Most Black people who homesteaded in the Great Plains did so against the background of their bitter Black experience in the South. The Southern Homestead Act, passed in 1866, promised recently freed slaves and others the opportunity to homestead on public lands in five southern states. For freedpeople who were defeated in their efforts to gain ownership of plantation lands, the Southern Homestead Act seemed to be a possible avenue to Black landownership. Although some African Americans succeeded in gaining homesteaded land, most were unable to take advantage of the Southern Homestead Act because of their extreme poverty; the unsuitability of the lands available and difficulty of finding them; and the extreme hostility and violence that whites directed against them. The Southern Homestead Act was repealed in 1876, and Blacks turned their eyes toward homesteading in the Great Plains.


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pp. 103-129
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