FREE - Black Homesteaders in Nebraska: Audacious Dreams

by  Homestead National Historical Park

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The Homestead Act of 1862 provided African Americans with the prospect of land and home ownership, an attractive alternative to racial violence and social disenfranchisement in the post-Reconstruction South. In Nebraska, independent Black homesteaders built successful farms from eastern tallgrass prairies to the arid Sandhills in the west. Black homesteaders also created intentional communities like Audacious. There, homesteaders built a post office, a church, school and formed an unbeatable baseball team. While Audacious succumbed to plummeting crop prices and prolonged droughts, its residents’ hard work and determination remain an inspiration today. In this lesson, a park ranger will discuss with students how Nebraska’s geography and history shaped and was shaped by the experiences of Black homesteaders. 

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All programs are free.


45 min, but we can accommodate your schedule

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Adult Learners, Homeschool/Family Public Library: Library Patrons, Library Staff

Minimum participants:

No minimum

Maximum participants:

We would prefer to keep groups to less than 30, but are flexible. If you have many sections of the same class, we can do a lesson for each section.

Primary Disciplines

Economics/Business, International, Leadership, Problem Solving, Sciences, Social and Emotional Learning( SEL), Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Google Hang Out
Microsoft TeamsWe will work with your preferred distance learning

Booking Information

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For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Please cancel at least 48 hours before your program's scheduled start time.

About This Provider

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Homestead National Historical Park

Beatrice, NE
United States

The Homestead Act of 1862 transformed the world. Millions were invited to file claims including, families, immigrants, single women, and freed slaves. Over 10 percent of the United States was homesteaded! The land, long inhabited by American Indian cultures, changed forever. Homesteaders created settlements and farms, drove industrial advancement, and built our nation chasing the American Dream.

Education Program Specialist

Program Details


1. Begins with a ranger introduction to the National Park Service
2. Discuss a time we each exhibited bravery or were "audacious"
3. Learn about the Homestead Act
4. Review Nebraska geography
5. Briefly learn about Reconstruction and its impacts on Black southerners
6. Explore the stories of independent Black homesteaders in Nebraska
7. Learn how Black homesteaders built the community of DeWitty, NE.
8. Hear about DeWitty’s downfall and its lasting significance


1. Understand the important role the Homestead Act of 1862 had in shaping Nebraska history
2. Reflect on how Nebraska's diverse geography created challenges for homesteaders
3. Learn the events from the south that pushed Black homesteaders north
4. Develop an appreciation for the difficulties that Black homesteaders face
5. Be inspired by the creation of an intentional community like DeWitty
6. Appreciate the difficult lives of farmers now and then.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RF.4c -- Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RI.6 -- Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RI.7 -- Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it a
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RL.1 -- Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RL.7 -- Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

State Standards

4th Grade Social Studies Standards
SS 4.2.1.b Predict how producers would react if the profit from selling a good or service changed.
SS 4.2.3.a Give examples of human, natural, capital, and entrepreneurial resources used in making goods and services in Nebraska and the United States.
SS 4.2.4 Identify and explain specialization and trade and why different regions produce different goods and services.
SS 4.2.4.a Compare Nebraska with different regions and the goods and services each region produces.
SS 4.3.1.a Use local and state maps and atlases to locate physical and human features in Nebraska.
SS 4.3.1.c Determine why things are located where they are in Nebraska.
SS 4.3.2.a Identify criteria used to define regions in the state of Nebraska and the United States.
SS 4.3.2.b Classify regions and places within the state of Nebraska using physical and human features.
SS 4.3.3.b Identify examples of ecosystems in Nebraska and describe related environmental issues.
SS 4.3.3.c Describe the impact of extreme natural events on the human and physical environment in Nebraska
SS 4.3.3.d Describe how humans have adapted to Nebraska's physical environment and use available natural resources.
SS 4.3.4.b Compare and contrast population characteristics of the state of Nebraska.
SS 4.3.5.a Identify and evaluate how changes in human and physical geography have shaped Nebraska.
SS 4.3.5.b Explain the interrelationships of human or physical geographic characteristics of places in Nebraska.
SS 4.4.1.a Analyze the chronology of key state and/or regional events and communicate their impact on the past, present, and future.
SS 4.4.3.b Identify key events in American history that shaped or were shaped by Nebraskans.