The Importance Of Migration To The North

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In a 1921 article for Independent magazine, Rollin Lynde Hartt, a “moderate” white minister, wrote, “No mere fanciful bugaboo is the new negro. He exists…He differs radically from the timorous, docile negro of the past.” He continued in the article to describe what he and others saw as the growth of active, and often times violent, resistance to white supremacy in the African American community across the United States. According to Hartt, “Until then, things had been done to the negro, with the negro, and for the negro, but never by the negro.” While Frederick Douglass, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and other early African American activists might disagree with Hartt’s passive version of early African American history, it cannot be denied …show more content…
From 1915 to 1921, somewhere clost to 700,000 African Americans left the South in search of better jobs and more opportunities. Other factors including the boll weevil and the dominance of Jim Crow in the South undeniably contributed to this Great Migration; however, writing in 1918, the African American historian, CG Woodson, notes, “Within the last two years there has been a steady of stream of Negroes into the North in such large numbers as to overshadow in its results all other movements of the kind in the United States.” This was a direct result of declining European immigration sparked by the beginning of the Great War as Northern factories looked to replace the cheap labor that was being lost. Moreover, when millions of black and white American soldiers were mobilized beginning in 1917, this created even more vacancies to be filled. This opportunity to escape to the “promised land” was heralded by African Americans who had already left the South and African American newspapers like Chicago’s The Defender which published a poem in 1916 encouraging African Americans to “bid the South goodbye” as there were “no Crackers North to slap your mother…nor to hang you to a …show more content…
Woodson supported this idea writing, “The Negroes, however, are doubtless going to the North in sufficiently large numbers to make themselves felt.” Woodson and others saw the Great Migration providing enough strength in numbers for African Americans to wield political power through strikes and the ballot box. Now, according to Woodson, “They will have enough votes to defeat for reelection those officers who wink at mob violence.” Although African Americans would soon be disillusioned by the lack of support for domestic reform after the war, this increase in population established enclaves of African American citizens in American cities like Chicago, Detroit, and New York from which the NAACP would grow from 9,000 members in 1917 to 90,000 members by

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