Jul 01, 2024

Smoky Hills PBS to air 'Ellis Trail to Nicodemus'

Posted Jul 01, 2024 9:15 AM
Filming of the "Ellis Trail to Nicodemus." Courtesy image
Filming of the "Ellis Trail to Nicodemus." Courtesy image


BUNKER HILL — Smoky Hills PBS is proud to announce the airing of "Ellis Trail to Nicodemus," a compelling documentary that chronicles the journey of one family's quest for freedom and new beginnings in the West. This documentary is a story of the first large group of African Americans making the trek westward in 1877 from central Kentucky to the promised lands of Kansas.  Their destination is Nicodemus, an all-black town on the high plains of western Kansas. 

"Ellis Trail to Nicodemus" focuses on Emma Johnson-Williams, a newlywed and pregnant young woman, who travels with her parents and siblings in hopes of starting a new life in Nicodemus. The documentary highlights the challenges and triumphs faced by Emma and her family during their 35-mile journey on foot. Remarkably, just weeks after their arrival, Emma gives birth to the first baby born in Nicodemus, marking a significant milestone for the community.

This documentary offers a poignant glimpse into the lives of those who sought freedom and opportunity in the West, showcasing their resilience, determination, and the communal spirit that helped them overcome numerous obstacles.

"We are excited to share this important story with our viewers," said Audrey Parsons, Director of Programming at Smoky Hills PBS. "The journey of Emma Johnson-Williams and her family is not just a part of Kansas history, but an essential chapter in the broader narrative of American history. We hope this documentary will inspire and educate our audience about the significance of Nicodemus and the contributions of African Americans to our state and nation."

Schedule of Airings:

Premiere - Saturday, July 6 at 8 PM

Rebroadcast:  Thursday, July 18th at 2pm AND Thursday, July 20th at 8pm

About Smoky Hills PBS: Smoky Hills PBS is dedicated to providing quality educational programming and enriching the lives of the communities we serve. Through our diverse range of programs, we aim to educate, inspire, and entertain our audience.