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The an excellent Migration to be the relocation of an ext than 6 million african Americans indigenous the rural south to the urban of the North, Midwest and also West from about 1916 come 1970. Propelled from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, plenty of Black Americans headed north, where they took advantage of the require for commercial workers that arose during the an initial World War. Throughout the great Migration, african Americans started to construct a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting gyeongju prejudice as well as economic, political and social obstacles to develop a black urban society that would certainly exert massive influence in the decades to come.

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What resulted in the great Migration?


After the civil War and the reconstruction era, racial inequality persisted across the South during the 1870s, and the segregationist policies well-known as “Jim Crow” soon came to be the regulation of the land.


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Southern Black world were forced to make their living working the land due to Black codes and the sharecropping system, which offered little in the method of financial opportunity, especially after chop damage resulting from a regional boll weevil infestation in the 1890s and also early 1900s.


And when the Ku Klux Klan had been officially dissolved in 1869, the KKK ongoing underground after ~ that, and intimidation, violence and also even lynching of black southerners were not uncommon techniques in the Jim crow South.


Did friend know? roughly 1916, once the good Migration began, a manufacturing facility wage in the metropolitan North was typically three times an ext than what Black civilization could suppose to make working the soil in the rural South.

READ MORE: how the black color Codes restricted African American progress After the polite War

The an excellent Migration Begins

When human being War I damaged out in Europe in 1914, established urban locations in the North, Midwest and West challenged a shortage of industrial laborers, together the war placed an end to the steady tide of European immigration to the united States. 

With war production kicking into high gear, recruiters enticed african Americans to come north, come the dismay of white Southerners. Black newspapers—particularly the widely review Chicago Defender—published advertisements touting the opportunities accessible in the urban of the North and also West, in addition to first-person account of success.


Great Migration: Life because that Migrants in the City

By the end of 1919, part scholars estimate that 1 million Black human being had left the South, usually traveling by train, watercraft or bus; a smaller sized number had actually automobiles or also horse-drawn carts. 

In the decade in between 1910 and 1920, the Black populace of significant Northern cities thrived by huge percentages, including brand-new York (66 percent), Chicago (148 percent), Philadelphia (500 percent) and also Detroit (611 percent).

Many new arrivals discovered jobs in factories, slaughterhouses and foundries, wherein working conditions were arduous and also sometimes dangerous. Mrs migrants had a harder time finding work, spurring cook competition for domestic labor positions.


Aside indigenous competition because that employment, over there was additionally competition for living an are in significantly crowded cities. While segregation was not legalized in the north (as it remained in the South), racism and also prejudice were nevertheless widespread.

After the U.S. Can be fried Court asserted racially based housing ordinances unconstitutional in 1917, part residential neighborhoods enacted covenants request white residential or commercial property owners to agree not to sell to black color people; these would continue to be legal till the Court to win them down in 1948.

Rising rents in segregated areas, to add a revival of KKK task after 1915, worsened Black and white relations throughout the country. The summer that 1919 began the greatest duration of interracial strife in U.S. Background at that time, including a disturbing tide of race riots.


The many serious to be the Chicago gyeongju Riot of 1919; that lasted 13 days and left 38 world dead, 537 injured and also 1,000 Black family members without homes.

READ MORE: how a new Deal housing Program imposed Segregation

Impact of the an excellent Migration

As a result of housing tensions, countless Black residents finished up developing their very own cities within large cities, cultivating the expansion of a new urban, african American culture. The many prominent example was Harlem in new York City, a formerly all-white neighborhood that by the 1920s housed part 200,000 african Americans.

The black color experience throughout the great Migration became an essential theme in the artistic movement known very first as the new Negro Movement and later as the Harlem Renaissance, i m sorry would have actually an enormous affect on the culture of the era.

The an excellent Migration also began a brand-new era of boosting political activism among African Americans, that after being disenfranchised in the South uncovered a brand-new place for themselves in publicly life in the urban of the North and also West. The civil legal rights movement directly benefited from this activism.

Black migration slowed considerably in the 1930s, when the country sank right into the an excellent Depression, however picked increase again v the coming of human being War II and also the need for wartime production. However returning black soldiers found that the GI bill didn’t always promise the same postwar services for all.

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By 1970, once the an excellent Migration ended, the demographic affect was unmistakable: whereas in 1900, nine out of every 10 black Americans resided in the South, and also three the end of every four lived top top farms, by 1970 the south was home to only fifty percent of the country’s african Americans, with just 20 percent living in the region’s rural areas. The an excellent Migration to be famously caught in Isabel Wilkerson’s The warmth of other Suns: The epic Story the America’s an excellent Migration.