In 1865, a band of former slaves newly freed in Mississippi began searching for a new home. They settled near Tuxedo in Henderson County, North Carolina. They eventually bought 200 acres of land that they declared to be “The Kingdom of the Happy Land.” Ruled by a king and queen, the group planted crops and built log cabin homes. They supplemented their income selling Happy Land Liniment and hauling market goods up the mountain grade from South Carolina. The Kingdom’s population swelled to 400, but competition from a newly built railroad hurt its income, and by 1900 almost all the residents had moved away. Only a road sign, “Kingdom Place,” recalls this effort by African-Americans to create a new life in the aftermath of slavery.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:
- Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Church In May 1867, having been led by the spirit of God, newly freed slaves from Charleston joined with their ministers to establish the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Church in East Flat Rock, […]
- Banjo The banjo, a four or five string musical instrument with a leather or plastic head stretched over a circular wooden rim, is pictured by many as the symbol of Appalachian music. . .
- Stepping Stepping is a form of dance involving synchronized stomping, clapping, singing, and chanting. It was developed in the early 20th century by African-American fraternities and sororities. It […]
- Etta Baker Etta Baker was an important Appalachian blues guitarist. Born in North Carolina’s Piedmont in 1913, she spent her adult life in the mountain town of Morganton. Her mixed African-American, […]
- Carl Sandburg Nestled deep in Appalachia, in Flat Rock, North Carolina, is Connemara, a beautiful 245-acre farm. It is world-renowned for producing prized dairy goats. It is famous for another reason, as well. . .