Most people, black and white, acquired land in North Dakota not in colonies but as individual farmsteads. From 1880 to 1920, black men and women either homesteaded or purchased outright well over a hundred North Dakota farms. Thomas Newgard, author of Blacks in North Dakota, states that “at least 96 black men and women filed for homesteads in every corner of the state.” As late as 1910, the state census acknowledged African Americans in forty-one of North Dakota’s forty-nine counties.
Small town once named Montgomery in honor of William Montgomery, an African American gentleman who came to the state with considerable financial resources.
Described in the Fargo Argus as a “self made man”, Montgomery, who was born into slavery and later served in the Union Navy, owned more than a thousand acres of prime Red River Valley land. Today, twenty miles south of Fargo, a large farmstead and traces of an old grain elevator, mark the remains of Lithia.