The First Great Migration (1910-1940)
In every town Negroes were leaving by the hundreds to go North and enter into Northern industry - Jacob Lawrence (NAID 559092)
With the outbreak of the Great War in Europe, southern African Americans were recruited to work in northern and midwestern factories. This need for labor was due to the stoppage of immigrant workers and white men leaving their positions to join the military. Employment in the North provided opportunities for millions of southern Blacks to escape Jim Crow, racial oppression, and lynchings. Many southern African American migrants followed the rail lines and settled in major cities that included Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Milwaukee.
In the North, African Americans were able to take advantage of the public schools, decent jobs, social life, and access to the ballot. However, life in the North was challenging. African Americans lived in segregated sections of the city with poor housing, overcrowding, underemployment, crime, and harassment by local whites and law enforcement officials.
Rediscovering Black History: Blogs relating to the Great Migration
Library of Congress: Chicago - Destination of the Great Migration
US House of Representatives: World War I and the Great Migration
US Census Bureau: Data Visualization of the Great Migration
Smithsonian Magazine: The Long-Lasting Legacy of the Great Migration
Museum of Modern Art: Visualizing the Great Migration
Letter from H. L. Remmel, Republican National Committee to Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace (NAID 5772463)