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The great Migration was the relocation of an ext than 6 million african Americans from the rural southern to the cities of the North, Midwest and also West from around 1916 come 1970. Driven from their homes by unsatisfactory financial opportunities and also harsh segregationist laws, many Black Americans top north, whereby they took advantage of the require for commercial workers that arose during the an initial World War. Throughout the good Migration, african Americans began to develop a new place for themselves in publicly life, actively confronting racial prejudice as well as economic, political and also social obstacles to produce a black color urban culture that would exert massive influence in the years to come.

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What resulted in the great Migration?


After the civil War and also the repair era, racial inequality persisted across the South throughout the 1870s, and also the segregationist policies known as “Jim Crow” soon ended up being the law of the land.


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Southern Black people were required to do their living working the land due to Black codes and also the sharecropping system, which offered small in the means of economic opportunity, especially after chop damage result from a local boll weevil infestation in the 1890s and early 1900s.


And when the Ku Klux Klan had actually been officially liquified in 1869, the KKK ongoing underground after that, and intimidation, violence and even lynching of black color southerners were no uncommon practices in the Jim raven South.


Did friend know? approximately 1916, when the an excellent Migration began, a factory wage in the city North was frequently three times an ext than what Black human being could expect to make working the land in the rural South.

READ MORE: exactly how the black color Codes minimal African American development After the civil War

The an excellent Migration Begins

When human being War I broke out in Europe in 1914, established urban locations in the North, Midwest and also West confronted a shortage of industrial laborers, together the war put an end to the stable tide the European immigration to the joined States. 

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


Great Migration: Life for Migrants in the City

By the end of 1919, some scholars calculation that 1 million Black world had left the South, typically traveling through train, watercraft or bus; a smaller number had actually automobiles or even horse-drawn carts. 

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

Many new arrivals uncovered jobs in factories, slaughterhouses and foundries, whereby working conditions were arduous and sometimes dangerous. Woman migrants had a more difficult time detect work, spurring cook competition for domestic labor positions.


Aside indigenous competition for employment, there was also competition because that living room in progressively crowded cities. While segregation was no legalized in the phibìc (as it remained in the South), racism and also prejudice were however widespread.

After the U.S. Supreme Court asserted racially based housing ordinances unconstitutional in 1917, some residential neighborhoods enacted covenants requiring white home owners to agree not to offer to black color people; these would remain legal until the Court struck them under in 1948.

Rising rents in segregated areas, to add a rebirth of KKK activity after 1915, worsened Black and also white relations throughout the country. The summer that 1919 started the greatest duration of interracial strife in U.S. Background at the time, consisting of a disturbing wave of race riots.


The most serious to be the Chicago race Riot the 1919; it lasted 13 days and left 38 civilization dead, 537 injured and 1,000 Black households without homes.

READ MORE: exactly how a new Deal housing Program applied Segregation

Impact that the good Migration

As a an outcome of real estate tensions, plenty of Black residents finished up creating their very own cities within large cities, promoting the expansion of a brand-new urban, afri American culture. The most prominent instance was Harlem in new York City, a previously all-white community that through the 1920s housed some 200,000 african Americans.

The black color experience during the good Migration became vital theme in the creative movement known first as the brand-new Negro Movement and also later together the Harlem Renaissance, which would have actually an enormous influence on the society of the era.

The an excellent Migration additionally began a brand-new era of enhancing political activism among African Americans, that after being disenfranchised in the South found a new place for themselves in windy life in the cities of the North and West. The civil rights movement directly benefited indigenous this activism.

Black hike slowed considerably in the 1930s, as soon as the nation sank into the good Depression, yet picked increase again v the comes of world War II and the require for wartime production. However returning black soldiers discovered that the GI invoice didn’t always promise the exact same postwar benefits for all.

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By 1970, when the an excellent Migration ended, that is demographic impact was unmistakable: conversely, in 1900, nine the end of every 10 black color Americans lived in the South, and three the end of every four lived ~ above farms, by 1970 the southern was home to only half of the country’s african Americans, with only 20 percent life in the region’s landscape areas. The an excellent Migration to be famously captured in Isabel Wilkerson’s The warm of various other Suns: The epic Story of America’s good Migration.