Buxton: Racial harmony in an Iowa coal mining town

Buxton was a mining town in southern Iowa. It was unusual because 70-90 percent of the residents of the town were African American.


Buxton—it was one of the most unusual yet successful mining towns in Iowa’s history. Buxton was built about 1900, when the mines closed at Muchakinock Camp and all the mining families were moved to a new source of coal. The town was named after Ben Buxton, a local mine superintendent, and was owned by a Consolidation Coal Company, a division of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. The unusual aspect of Buxton was its large black population, which made up seventy to ninety percent of the community. Many of Buxton’s black miners were persuaded to come North by the mine companies’ recruiters who found willing workers in small towns and plantations throughout the South.

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