In Color Me Butterfly, L.Y. Marlow describes an African American family in the 20th century. Not only does she describe the family’s experiences, she also explains events common to many African-Americans during this time. The book covers Isaac’s experience in the Great Migration. It also describes the Civil Rights movement, racial tension in America, and history from the late 1980’s through 2001. In studying this novel, the reader follows the experiences of many African Americans during the 1900s.
The Great Migration was the movement of large numbers of African Americans from small southern towns and rural neighborhoods to large northern cities. Many African Americans moved up north because of the economy. Because of the lack of work, Isaac wanted to move up north to have a steady income. “Isaac convinced his parents to let him move by telling them; he’d make plenty more money in the big city than the little he earned sharecropping, and he’d be able to send them something every now and then. This proves that because of the lack of work in Kingstree, he moved up north not only for his family but himself to have a better life.
The Civil Rights movement is mentioned several times throughout Marlow’s novel. People involved in the movement worked to ensure equality among African Americans and whites. In the south, it was all about segregation, but it was also segregation up north. One night, Mattie, Roy, and their friends were on their way to visit his neighbor.