In 1865, a band of former slaves newly freed in Mississippi began searching for a new home. They settled near Tuxedo in Henderson County, North Carolina. They eventually bought 200 acres of land that they declared to be “The Kingdom of the Happy Land.” Ruled by a king and queen, the group planted crops and built log cabin homes. They supplemented their income selling Happy Land Liniment and hauling market goods up the mountain grade from South Carolina. The Kingdom’s population swelled to 400, but competition from a newly built railroad hurt its income, and by 1900 almost all the residents had moved away. Only a road sign, “Kingdom Place,” recalls this effort by African-Americans to create a new life in the aftermath of slavery. 


Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio:

[audio:|titles=Happy Land60Mx]