. However, Craig provides an example of the integral role that women play in preserving and s afeguarding Nicodemus history. This role is often left unrecognized by ethno historians conducting official NPS profiles who often follow the traditional historiographical paradigms that tend to highlight men' s political and economic roles (NPS 1986)


44 Jenny Fletcher, Elizabeth Broadis, Willianna Hickman Ola Wilson an d Kim Thomas The Nicodemus Na tional Historic Site interpretive exhibits highlight the role of Zach T. Fletcher, one of the earliest settlers of Graham County and the first postmaster of the Nicodemus Post Office. However, there is little mention of his wif e Jenny Smith Fletcher, whose name was not mentioned in any of the local secondary data completed by previous ethnographers in the Nicodemus community that I analyzed. While completing archival research of the microfilm of the Western Cyclone newspaper, I discovered that Jenny Fletcher was assistant postmaster of the Post Office and was also one of the first teacher s in Nicodemus (Daily Register 1888) Homesteading in Nicodemus is often described through the lens of men in the Nicodemus na rrative, and the only narrative that include s a female perspective is the infamous story of Willianna Hickman. E thnographic data show that several women came to Nicodemus and took advantage of the opportunity to homestead land in Kansas Over the course of my interviews, I learned the name and background of one woman in particular, Elizabeth Broadis originally of Kentucky, who settled a homestead in the Nicodemus homest ead in the 1880s on her own. H er contemporary descendants include members of the Van Duvall Buckner, an d Switzer families of Nicodemus. According to Nicodemus Historical Society CEO Angela Bates, Ola Wilson owned the home that currently houses the Nicodemus Historical Society, and was also a local historian and teacher for 23 years at the Nicodemus School. Wilson's home was


45 Figure 9. Ola Wilson House donated to the society by her daughter Kim, who was elected in the 1990s as the first black female mayor of a Kansas town in nearby Stockton, Kansas. Ola Wilson also worked to preserve Nicodemus history, as the Historical Society spent months finding Wilson's writings and observations all over her home, often time s hidden away in obscure places as if put there for safe keeping. The women of Nicodemus seemed to believe in the importance of their town's history and worked to steadfastly safeguard their community's legacy. Blanche White Over the course of my interviews with Nicodemus descendants, the name Blanche White emerged several times from questions in the interview schedule that inquired about childhood i n Nicodemus. As described by long time Nicodemus resident Sophia, "Aunt Blanche, you know, she was our 4H leader. She didn't have any of her own children so she just, really took all of the children under her arms, and she just, so if you wanted to call he r Mrs. White or anything like that, she'd just say, Call me Aunt Blanche' and that seemed to roll right off the tongue. She was Aunt Blanche to everybodyshe never had children but she loved children."


46 White was the 4H leader for the Nicodemus community ( see Figure 10 ) and would take the children to 4H competitions i n neighboring Kansas towns. S he taught several children how to plant trees, make quilts, pluck chickens, "separate the cream from the milk ," and as described later by Sophia in the interview, "she taught us how to do everything ." While White wa s mentioned primarily in interviews with the older women of the Nicodemus community, women who grew up in Nicodemus in the mid 20 th century also mentioned fond memories of "Aunt Blanche" as their 4H leade r. In the first group interview, five of the six informants present mention White's name, and describe what she taught them and how influential she was over their development. One informant Rhonda, expressed how essential Blanche White was to her life, sa ying, "Blanche Whit e taught me how to break an egg. Rhonda was not describing an actual lesson from White, but relating just how fundamental White's role was to the education and development of the children of Nicodemus. White is another person left out o f the many narratives of Nicodemus history. Figure 10. Archival picture of the Joyful Exodusters 4 H Club Source: Kansas 4 H Journal, May 1976 (Graham County Nicodemus Vertical Files) Credit: USF Heritage Management Lab


47 Ora Switzer Several Nicodemus w omen were prominent entrepreneurs during the 20 th century Ora Switzer had a profound influence on many people of Nicodemus, and several informants described her as the woman who taught them how to cook, how to manage money, and how to maintain their house holds. She had a large family and many of her descendants spoke about her influence during the H omecoming Celebration mentioning that their parents would send them to "Aunt Ora" in the summers in order to ensure that their children received the lessons t hat they themselves were taught by Switzer as a child. Lois Alexander Another prominent woman who emerged from the data is Lois Alexander, who taught you how to be tough. She was kind, but you couldn't always see it." Many Nicodemus descendants describe Alexander as a shrewd businesswoman and she mentored several children outside of her immediate family. Claire mentions that Alexander taught her how to be "to ugh which is a euphemistic way of saying that Alexander taught her how to be resilient. As menti oned by Sophia in the group interview, for the residents of Nicodemus, resiliency was paramount to survival. "There was the good, and [there was] the bad, [but] you have to put it all together in a ball in order for it to roll." Alexander also employed Cla ire part time as a child teaching her how to type and keep business records and according to Vanessa, "Ms. Alexander bought me my first suit, at 12 or 13 years old. She took me to town and picked it out for me because she said she wanted me to have a nic e, formal suit."


48 Katherine Henry was the owner of a service and gas station in the nearby town of Bogue, Kansas, a remarkable feat for an African American woman in such an isolated location. In Mary 's interview, she describes working at the service statio n as a teenager before it was closed Ernestine Williams Ernestine Williams was a distinguished businesswoman, her restaur ant operating from 1975 to 2004. Ernestine's restaurant was one of the few standalone businesses in Graham County outside of the coun ty seat Hill City, and the only operating business in the Nicodemus town when it closed in 2004. In an interview with Ruth, Williams is described as a person who "told the truth. Whatever came out of her mouth came out her mouth, [she] tells it like it is. Ernestine was a businesswoman pivotal to the Nicodemus community, following in the tradition of other pivotal women in Nicodemus history such as Sarah Griffey Moore Juanita Redd, Dorotha Herndon and Sadie Hall. The memories of Williams and several Nic odemus women are secure d through the work of Angela Bates Bates safeguards re cipes and life lessons she learned from Williams and still produces Ernestine's special recipe of barbecue sauce that is currently sold in the Nicodemus Historical Soc i e ty's gif t shop. Angela Bates In the present day, Nicodemus' legacy is guar d ed most stalwartly by Bates (Figure 11) who has worked for the past 30 years to spread the history of Nicodemus to wider audiences through a series of lectures and talks and by campaigni ng for federal designation of the Nicodemus town as a national historic site. As described by Daisy in a group interview


49 "I am proud of Angela for keeping Nicodemus alive. The strength in her womanhood comes from her being a woman of Nicodemus." A powerful orator with a commanding presence, Bates loves to talk about the connection that she feels to her community as a descendant of Nicodemus. Bates has been one of the main faces of modern Nicodemus, and continues to work to collect oral histories and catalog ue artifacts donated to the historical society from Nicodemus descendants. Her campaigning was integral to Nicodemus' federal designation, and she continues to represent the interests of Nicodemus descendants. Bates gives lectures acro ss the country about Nicodemus, and is currently working to bring Pearl Cleague's stage play Flyin' West to Nicodemus for the 2012 Homecoming Celebration. Bates role as a facilitator for the preservation of her community's unique heritage and history is t he most current mani festation of a continuous line of women who have safeguarded Nicodemus' heritage throughout history. She safeguards Nicodemus genealogical records and material culture in the Nicodemus Historical Society's archives and is hoping to groom a young Nicodemus descendant to follow in her example. Figure 11. Nicodemus Historical Society CEO Angela Bates serving as Grand Marshal of the 2010 Homecoming Parade


50 RESEARCH QUESTION 2: How have theoretical frameworks presented in "Inalienable Possessions" helped the r esidents of Nicodemus maintain the continuity of their community for the past 140 years? The theoretical frameworks presented by Weiner's Inalienable Possessions that are pertinent to this discussion include several premise s. The first is that i nalienable possessions are "symbolic repositories of genealogies and historical events, [and] their unique, subjective identity gives them absolute value placing them above the exchangea bility of one thing or another" (Weiner 1992:33). These possessions are very impo rtant symbols of the social identity of the communities that are vested in them, and serve to preserve lineage ties and reproduce the specific cultural characteristics of the larger group. The second premise that Weiner details that is essential to this an alysis is the way that c osmologies are tied into the authentication of possessions, and form the locus and rationale for public di splays of power (Weiner 1992 ). Inalienable possessions are infused with local cosmologies that highlight and increase the impo rtance of their existence. I argue that a s bulwarks and transmitters of this cultural information to future generations, women are integral to cultural reproduction in the Nicodemus community. Ethnographic data collected over the course of my fieldwork wor k to show the wa ys that inalienable goods are transmitted cross generationally in Nicodemus. In Nicodemus, inalienable possessions take several forms, specifically photographs. F amily pictures of the original Nicodemus settlers on their homestead s wedding s bridal shower s birthdays, baby showers, and even obituaries are located within these archives. Printed agendas from past N icodemus Homecoming Celebration s are also filed within the


51 historical society's archives. The archives contain at least 1,000 file folders, all organized by family surname. Pr ecious material h eirlooms, such as quilt patterns (see Figure 12 ) and land records are with in these archives Also included in the folders are very detailed notes provided by Angela Bates, that give intimate det ails of the histories of each family with comprehensive details that range from short family anecdotes to complete family histories in addition to copies of primary documents that provide proof of land ownership in the township and an original copy of L ulu Sadler Craig's manuscript. I discovered several of these items while working as a technical support intern for the Nicodemus Historical Society. I was only allowed inside of the archives as a result of establishing rapport with members of the Nicodemus Historical Society, as the hired archivist for the Nicodemus Historical Society alerted me that even she was not allowed to manage or process the family genealogical files. Nicodemus descendants are allowed to access those files upon request These archiv ed it ems are inalienable possessions in the sense that they are crucial to the significance and identity of Nicodemus residents, and information contained in those archives are vested with crucial meaning and must never be given away I will not betray the trust extended to me by descendants by presenting comprehensive details of what was included within these family genealogy files, but there exist several artifacts and archival sources that date back to the late 19 th century inside this collection. I argu e that these artifacts that are preserved by Nicodemus descendants and accessed selectively by community members are inalienable possessions, because they transmit cultural information to younger generations and preserve the unique identities of the earlie st Nicodemus settlers. They hold absolute meaning to the community and serve as important symbols of community identity.


52 Figure 12 Quilts on exhibit at the Nicodemus Historic Site Visitor Center Credit: USF Heritage Management Lab An example of the tr ansfer of inalienable goods occurred after the funeral of one of the patriar chs of the Nicodemus community who died unexpectedly during my time in Kansas. After his funeral, several of his family members returned to his wif e's home, in addition to local co mmunity members who stopped by to offer their condolences. While present, I noticed that the family matriarch had brought out old newspaper clippings, and several of her sons were reading these articles and reminiscing about their childhood experiences. Th e preserved newspaper clippings were collected listings of all of the Kansas state track and field records from 1940 until 1980, and the children all recalled which fa mily members broke which record, what time they completed their events in, and how long i t took before someone in the next generation had broke n that record. A very athletic family, several of the children had successful careers as professional athletes A s a result t he family has a strong reputation of outstanding athletic ability. While rec ounting the awards won at these national and state level competitions, this information was presented to future generations as a way of bolstering the specific achievements of a particular family that extend back to the earli est settlers of Nicodemus. The newspaper


53 clippings helped transfer this sacrosanct inalienable knowledge to descendants, preserving this family's identity. Cosmologies are often tied to the authentication of inalienable possessions, which serve to highlight and increase their importanc e. I argue that the local folklore of Nicodemus' origin offer accounts of the lives and origins of early Nicodemus settlers that have been reproduced by subsequent generations throughout history and augment the importance of Nicodemus' inalienable goods. W hile conducting interviews, participant observation, and reading the loca l secondary data located in Lulu Sadler Craig's manuscript, I learned of several local folklores that were not included in published NPS commissioned narratives and historical resourc e reports These reports are not included because as described by one descendant, there was no archival eviden ce to substantiate the claims." Women are crucial to the transfer of this cultural information to succeeding generations in Nicodemus. D escendant youth are taught from an early age that it is important to know who your ancestors are and to make sure that Nicodemus remains an all black town. As described by Annie, a young descendant of Nicodemus interviewed prior to the Homecoming Celebration If you don't know who your relatives are or anything, you wouldn't really know who you were, if you didn't look back and see who your ancestors were and aunts and uncles were." Annie was able to give her genealogical relations as far back as her great great great grandparents, and she was also able to provide extensive knowledge of which lots of land belonged to each family, how big they are, and whether nor not the original settlers were


54 actual homesteaders Annie stated that she learned all of this informat ion from her aunt, mother, and grandmother. T his transfer of inalienable information ( land records, genealogies, family folklores, etc. ) is pivotal to how Nicodemus descendants construct and reinforce their identity. I t is crucial to the community's surviv al that future generations are equipped with this knowledge. The N icodemus community's intense focus on genealogical lineage and family histories bolster and maintain the unique identity of Nicodemus descendants Nicodemus is also known and described as t he "Only all black pioneer town" by most descendants, despite archival evidence that suggests from its inception, Nicodemus was never an "all black" town Archival research in the Nicodemus newspaper Western Cyclone as well as in my literature review of Nicodemus show that the first settlement founded by African Americans was not Nicodemus but Cherokee Colony ( Painter 1977 ; Si ngleton 1880 ) Nicodemus was actually founded through a joint venture between a white businessman and a black minister. White businessmen operated in Nicodemus and enjoyed great patronage during Nico demus' boom years in the 1880s. T wo white men were resp onsible for digging a communal well in 1879 to prov ide sanitary water to the community ( Heiman 2007 ) However, in my ethnographic d ata there are no mentions of the se whites who helped build and maintain the commu nity. T he only references to the role of whites in early Nicodemus in my interviews surroun d the issue of the Missouri Western railroad overlooking Nicodemus as a stop on its western line despite heavy campaigning and investment from Nicodemus residents M any Nicodemus descendants both past and present believe there were racial motivations behin d this denial Whites are not mentioned by Nicodemus descendants when recollecting their past, because the key


55 to the uniqueness of their settlement is the cosmology of the resilient, "all black" town that has withstood economic and environmental hardship and persists to the present day. This augments the significance of the Nicodemus story, and provides a framework for future generations to remember and reproduce. The Nicod emus Homecoming Celebration itself is a large demonstration and public display of po wer, in which the unique heritage and cultural identity of Nicodemus descendants are t ransmitted to descendants from across the country. RESEARCH QUESTION 3: With the designation of Nicodemus as a National Historic Site, what implications does this federa l legitimization' process have on the present day identity formations of Nicodemus descendants? "Nicodemus can be born again, it can rebirth itselfLook at Nicodemus with different eyes, there is a need for governing and organization of the town. Let na ture drive the development of the community." NPS official to Nicodemus community, Homecoming Celebration 2010 Five buildings constitute the Nicodemus National Historic Site, and are classified as important to the history of America in the Historic Ameri can Buildings and Structures Report of 1977. I attended several meetings that were conducted by the NPS in order to maintain open dialogue with Nicodemus residents while in Kansas. These meetings were designed to keep Nicodemus residents and descendants in formed of the latest developments at the site potential economic and social opportunities, and to elicit feedback in regards to the future of the NPS' involvement in the area. However, despite these attempts to outreach to the community, I took note of a sense of mistrust among Nicodemus residents in regards to what the economic intentions and cultural competency levels of several NPS officials were.


56 In a community meeting with NPS officials, several officials were unaware of the origins of the name of Ni codemus settlement, or story of the African prince Nicodemus (see Chapter 2) The officials responded dismissively to these descendant narratives that run counter to official NPS resource reports, saying, "Well, there is value in myth as well." For the des cendants of Nicodemus, these local folklores are not visions of a distant, ethereal past; they are concrete bulwarks of contemporary identity formation and key components to the character of the community. Christian Wells ( n.d. :2) expands upon Weiner's the sis of inalienability in a way that is crucial to this analysis. He argues that landed property can be inalienable, "because it is constitutive and generative of group identity; it cannot be given, sold, or exchanged outside of the group; and its intergene rational transmission is usually kept within the close context of fa mily, descent group, or dynasty." Moreover, legitimate claims of land ownership based on ancestral inheritance "provides an ideological basis for rights to exploit the land's resources" (W ells n.d. :2 ). In several interviews, descendants and residents shared with me their belief that the Nicod emus town sits above a natural oil reservoir, and the NPS' intentions were to buy as much land in Nicodemus as possible under the guise of historic pre servation, with the intent to economically exploit the natural resources bel ow. As addressed in the previous research question land is an invaluable possession in Nicodemus, and any encroachment from external forces m a y be seen as a direct threat to the c ontinued identity of the community. NPS officials did not assuage the concerns of the Nicodemus residents in these meetings in regard to land acquisition even mentioning that the NPS w ould not do any historic preservation work on any building that was not owned outright by the federal government. Residents were


57 informed that the NPS has no interest in establishing perpetual easements in order to renovate and preserve historic properties while allowing the property to remain owned by descendants. Refusal to allow residents to retain their property creates a problematic dynamic because the NPS is essentially uninterested in completing historic preservation and renovation work on property owned by private individuals. S imultaneously, Nicodemus residents do no t appear have enough capital to completely renovate and restore the five historic buildings that constitute the historic site. Combined with this lack of access to capital, Nicodemus descendants doggedly defend the inalienability of their property in Nicod emus as crucial to their identity, and typically show great reluctance to sell their land to the NPS. There were notable exceptions to this sentiment with in the community, and there were a few individuals who were willing to sell their land to the NPS, but these people lived further out in the larger township on land that the NPS was generally not interested in acquiring. I ndividuals who owned land in the town proper were typically reluctant to entertain the notion of sell ing the land of their ancestors to the federal government. Unfortunately, this places Nicodemus' future in a precarious situation, because as mentioned by a community member in one NPS meeting, "[The] descendant population would be much more apt to give time, money, effort, etc. if they we re able to see changes when they come for Homecoming." However, the NPS' position against the establishment of perpetual easement contracts with Nicodemus descendants' flies creates a political and economic impasse for the future of the community, and des cendants living outside of Kansas may allow Nicodemus to fade into a ghost town, outside of the annual Homecoming Celebration.


58 Despite the legitimization of Nicodemus as a National Historic Site, there are serious concerns with regard to the future of the community and the role that the NPS will play in that future. T he NPS is aware of its precar ious situation in the community. S tatements were made by NPS officials to local residents to reinforce the idea of a dying community and intensify a movement towar ds a collective vision with the NPS at the forefront. The general thrust of the NPS' argument appeared to be that Nicod emus' population is decreasing, and i n 20 to 30 years, the town will be dead. Nicodemus will have to create its own future, just like the first settlers. An audio visual presentation followed that detailed the future possibilities for the Nicodemus town through the eyes of the NPS which included vacation retreats, m otels and other accommodations. These ideas were more akin to a corporat e proposal for an "all black town" theme park than the preservation of a community's heritage in perpetuity. There is an important folklore that harkens back to the early Nicodemus settlers, which details the role that Native American tribes played in hel ping the first settlers survive their first winter. According to several descendants, the first winter was very harsh and the first settlers, being from central Kentucky, were not accustomed to the barren terrain of the Great Plains. "Without the dugouts, they surely would have frozen to death," describes Daisy in her interview, in which she describes the difficulties faced by the first Nicodemus settlers. Even Lulu Sadler Craig's manuscript offers insight into these early r elations with Native Americans. T he early settlers were described as terrified of the Native Americans who approached them on horseback and in traditional costume. The settlers had been told stories of brutal Indian massacres th at had occurred to white settlement s in Kansas' p ast, and wer e afraid that they may suffer the same fate However,


59 the settlement was suffering on the brink of starvation, and the tribe members were peaceful, offering the first settlers enough food and livestock to survive for the entire winter. Previous NPS studies (NPS 1986) completely discard this folklore regarding the role of Native Americans in Nicodemus history due to a lack of archival evidence to substantiate the existence of the relationship, despite the consistent reproduction of this narrative The catego rical silence of these folklores ignore the critical importance of the Nicodemus Native American connection to the local community, which is often displayed and reproduced as a rationale for historical significance in the annual Homecoming Celebration and other annual community events ( Bates 1992 ) In addition to discounting historical Nicodemus Native American connection s Nicodemus residents recall that previous ethnographers either did not have the time or did not express interest in getting to know members of the community. As a result, the final reports written by those ethnographers reinforced established historical na rratives that generally reduced the roles of women in Nicodemus to a few well established historical anecdotes ( Wilson Moore and Taylor 2003 ) This senti ment is encapsulated by an artic le in the National Park Service newsletter Flowering of Nicodemus which describes, We wanted to talk with people who were not interviewed during previous projects for new perspectives on the history of Nicodemus. Unfortunately, we received the grant la te and were unable to reach several of the people w e initially wanted to interview (Howard 2006 :1 ). These previous failed attempts at greater inclusion bestow greater significance to the current oral history project managed by Antoinette Jackson i n Nicode mus The current oral history project provides Nicodemus descendant s the opportunity to learn oral history


60 collection techniques and interview ing skills, in order to broaden the scope of narratives produced in previous Nicodemus projects and reports. Nicod emus' designation as a National Historic Site has been both a blessing and a curse for many descendants. The community is now nationally recognized as a place important to the history of the United States and has secured this status and funding as a nation al park. However, at what cost s? The l egitimized narratives authorized and disseminated by the NPS in historic resource and ethno historical reports to date have omitted several important components of Nicodemus identity I utilized Weiner's th eoretical fra meworks to bring forth several of the perspectives that ha ve been silenced in past historic studies of Nicodemus. Applying Weiner's work necessitates exploring the role women play in creating and reproducing Nicodemus identity. Her concepts also required a dded focus on the local folklores and cosmologies surrounding the development and preservation of the Nicodemus settlement Incorporating these themes would produce a more holistic study that can help mediate the cultural and institutional barriers between the National Park Service and the Nicodemus community.


61 Chapter 5 : Conclusion s This study offers an alternative paradigm from which future researchers can address the construction and reproduction of identity for historically underrepresented group s both past and present, and uncover several important intersections that these groups continue to negotiate to secure the reproduction of their heritage for future generations This work is not a generalization for heritage research in every community. It offer s a framework that can be useful in heritage studies from which researchers can elicit crucial analyses that are traditionally silenced I hope that this work also acts simultaneously as a resource for future researchers of the Nicodemus community, a s I experienced great difficulty in looking for resources that provide ethnographic data from the community. Of those sources that I found, I was critical of the historiography and methodologies of the researcher s who completed their analyse s, as several p erspectives were lost and silenced M y study was designed to address th ree specific research questions. First, I wanted to address representational gaps concerning women in the literature by using ethnographic methods to explore the political and economic roles have the women of Nicodemus taken in the past and present. I also sought to discover if the theoretical frameworks presen ted in Inalienable Possessions could be used to explore how the descendants of Nicodemus have maintain ed the continuity of their c ommunity for the past 140 years. My final objective was to determine if and how the federal legitimization' process affects the present day identity forma tions of Nicodemus descendants. My


62 fieldwork tools and strategies included semi structured intervie ws, participant obse rvation, and archival research. I concentrated my efforts on providing a description of the diverse roles played by w omen throughout history in Nicodemus, and how these individuals have worked to preserve the unique heritage of their co mmunity and ensure the transmittal of its significance to successive generations. As argued by Antoinette Jackson, "ethno historical and ethnographic research including the collection of oral histories, and the analysis of housing patterns and archival dat a, as well as the study of leisu re and recreational activities provide fruitful intersections from which anthropologists can help local communities place a stake in the "constructions, interpretations, and public consumption" of t heir heritage (Jackson 20 09:5 ). Anthropology can be a pivotal tool to ameliorate many of the tensions between local communities and larger, institutional structures that can impose their will by creati ng legitimized narratives that run counter to local beliefs. In the case of Nico demus, the NPS' official narratives produce tensions by creating narratives that do not address several themes that are meaningful to the community. Anthropology allows for a diversity of perspectives, and is able to provide crucial insights into the inner workings of targeted co mmunities. D iversity of opinions is paramount to bolstering the deep level of analysis that anthropology is capable of producing. In Nicodemus, several descendants expressed dissatisfaction with the work of researchers and ethnograp hers, who have journeyed to northwest Kansas since the mid 20 th century providing ethnographic reports that may be sati sfactory to the NPS but provide meager insight s and resources from which descendants can preserve their community and teach their progen y. Mediating the legal and cultural barriers between the NPS and Nicodemus residents is a critical issue,


63 and approaches have been developed recently to mediate some of these obstacles. Jackson's current oral history project proceeds with the s e concerns in mind, working in collaboration with the Nicodemus Historical Society to empower Nicodemus descendants with the tools necessary to stake legitimate claims into the interpretation of their identities by the NPS. I discovered in Nicodemus that there are sig nificant gaps in the historical interpretation of Nicodemus history. Two major themes that are left unaddressed are women's political and economic roles throughout Nicodemus history and the diverse roles that women have taken in order to protect Nicodemus cultural heritage. Weiner's concepts can provide an analytical tool to address several of the representation al gaps that occur in previ ous historiographical reports. By u sing women and their roles as protectors of family histories and genealogies as a ce ntral point of inquiry, several stories and themes emerged in my ethnographic work in Nicodemus that was not present in the work of previous ethnographers. W omen refere nced in Chapter 4 such as Elizabeth Broadis, Blanche White, and Ora Switzer provide a nu anced look at how women are vital to the preservation of the unique identities of their families in Nicodemus. These women contributed to the formation of Nicodemus descendant identity by instilling in future generations the idea that their community is un ique, significant, and must be preserved. This work in Nicodemus is a strong way of expanding both the conversation of Nicodemus hist ory as well as Weiner's theory of inalienability. It expands on Nicodemus history by providing ethnographic details and st ories of women that were integral to the development of Nicodemus descendants, but are underrepresented in official and legitimized narratives The oral history project that I facilitate d was designed to help


64 Nicodemus descendants stake a claim in the form ation of NPS narratives, because they were dissatisfied with the results of three previous studies done in their community. This project was designed as a way to remedy some of those silences, and the investigations that resulted directly address many conc erns raised by Nicodemus descendants in regards to the interpretation of their heritage This work advances the concepts of Inalienable Possessions because it provides a lens through which Weiner's framework has never been analyzed a modern, African Amer ican community. Despite the critiques of Weiner's work that it does not account for individu al agency and personhood in the societies she studied, a broader look at her analyses provide a framework that can help bring broader, more holistic perspectives fr om communities that place a high premium on cultural heritage or have been historically underrepresented. Her focus on exploring local cosmologies as rationale s for public displays of power provides a powerful way for cultural anthropologists to analyze th e ways that marginalized pop ulations defend their identity in the face of large institutionalized structures. As described in Chapter 2, identity in historically underrepresented groups is often predicated on the ways that women preserve and teach culture to future generations. Chapter 4 attest s to the utility and validity of Weiner's frameworks and provides an example in which her these s can be used to elucidate subjugated perspectives My work in Nicodemus required a nuanced approach to Weiner's framewor k, because for Nicodemus descendants, family heirlooms and material objects are not as vital as pictures, knowledge of family genealogies and land ownership. There were no Kula necklaces or banana skirts that provided a tangible re presentation of inaliena bility in


65 Nicodemus. As I applied Weiner's analyses, I learned that family his tories, folklore and the "passing down" of property are the main ways that descendants connect to Nicodemus These stories create connections to a unique heritage as African Ame rican pioneers, and simultaneously bolster this identity in contemporary descendants.


66 Literature Cited Athearn, Robert G. 1978 In Search of Canaan : Black Migration to Kansas, 1879 80 Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas. Bates, Angel a 1992 New promise for Nicodemus National Parks 66(7/8):39. Bernard, H. Russell 2006 Research Methods in Anthropology Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Billson, Janet Mancini 1995 Keepers of the Culture: the Power of Tradition in Women's Lives New York: Lexington Books. Bucholtz, Mary 1999 You da man: Narrating the Racial Other in the Production of White M asculinity Journal of Sociolinguistics 3(4):443 460. Census, United States 2000 2000 United States Census Report for Graham County, Kansas. Chun, Elaine W. 2001 The Construction of White, Black, and Korean American identities through African American Vernacular English Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11(1):52 64. Crockett, Norman L. 1979 The Black Towns Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas. D avis, Damani 2008 Exodus to Kansas: The 1880 Senate Investigation of the Beginnings of the African American Migration from the South Prologue 40(2). di Leonardo, Micaela 1984 The Varieties of Ethnic Experience: Kinship, Class, and Gender among Californ ia Italian Americans Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Flamming, Douglas 2009 African Americans in the West Santa Barbara: ABC CLIO. Godelier, Maurice 1999 The Enigma of the Gift N. Scott, transl. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


67 Hamilton, Kenneth Marvin 1991 Black Towns and Profit : Promotion and Development in the Trans Appalachian West, 1877 1915 Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Haynes, Steven R. 2002 Noah's Curse: the Biblical Justification of American S lavery New York: Oxford University Press. Heiman, Nathan A. 2007 The Spirit of Nicodemus, Department of History, Wichita State University. Howard, Phyllis A. 2006 Superintendent's Note. Flowering of Nicodemus The Official Newsletter of the Nicodemus Historic Site 3(2):1. Jackson, Antoinette T. 2009 Conducting Heritage Research and Practicing Heritage Resource Management on a Community Level Negotiating Contested Historicity Practicing Anthropology 31(3):5 10. Jones, Jacqueline 1985 Labor o f Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, W ork, and the Family from Slavery to the Present New York: Basic Books. Le Espiritu, Yen 2001 "We Don't Sleep around like White Girls Do": Family, Culture, and Gender in Filipina American Lives Signs 26(2):415 440. Mosko, Mark S. 2000 Inalien able Ethnography: Keeping Whil e Giving and the Trobriand Case Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (6):377 396. N ational P ark S ervice 1986 Promised Land on the Solomon: Black Settlement at Nicodemus, Kansas. D.o.t. Interior, ed. Washington, DC : Department of the Interior Publication. 1994 National Park Service History: Revision of the National Park Service's Thematic Framework. thematic.htm 2002 Where is Nicodemus? The Story of Nicodemus, National Park Service Black History Month.


68 National Park Service 2003a General Management Plan: Nicodemus National Historic Site, Kansas. D.o.t. Interior, ed. Washington, DC. 2003b Nicodemus National Historic Site Cultural Landscape Report. D.o.t. Interior, ed. Washington, DC: Department of the Interior Publication. Painter, Nell Irvin 1977 Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction New York: Knopf. Ravage, John W. 1997 Black Pioneers: Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Savage, William Sherman 1976 Blacks in the West Westport: Greenwood Press. Schensul, Steven L., Schensul, Jean J. and LeCo mpte, Margaret D. 1999 Essential Ethnographic Methods: Observations, Interviews and Questionnaries Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Singleton, Benjamin 1880 Proceedings of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to In vestigate the C auses of the Rem oval of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States Vol. 3. Society, Kansas Historical 2010 Graham County, Kansas Kansapedia. county kansas/15288 Steinberg, Stephen 1976 My Day in Nicodemus: Notes from a Field Trip to Black Kansas Phylon 37(3):243 249. Sterling, Dorothy, ed. 1984 We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century New York: W. W Norton. Taylor, Q uintard 1998 In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the American West, 1528 1990 New York: W.W. Norton.


69 T aylor, Quintard, and Moore, S. eds. 2003 African American Women Confront the West, 1600 1900 Norman: Uni versity of Oklahoma Pres s. Trouillot, Michel Rolph 1995 Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History Boston: Beacon Press. Weiner, Annette B. 1992 Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping While Giving Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Pres s. Wells, E. Christian N.d. Cultivated Landscapes as Inalienable Wealth in Southeastern Mesoamerica. In Inalienable Possessions in the Archaeology of Mesoamerica B. Kovacevich and M. G. Callaghan eds Archeological Papers of the American Anthropologic al Associat ion. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association. Wilson Moore, Shirley Ann, and Quintard Taylor 2003 African American Women Confront the West, 1600 2000 Norman: University of Oklahoma Pre ss. Wood, Margaret C. 2007 "Wake Nicodemus" : African American Settlement on the Plains of Kansas. In National Park Service Archaeology Program Website.


70 Appendices


71 Appendix A : NPS Thematic Guidelines for Interpretation at National Historic Sites ( NPS 1994 ) 1. Peopling places, defined as: F amily and the life cycle Health, nutrition, and disease Migration from outside and within Community and neighborhood Ethnic homelands Encounters, conflicts, and colonization 2. Creating Social Institutions and Movements Clubs and organizations Reform movement s Religious institutions Recreational activities 3. Expressing Cultural Values Educational and intellectual currents Visual and performing arts Literature Mass media Architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design Popular and traditional culture 4. Shapin g the Political Landscape Parties, protests, and movements Government institutions Military institutions and activities Political ideas, cultures, and theories 5. Developing the American Economy Extraction and production Distribution and consumption Transport ation and communication Workers and work culture Labor organizations and protests Exchange and trade Governmental policies and practices Economic theory 6. Expanding Science and Technology Experimentation and invention Technological applications Scientific th ought and theory Effects on lifestyle and health


72 Appendix A (Continued) 7. Transforming the Environment Manipulating the environment and its resources Adverse consequences and stresses on the environment Protecting and preserving the environment 8. Changing Role of the United States in the World Community International relations Commerce Expansion and imperialism Immigration and emigration policies


73 Appendix B : Oral History Database created as project deliverable for Nicodemus Historical Society The inform ants listed in this database were provided by the Nicodemus Historical Society and cross listed against oral history transcripts provided by the National Park Service. Table A1 Name D ate of B irth (if given) 1999 O ral H istory P roject 1979 HABS Study Adams, Wanda N N Alexander, Alvena Y N Alexander, Carol N N Alexander, Dale N N Alexander, Gary N N Alexander, Gil N N Alexander, James N N Alexander, Juan N N Alexander, Lois N Y Alexander, Michael N N Alexander, Ordral N Y Alexander, Robe rt N N Alexander, Ross N N Bates, Ada Y N Bates, Angela Y N Bates, Ava N N Bates, Bernard N N Bates, Bernice 1902 N Y Bates, Charlesetta Y N Bates, Harry 1890 N N Bates, Delano N N Bates, Jackson Y N Bates, James Randolph Y N Bates, J ames E. N N Bronson, Donald Y N Bronson, Duffy N N Brooks, Lois N N Buckner, John Y N Buckner, Kathern N N Buckner, Loretta Y N Burnie, Hattie 1887 N Y Brogden, Billie Y N Brogden, Robert Y N Carter, Arnie N N


74 Carter, Bertha Y N Cart er, Bonnie N N Carter, Sylvester N N Clark, Leland Y N Conway, Tina N N Dabney, Helen Y N Dabney, Thomas N N Dobson, Ruth Y N Dowdell, Sharyn N N Edwards, Sally N N Sister N N Brother N N Finlay, Catharine Y N Finney, Ruth N N Fox Leota N N Gage, Mary N Y Garner, Ponzetta Y N Gaulden, Vivian N N Gray, Audrey N N Gray, Greg N N Green, Allen N N Green, Ava N N Green, Darlene N N Green, Maxine N N Green, Rebecca N N Green, Sonny N N Groves, Raymond Sr. N N H erndon, Dorotha Y N Howard, Florence Y N Jones, Ava N N Jones, Chauncey Y N Jones, Dale N N Jones, Herman N N Jones, Lenord N N Jones, Linda N N Jones, Michael N N Jones, Patti N N Jones, Sherri N N Jones, Teresa N N Jones, Venisha N N Jones, Vincint N N Jones, Brother1 N N Jones, Brother2 N N


75 Jones, Brother3 N N Jukes, Monique N N Jukes, Terry N N McConnell, Audrie Y N Moore, Dennis N N Moore, Donald Y N Moore, Mark N N Moore, Marvane N N Moore, Pearlena Y N Moore, Sarah 1901 N Y Moore, Twilia N N Napue, Cynthia Y N Napue, Gene Y N Napue, Lester Y N Napue, Phil Y N Nevins, Arnetta N N Nevins, Joetta Y N Petrie, Wrey Y N Powell, Johnene Y N Powell, Lorene N N Pruitt, Ola N N Redd, Guy 1 904 N Y Redd, Juanita N Y Reed, Carlene N N Robinson, Juanita Y N Robinson, Roberta Y N Robinson, Vance Y N Robinson, Virgil Y N Robinson, Sister1 N N Robinson, Sister2 N N Robinson, Sister3 N N Robinson, Sister4 N N Rupp, Earlice Y N Sayers, Clarence N N Sayers, Irvin Y N Sayers, Minerva Y N Sayers, Yvonne N N Scroggins, Betty Y N Scott, L'Ray Y N Smith, Danny Joe N N Smith, Brother1 N N Stokes, Rosa Y N Switzer, Earlice N N


76 Switzer, Freddie N N Switzer, Harold N N Switzer, Ivalee Y N Switzer, Louis N N Switzer, Marvin N N Switzer, Normajean Y N Switzer, Ora 1903 Y Y Switzer, Phil N N Switzer, Thomas N N Switzer, Veryl N Y Terry, Ada N N Terry, Annette N N Terry, Temore N N Terry, Oldest si ster1 N N Terry, Brother1 N N Thomas, Kim N N Thomas, Valeria N N Tribbitt, Nicole N N Tribbitt, Tiffany N N VanDuvall, Elenor N N VanDuvall, Eva N N VanDuvall, LeRoy Y N VanDuvall, Orlo Y Y Vaughn, John N Y Vaughn, Leeanna N N Well ington, Lloyd 1909 N Y Williams, Chester Y N Williams, Elizabeth N N Williams, Gordon N N Williams, Grace 1893 N Y Williams, Melvina N Y Williams, Waymen N N Wilson, Ola 1892 N Y


77 Appendix C: List of supporting materials submitted to the Pr oject PI for the Nicodemus technical assistance and support grant. Literature review of material gathered from past ethnographic studies of the Nicodemus community. Created a database for the NICO project, in which I categorized each person interviewed by the Historic American Buildings (HABS) reports as well as all of the individuals that were interviewed by Jennifer Michaels in her 1999 study, as well as all of the people tagged by Angela Bates to be interviewed in the current oral history project. The d atabase includes the gender and birthdates for all available individuals, as well as a notation which details whether the HABS study or Jennifer Michaels has interviewed them, and if they are scheduled to be interviewed by the Nicodemus Historical Society. Completed critical analysis previously completed NPS studies concerning Nicodemus ( NPS 1986 ; NPS 2002 ; NPS 2003a ; NPS 2003b ) in which I detailed what I perceived to be the methodological strengths and shortcomings in her findings. I found that the majority of her interviews were semi structured, which contrasts with the HABS interviews that were mostly unstructured. I also investigated the ways her status as an interested outsider' in the community may have affected the responses that she received from community members. In this report, I also note the major shortcoming of the non inclusion of local heritage preservation resources in the data collection and analysis aspects of her findings. Created an Atlas.ti hermeneutic file for the NICO project, in which I catalogued seve ral interviews conducted by the Historic American Buildings (HABS) reports as well as the individuals who were interviewed by Jennifer Michaels in her 1999 study. Completed an annotated bibliography and of sources found in my literature review of African A merican western settlement. This annotated bibliography is composed of analysis of publications (books, journals, online media, official NPS publicat ions, etc.) that interpret the westward e xpansion movement of post Civil War United States, specifically ta rgeting sources that interpret the role of African Americans in this movement. Interviewed a former NPS ethnographer, in order to gain insights on how the Nicodemus story has been interpreted in the past, and to gain insights on moving forward to broaden the scope of the current story. Critique of the online module on the National Park Service Ethnography website, that aims to represent African American history from 1500 1799. Issues raised in the critique include present and potential gaps in the presenta tion of this history, as well as a critical analysis of the ways that the module can be made more effective, on both structural and organizational levels.


78 Appendix D: Internship duties while working for the Nicodemus Historical Society. Please reference my project internship report (which is on file with the Project PI) for more detailed explanations 1.) Maintenance of the Oral History Database Compiled and created a digital database for the Oral Histories that had already been completed prior to my tenure as intern Completed detailed abstracts for each interview conducted Organization and cataloguing all interviews files into a standard archival system that the community can continue to use for future interviews Organization and maintenance all video file s into a standard archival system that the community can continue to use for future interviews Organization and creating the interview guide packets for descendant interviewers into a standard archival system that the community can continue to use for futu re interviews Create an instruction guide for the use of all digital media into a standard archival system that the community can continue to use for future interviews Responsible for the distribution and maintenance of Institutional Review Board consent f orms, video and/or audio digital recordings, abstracts of interviews, and thank you/follow up letters sent to interviewees 2.) Completion of archival work at the Graham County Public Library, Graham County Depository, Phillips County Public Library and Bureau of Vital Statistics Collection of land records and homestead receipts of the first Nicodemus families in the Graham County Courthouse Depository Collection of land record and homestead receipts of African American homesteaders in peripheral communities in western Kansas (Phillipsburg and Speed, Kansas) Searches of preserved microfilm of the Nicodemus township newspaper from 1880 1920 for information pertinent to family histories and local baseball teams Making copies of this ethnohistorical data and placing it in the corresponding family folders in the Nicodemus Historical Society family archives Formal report of filing system and of all archival work findings submitted in a final report to Nicodemus Historical Society


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