Buxton- Iowa's "Black Utopia"

Apr 12, 2019

Buxton, Iowa was a company town, but it wasn't like any other company town. It was founded by Consolidation Coal Company in 1900 and when the company recruited miners they did not discriminate on the basis of race. Buxton became Iowa's first fully integrated town and the community thrived until the coal ran out. On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sat down with author Rachelle Chase to talk about her new book, "Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton Iowa".

The town of Buxton, IA was seen as a utopia by many Black Americans who migrated from the south with their families in search of work and a better life. In Buxton black miners received the same pay and benefits as their white counterparts. Black and white families lived, worked and played together and their children went to the same schools. 

Chase explored, recorded, and retold the history of Buxton in her first book on the subject, Lost Buxton, but when writing her most recent book Chase wanted to answer the 'why' of it all. "You know there were other mining companies that hired African American miners to work in the mines, but there wasn't the same level of equality and opportunity for African Americans." Chase says ".. both mining and the railroad industry, they were not known for equal treatment of African Americans. So how do you have this company town that's owned by both."

Chase's research into Buxton has even grabbed the attention of presidential hopeful Sen. Corey Booker, who's family had migrated to Buxton from Alabama. To learn more about Buxton and Chase's works, her new book is "Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton Iowa", and her website is lostbuxton.com.

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