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This is a contributing entry for Northeast Kansas City Kansas Heritage Trail and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.

Benjamin Singleton was coined the 'new Moses' bringing formerly enslaved African Americans to Kansas during the exoduster immigration period. Benjamin was an organizer of parties in the South, acting as a recruiter with promises of freedmen gaining access to farms of their own in the free state of Kansas. In addition to creating a homestead association, he provided access to steamboat and railroad transportation for thousands. 

This park is in the center of what once was Rattlebone Hollow and was built on top of a former landfill that was created in the neighborhood, much to the dismay and protest of the neighborhood. The landfill ended up seeping toxic waste into the community only a few years after it opened. As a result, a park was built on top of the landfill in the early 1980’s. Because of community pushback, the park closed in the 1990’s, the landfill cap was upgraded (, and the safety remediation efforts were finally completed in 2011. Currently, the park is still under construction in an effort to create a community-driven destination. 

Forehead, Chin, Hairstyle, Beard

Sleeve, Wood, Art, Suit

Benjamin Singleton (also known as the ‘new Moses,’ ‘father of the Black Exodus,’ or ‘pap’) was instrumental in bringing exodusters into Kansas during the migration. Singleton himself was born a slave in Tennessee in 1809, had escaped to freedom at age 37 and then used his legendary skills as an orator to gather those who were seeking freedom. When Singleton began building his career as a free man, he worked as a bondsman and eventually moved out to Kansas. 

Once established, Benjamin devoted his time to bringing African Americans out to Kansas to begin new colonies in an established free state with affordable land prices. In doing so, Singleton traveled throughout the South and successfully organized people willing to colonize Kansas, even distributing advertisements. Kansas was sold as a new opportunity full of promise and a better chance of sustained freedom. Singleton was so successful in helping people migrate, he created a formal homestead association known as the Edgefield Real Estate and Homestead Association and was even able to hire an associate, known as Columbus Johnson. Originally, the association began by sending a committee to Kansas in 1872 to study settlement opportunities for the colonies. Following this exploration, Singleton acquired a steamboat and organized railroad transportation to then help thousands of immigrants settle in Kansas. From 1877-1879 alone, Benjamin and his Association were responsible for bringing a group of over 300 African Americans into Kansas. There were a few primary areas in Kansas where the exodusters set up their colonies: Baxter Springs in Cherokee County, Wyandotte, Dunlap Colony, and Topeka. 

As the exoduster settlements grew in popularity, so did the strain on resources. This led to the Kansas Freedmen’s Relief Association (KFRA) being formed in 1879 in an effort to distribute resources and assist the struggling communities in dealing with the growing population. 

In the early 1890’s, Singleton moved to Topeka to create a new organization known as the United Colored Links. The organization served to foster unions that would protect African American laborers and encourage patronage of African American businesses. Singleton died in 1900, and his legacy as “Pap of the Exodus” is solidified in history.

Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, Kansaspedia. Accessed April 5th 2022.

Kansas Historical Society. Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, Kansaspedia. June 1st 2004. Accessed April 5th 2022.

Report of the minority, Kansas Memory. Accessed April 5th 2022.

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