The Great Migration Of African Americans From The South To The North In The 1910s

667 words - 3 pages

Deborah Senouvor2nd HourMs. Bentley SmithAm. History GtThroughout the early 1900s, the South became known for African Americans likeMargaret walker as a "sorrow home". Life was not easy for them. More than two thirds ofAfrican Americans were sharecropping farmers who paid the landowners a part of theircrops in exchange for rent of their land. Jobs were also scarce and low-paying. Somefactories were simply closed to them and they were often the last ones to be hired and thefirst ones to be fired. African American women had to work as household help for whitesat wages that kept them rapped in poverty. Some fell deeper and deeper in debt tolandlords, landowners and store owners. Schools were few and poor so many of theirchildren were taught at ...view middle of the document...

African Americans werelooking to escape the problems of racism in the South and felt they could seek out betterjobs and an overall better life in the North. It is estimated that over 1 million African-Americans participated in this mass movement. The Great Migration created the firstlarge, urban black communities in the North. The North saw its black population riseabout 20 percent between 1910 and 1930. Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, New York, andCleveland saw some of the biggest increases. World War I and boll weevils were majorfactors in pulling blacks to the North. The war created a huge demand for labor in theNorth when it caused millions of men to leave their jobs to serve in the armed forces andforced immigration to slow down. In the South, a boll weevil infestation of the cottoncrop that ruined harvests and threatened thousands of African Americans with starvationalso caused people to head North. Railroad companies were so desperate for help thatthey paid African Americans' travel expenses to the North. While northern labor agentstraveled to the South to encourage blacks to leave and go find jobs in the North.With black labor leaving the South in large numbers, southern planters tried toprevent the outflow, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The more progressive southernemployers tried to promise better pay and improved treatment. Others tried to intimidateblacks, even going so far as to board northbound trains and to attack black men andwomen to try to force them into returning to the South. Despite the jobs and housingavailable in the North, the challenges of living in an urban environment were daunting formany of the new migrants.The stream of migrants continued apace, however, until the Great Depression and WorldWar II caused northern demand for workers to slacken.

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