Uncommon Common Women by Anne Butler

By Anne Butler

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My children, Dan Porterfield and Kate Porterfield, enhance all that I do with their constant interest, love, and good humor. As for my husband, Jayhe drove to presentations in every kind of foul weather, dragged equipment, showed hundreds of slides, and gave important critiques. He brought to Uncommon Common Women, as he does everything in my life, great joy and fun. ANNE M. BUTLER Lee Austin of KUSU-FM was the first to publicly support my work with western stories, and I thank him for introducing me to the joys of radio production and for encouraging me.

Their hope for social, economic, and political equality did not materialize as fully as they dreamed, but for many life as a homesteader ranked above the grinding poverty of those who stayed behind in the plantation South. Black families took on not only the burdens of homesteading, but individuals often held other jobs to supplement slim family profits. Husbands went to nearby towns to work at urban jobs, Page 27 while black women added domestic service to white families and washing and ironing to their labor.

African Americans, who came to be known as the "Exodusters," found enough of a new life to organize and manage their own communities, five in Kansas alone. Of these, Nicodemus, Kansas, founded in 1877, was best known, especially to African Americans who used it as their beacon to freedom. African American homesteaders also relied on the sod house for a home. Like their white neighbors, often several generations lived together in one small space. Their hope for social, economic, and political equality did not materialize as fully as they dreamed, but for many life as a homesteader ranked above the grinding poverty of those who stayed behind in the plantation South.

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