Flyin' West Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Miss Leah's character. How is she important to the story?

Miss Leah is the elder in the play who has many stories to tell. Miss Leah's age offers a bridge to the era of African American history when they were still slaves. She is a woman who understands the hardship of being black in America, but still loves and cares. However, she also sees the progress that has occurred over the years.

2. What vision does Sophie have for Nicodemus?

Sophie would like to see Nicodemus as an all-black town where everyone works hard for themselves and not for a white owner. There are plans to expand the church, post office and open up a school. Sophie would like to see this expansion because this is a way to be free.

3. How do so many black people end up in Nicodemus, Kansas? What are they all looking for?

Sophie, Fannie, and Minnie come to Kansas from Memphis with promises of land and a fresh start. Although slavery has ended, Jim Crow laws are in place, and there are still obstacles for blacks in the south. The thousands that head west do not know what is ahead of them, but they do know that what they leave behind is not all good.

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