The Great Migration In African Richard Wright's Native Son

Decent Essays
Nancy Torres
Mrs. Dejong
Honors English 10-7
7 May 2015
The Great Migration The Great Migration was a movement in which a large number of African Americans relocated from the rural south to urban cities in Northern and Western United States. This movement lasted from 1915 to 1970 and approximately six million African Americans left their homes to move to urban cities. In hopes of escaping injustice in the south and in search for different job opportunities, numerous African Americans migrated to Chicago. Although Chicago was the most prominent city to move to, migrants also moved to other areas. Living conditions were overcrowded, homes were overpriced, and communities were still segregated. The Great Migration was a time period in which African
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The main character Bigger Thomas and his family move to Chicago during the Great Migration. Several African American migrants claimed a comparable life to what Bigger Thomas described, “A guy gets tired of being told what he can do and can’t do. You get a little job here and a little job there. You shine shoes, sweep streets; anything….You don’t make enough to live on. You don’t know when you going to get fired. Pretty soon you get so you can’t hope for nothing. You just keep moving all the time, doing what other folks say. You ain’t a man no more. You just work day in and day out so the world can roll on and other people can live” (Wright 326).
African Americans moved to the North and West for various reasons. African Americans were not only escaping the corrupt laws in the South but were also needed in the North by industries that were in search of workers. When in Chicago, migrants began to find jobs, “Between 1925 and 1929, black Chicagoans gained unprecedented access to city jobs, expanded their professional class, and won elective office in local and state government”
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The Chicago Defender persuaded migrants to come to northern states by stating that life was better in the north. Words such as “negro” or “black” were not used in the Chicago Defender. African Americans were referred to as “The Race”. Since white distributors refused to distribute the Chicago Defender, the newspaper was then smuggled into southern states. The Chicago Defender became a well-known newspaper during this time period, “It is estimated that at its height each paper sold was read by four or five African Americans, putting its readership at over 500,000 people each week. The Chicago Defender was the first black newspaper to have a circulation over 100,000, the first to have a wealth column, and the first to have a full page of comic strips” (The Chicago

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