In honor of Black History Month, children’s author Angela Bates will offer a look at the historical African American settlement town of Nicodemus, circa 1877. Her presentation, “The History of Nicodemus Through the Eyes of a Child,” will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Barton Community College Learning Resource Center, with refreshments to follow.
The presentation will be based on excerpts from her series of children’s books “The Adventures of Nicodemus Annie,” and will give anecdotal accounts of notable events from the early years of the historical pioneer town in Kansas. These events include the first arrivals of settlers, the first Christmas and receiving mail delivered by horseback, all presented through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl.
Located in Graham County is north central Kansas, Nicodemus is the only remaining western community established by African Americans after the Civil War. A historian and descendent of the settlement, Bates sees value in telling these stories that are all true and include historical documentation.
“I think it’s important because a lot of the western history of the state as it relates to African Americans coming to Kansas is just now coming to the surface and I think it’s very interesting,” she said. “When these events are told in a story format it makes it even more interesting and more personal because these stories are about actual lives.”
Bates is the executive director and past president and organizer of the Nicodemus Historical Society. She is responsible for working seven years with the Nicodemus community, the National Park Service, Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Pat Roberts to designate Nicodemus as a National Historic Site. Since the early 1990s, she has presented educational programs and one-woman shows to libraries and various educational institutes across the nation. She has been working on Nicodemus Annie series of books for the past five years.
The presentation is sponsored by the Cohen Kansas History Center, which is dedicated to preserving resources in Kansas and inspiring research in Kansas History. The Center is in the southeast alcove of the Learning Resource Center on the main campus and is the result of the generosity of Barton P. and Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen of Leawood.
Admission is free. Bates will be signing and selling her books as well.