Beginning 1910 and leading through the end of the 1920’s, a “Great Migration” took place int he United States where more than 2 million African Americans moved from the Southern United States to the Midwest, Northeast and West. Much of the movement was a response to the high levels of racism in the South as well as employment opportunities in the growing industrial cities. The results of this movement not only affected the current economic climate but also led to many changes that would continue to evolve for generations to come. This essay is designed to provide a deeper understanding of the migration in order to hopefully provide insight into much of the culture we encounter in today’s society.
As we explore the deeper reasoning behind the sudden migration of African Americans to the more urbanized locations of America, we must first consider the increased level of racism in the South of this time. “The primary factor for migration was the racial climate and widespread violence of lynching in the South.”1 With the Jim Crow laws being in effect, much of the idea of “separate but equal” facilities for African Americans was terribly skewed. “In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages.”2 Through these disadvantages, a higher level of oppression was then conveniently enforced on African Americans of the South including voting restrictions, separation of schools and job restrictions.
During and World War 1, the industries of the North began to grow significantly due to the needs of the war. As industries grew, so did the job market. With the increase in job openings and the restrictions placed on immigration to the United States, blacks from the South found opportunity to escape the harsh economic climate of the South. Looking at the growth of the cities, a connection is made with the railroad locations. “People...
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