To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Cooperative advantage during the pioneer movement west: The lessons of Nicodemus, Kansas for modern black communities

Robert Lloyd (Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, USA)
Daniel Mertens (Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama, USA)
Ashley Adams (Mills College, Oakland, California, USA)
Christianna Pruden (Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas, USA)
Angela Bates (Nicodemus Historical Society, Nicodemus, Kansas, USA)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 24 February 2020



The purpose of this paper is to establish a supported and validated reference point for understanding how Nicodemus, Kansas warrants significant inclusion in both the history of management and current entrepreneurship education.


This paper consists of a literature review to identify the salient historical and theoretical importance of the community of Nicodemus, Kansas. The research was conducted by reviewing and couching the research in this context.


Nicodemus, born out of an entrepreneurial spirit of newly liberated Black Americans, is the surviving entrepreneurial force for the African-American efforts in the western US expansion efforts in the later 1800s. The community, courage and cooperative views of the settlers were instrumental in overcoming a variety of hardships inherent in the location, society and time period to not only survive but also deliver growth and success. Nicodemus personified cultural pride and self-reliance, which fueled personal and commercial success.

Practical implications

The cooperative advantage is justified to be included in discussions of American management history, taught in the entrepreneurship curriculum and used by practitioners.

Social implications

Collective courage and cooperative advantage used by Nicodemus carries implications for how modern Black communities can advance their economic and social agendas.


Coverage of Black contributions management and entrepreneurship is scant, but a Black Enlightenment period has recently changed that scholars have recently begun to cover these significant moments in the literature (Prieto and Phipps, 2019). We argue that Nicodemus as an entrepreneurial community serves as a case study that needs contextualization in this Black Enlightenment era and holds pertinent implications for modern Black communities.



Lloyd, R., Mertens, D., Adams, A., Pruden, C. and Bates, A. (2020), "Cooperative advantage during the pioneer movement west: The lessons of Nicodemus, Kansas for modern black communities", Journal of Management History, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 397-419.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited