Madam CJ Walker

Madam C.J. Walker Visited Buxton, Iowa in 1918

While anxiously awaiting Netflix’s release of “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C.J. Walker,” the question popped into my head, “Had Madam C.J. Walker ever visited Buxton, Iowa?” The question was a plausible one. People—especially African Americans—beyond Iowa had heard of this amazing town. Buxton was a coal mining town of 5,000 residents […]

Ad Recruiting Black Men to Muchy

Former Confederate Officer Recruits Black Men to Work in Iowa Coal Mines in 1880

While researching how African Americans ended up being 55% of the population in Buxton, Iowa—which was established by Consolidation Coal Company—I did not expect to discover that one of the men who’d recruited African Americans to work in the company’s mines was Major Thomas Shumate, a Confederate officer. Within five to six years of establishing […]

President McKinley Declines Invitation

B.F. Cooper Invites President McKinley to Muchakinock

On December 28, 1900, a little over a month after first 100 employees of the Consolidation Coal Company moved from Muchakinock to Buxton, plans were underway for the Twentieth Century Club banquet. Part of those plans were to invite well known people, such as Buxton Superintendent Ben Buxton, Iowa Governor Leslie Shaw, and President McKinley. […]