Nicodemus is the oldest and only remaining Black settlement west of the Mississippi River, formed by formerly enslaved African Americans who left Kentucky at the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction to experience freedom. Learn about the African American role in the westward expansion and settlement of the Great Plains.
Explore This National Park
Nicodemus National Historic Site, located in northwestern Kansas, preserves and interprets the oldest and only Black settlement in the western United States. Formerly enslaved African Americans left Kentucky at the end of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era to experience freedom in the “Promised Land” of Kansas. The town of Nicodemus is symbolic of the pioneer spirit of African Americans who dared to leave the only region they had been familiar with to seek personal freedom and the opportunity to develop their talents and capabilities. Several descendants of the original settlers still reside in Nicodemus, and many visit each year for the annual Emancipation Celebration. This homecoming event, which began in 1878, fosters the renewal of the spirit of Nicodemus.
Kids in Parks
National parks are places where kids can dream up great adventures! Taking in amazing scenery. Testing out new skills. Exploring places kids may have only heard about. But most importantly, creating new memories with friends and family.
Stories from all parks
Our public lands are our public commons. They belong to all of us as part of our natural and cultural heritage. They remind us of a larger world that has existed long before the arrival of humans and will survive long after we are gone. –Terry Tempest Williams, Author & Conservationist
Bring the Parks Home
When you can’t get to a national park for a visit, experience it from the comfort of your home. WNPA’s online store is packed with ranger-approved park collectibles, books, toys, and clothing. Shop for a special item.