It was a town ahead of its time; the mining company town of Buxton, Iowa became a model of integration and racial acceptance in the early 20th Century, during a time when little of either could be found in American society.
Author Rachelle Chase will be discussing the history of the town and her book, “Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa” as part of the Knoxville Public Library’s LIfelong Learning Series. She will be at the library on Thursday, April 4th at 6:00 p.m.
Buxton was originally a mining camp set up by the Consolidation Coal Company, and eventually evolved into a company town. It was unincorporated, and had strict rules, but Chase tells KNIA/KRLS News within its borders black and white citizens had a degree of equality which was unusual for the era.
“You had blacks and whites living side by side, you had children going to the same schools taught by black and white teachers, you had people going to baseball games and movies and such together at the Y…so it was an integrated town where everybody was treated equal — equal pay, equal opportunities, equal access to things. And so that’s really why I think the mystery and the intrigue exists with Buxton today, is because that was very rare for that time.”
Eventually mining operations moved out of the area; Buxton was abandoned, and the integrated society created there soon disappeared.