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Cory Booker is reminding Iowans of a long forgotten ghost town in the state.

The New Jersey senator’s family has roots in Buxton, a coal mining town in southern Iowa that once reached a population of 5000

As the Des Moines Register describes the town:

Within a few years, the town had at least 5,000 residents. More than half, including many community leaders, were black. The Iowa Bystander, a newspaper for black Iowans, described it as “The Negro Athens of the Northwest,” Chase wrote.

Other residents included immigrants from Sweden, Slovakia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Buxton soon had three elementary schools, a high school, several parks and a YMCA. Residents formed a brass band and several sports teams. They attended 11 churches, including eight predominantly black congregations. Alcohol was prohibited.

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