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Black Migration 169

Black Migration 169 - Katrina Wyatt 3.19.08 Black Studies...

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Katrina Wyatt 3.19.08 Black Studies 169CR Great Migrations of the United States The United States experienced two migrations characterized by a mass movement of people from the South to the North, and then from the cities to the suburbs. These movements corresponded with World War I and World War II, respectively. These major shifts in American society resulted in many riots throughout the United States, including the Watts riot of 1965. Although the migrations were decades apart and the United States was dealing with different issues, African Americans faced much of the same treatment and circumstances in both. The issues surrounding the first migration arose from situations that were present well before the war started. Before World War I, many African Americans were already attracted to the Northern cities for many reasons. Jim Crow laws in the South were very prominent and affected the African Americans on a daily basis. In the North, segregation was considered to be much less prominent, attracting the attention of the Southerners who experienced racism through the Jim Crow laws daily. In addition, many sharecroppers worked in the South prior to the war. Sharecrop failure in the 1910’s with the boll weevil caused many of the Southern sharecroppers to consider leaving the South to find better opportunities in the cities where they could hope to hold jobs and live better lives. The Klu Klux Klan (KKK), which formed in the 1800’s, provided extra pressure on African Americans of the South, intimidating them enough with their violence and hostility to move to the North. The North offered a much more subtle racism to deal with than the rural South. Most African Americans at this time moved to the Northern industrial cities to find war-effort jobs. 1
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World War I lasted from 1914 to 1918. During this time, immigration from European countries was limited because the United States distrusted other countries. Therefore, industrial cities such as Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore offered increased jobs while experiencing a labor shortage. Approximately 1.6 million African Americans moved from the rural South to the cities of the North. The immigrants already living in the cities presented a difficulty for African Americans as they had to compete with the immigrants for both jobs and housing. African Americans were disproportionably placed in service and unskilled jobs during this time. Divisions quickly built up between Northern and Southern blacks, United States and foreign born citizens, as well as newcomers and those who had moved to the cities before the war started. Divisions and discrimination of African Americans caused crime and degradation to take over. African Americans were centralized in the slums of the cities and had very poor living conditions which continued to grow worse as time went on. The migration of African Americans that followed was characterized by much of the same. The second migration of African Americans was from the Northern and Southern
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Black Migration 169 - Katrina Wyatt 3.19.08 Black Studies...

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