Nicodemus historian to speak at Friends of Library meeting

By Tammara Fogle | September 30, 2021

DERBY — A presentation about the historic African American town of Nicodemus, Kan., will highlight the annual Friends of the Library meeting here Saturday, Oct. 16.

Angela Bates, executive director of the Nicodemus Historical Society, is the featured speaker. Nicodemus, a small, unincorporated town in Graham County, is the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. Today, the town is a National Historic Site.

“My great uncle, Henry Williams, was the first baby born in Nicodemus just a month after my great-grandmother Emma arrived with the first group of settlers in 1877,” Bates said, according to a news release from the library. “He was one of the first in his generation born on the free soils of Kansas. He represents the many children of his generation that were reared by parents who were former slaves.”

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. in the community room of the library, 1600 E. Walnut Grove Rd., with a brief business meeting of the Friends organization.

There is no charge to attend Bates’ presentation, which is funded by a grant from Humanities Kansas.