On my recent travels across Kansas along eastbound Interstate 70, mother nature’s spring winds sway Foxy, in my lane of travel being pulled by my beast of burden maintaining a tight two-hand grip positioned at nine and three.

I was tired of the windy ride and stopped in Wakenny, KS, for the night to avoid the weather front of rain and thunderstorms, with winds, speeds of 20-30 mph, causing cramps in my hands from holding a steady steering wheel.

Parked for the night I began researching my map, to discovered I was 60 miles south of the Nicodemus National Monument, one of Kansas’s many original African-American settlements of formerly enslaved who walked from Kentucky and Tennessee after the civil war and Reconstruction to escape the horrors of Jim Crow.

After a great night of sleep, I began my journey toward Nicodemus. Still, I could see the darkened clouds verifying the weather front had not moved much during the night and was now including the possibility of tornados. After a two-lane drive along rolling hills, I arrived to photograph the images in this blog post when nature reminded me who was in charge.

I moved the Beast and Foxy towards the front of the museum, using the concrete building to block the winds blowing like huge fans on the horizon.
With my emergency lights activated its flashing reflections seen in the torrential rains soon led to the ticking sounds on the roof and hood revealing pea size hail, for the next thirty to forty minuets.

Suddenly my cellular phone’s severe thunderstorm & tornado warnings activated, causing me to reconsider whether my drive was worth it to sit in the rain for almost an hour.

As the thunderstorms and hail continued, I tried to imagine the early settlers sitting inside their dirt sod homes, experiencing mother nature washing her hands, using the hail as a pumice stone.

So many African-American immigrants were fleeing all forms of oppression emerging in the post-Reconstruction Era South groups of settlers established the community of Nicodemus on the plains of Kansas in 1877.

They began turning the dense earthen sod to build homes and businesses, forge new lives establish an all-Black community.

The founders of Nicodemus envisioned a town built on the ideals of independence and self-determination.

The community experienced rapid social and economic growth in the early years, and many speculated that Nicodemus would become a major stop for the railroad. But, it became clear by 1888 that the railroad and the predicted economic boom would not come.

This did not mark the end of Nicodemus, as the town’s population dwindled to a few dozen souls, many African American families stayed in the area, settling on farms in the surrounding township.

From this time onward, Nicodemus became a community of primarily Black farm families. This living community is the only remaining all-Black town west of the Mississippi River that was settled in the 1800s on the western plains by formerly enslaved people.

At 2:00 pm, an hour had passed on the Kansas prairie with flooded roads, a thunderstorm, with hail, moving eastwards when I felt my ancestors happily smiling upon my visit.

By Expedition Nomadic Adventurer

As a retiree travel blogger touring the US, voicing my wisdom, opinion, and thoughts about the retirement lifestyle and life in general. I'm an aspiring pre-published indie author of baby boomer romance and adventures with a whimsical comedic side. I photograph wildlife and landscapes, mountain, biking, kayaking, hiking, and backpacking. I travel the back roads and highways of America, Canada, and Mexico, documenting my adventures via print and photography.

3 thoughts on “Nicodemus, KS, 2023”
  1. Hi Nomad. Good to hear from you again.

  2. Very interesting and I’m glad you weathered the storm!

    1. Listening to the pea size hale impacting the Beast’s hood, windshield, and roof was a bit harrowing.

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