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The an excellent Migration to be the relocation of more than 6 million afri Americans indigenous the rural south to the urban of the North, Midwest and West from around 1916 to 1970. Moved from their homes by unsatisfactory economic opportunities and harsh segregationist laws, numerous Black Americans headed north, whereby they took benefit of the require for industrial workers that arose during the very first World War. Throughout the an excellent Migration, african Americans began to build a new place because that themselves in public life, proactively confronting gyeongju prejudice as well as economic, political and also social challenges to develop a black color urban society that would certainly exert massive influence in the years to come.

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What caused the great Migration?


After the polite War and also the restoration era, racial inequality persisted across the South during the 1870s, and also the segregationist policies well-known as “Jim Crow” soon became the law of the land.

Southern Black people were forced to do their living functioning the land because of Black codes and the sharecropping system, i m sorry offered small in the way of financial opportunity, especially after crop 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 continued underground after ~ that, and also intimidation, violence and also even lynching of black southerners were no uncommon practices in the Jim crow South.


Did you know? around 1916, once the an excellent Migration began, a factory 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 minimal African American progress After the polite War

The good Migration Begins

When world War I broke out in Europe in 1914, developed urban locations in the North, Midwest and West confronted a shortage of commercial laborers, as the war put an finish to the steady tide of 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 newspapers—particularly the widely read Chicago Defender—published advertisements touting the opportunities available in the cities of the North and also West, together with first-person accounts 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, commonly traveling by train, watercraft or bus; a smaller number had automobiles or even horse-drawn carts. 

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


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Many new arrivals found jobs in factories, slaughterhouses and foundries, where working conditions were arduous and also sometimes dangerous. Woman migrants had a harder time recognize work, spurring boil competition for domestic labor positions.


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

After the U.S. Supreme Court asserted racially based real estate ordinances unconstitutional in 1917, some residential communities enacted covenants inquiry white building owners come agree not to offer to black color people; these would continue to be legal until the Court struck them down in 1948.

Rising rents in segregated areas, to add a renewal of KKK activity after 1915, worsened Black and also white relations throughout the country. The summer of 1919 started the greatest period of interracial strife in U.S. Sdrta.net at that time, including a disturbing wave of gyeongju riots.


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

READ MORE: just how a brand-new Deal real estate Program imposed Segregation

Impact of the good Migration

As a result of real estate tensions, countless Black residents finished up creating their own cities within large cities, cultivating the development of a brand-new urban, afri American culture. The many prominent example was Harlem in new York City, a formerly all-white community that by the 1920s housed some 200,000 afri Americans.

The black experience throughout the good Migration became critical theme in the creative movement known first as the brand-new Negro Movement and also later together the Harlem Renaissance, i m sorry would have an enormous impact on the society of the era.

The great Migration additionally began a brand-new era of boosting political activism among African Americans, who after being disenfranchised in the South found a new place for themselves in public life in the urban of the North and West. The civil civil liberties movement straight benefited from this activism.

Black hike slowed substantially in the 1930s, as soon as the country sank right into the good Depression, yet picked up again with the comes of world War II and also the need for wartime production. But returning black soldiers uncovered that the GI bill didn’t constantly promise the exact same postwar benefits for all.

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By 1970, as soon as the an excellent Migration ended, its demographic affect was unmistakable: conversely, in 1900, nine out of every 10 black color Americans resided in the South, and three out of every 4 lived on farms, by 1970 the southern was residence to only fifty percent of the country’s afri Americans, with just 20 percent living in the region’s rural areas. The great Migration was famously recorded in Isabel Wilkerson’s The warmth of various other Suns: The epic Story that America’s an excellent Migration.