American History Essay Example: The Great Migration

Published: 2022-11-04
American History Essay Example: The Great Migration
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories: American history
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1903 words
16 min read

Revolution is a fashionable and well-designed philosophical change in every community. At times, a revolution is accompanied by a defilement from the set rules. Besides, a revolution leads to stability and changes in the various aspects of the society. The Great migration of 1916 was a second revolution of the blacks. During the Great Migration, there were massive movements of the black Americans to the Northern and Western states. White supremacy and racial prejudice majorly characterized the United States before the Great migration, with a large number of black Americans living in the undeveloped Southern States. The African Americans were peasants in farms getting lower wages and living in poor conditions. There was also intimidation and abuse against the blacks, and the whites saw the blacks as rural people who lacked experience in living in cities in Chicago and New City (McKay, p.23). The Great Migration of 1916 influenced the historical, political, social, demographic, and economic aspects of the people in the United States of America.

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Key words

Southern States: Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina

Northern states: Chicago, Illiniois, Detroit, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York

There was a decrease in the black population in the Southern states and the rise in population in the Western and Northern States. Initially, a large population of the blacks lived in southern states in rural villages. By the end of 1919, over 1 million had left the southern states for the states in the North. The people migrated by using trains and boats. However, a few people had automotive means that they would use to ferry their families to various cities that they would occupy (Muller, p.345). The earlier industrial revolution led to the introduction of the engine that enabled people to reach their destination faster. The movements were slow and looked insignificant but at the end of the movement over six million people had left the southern states.

Initially, people believed that the blacks occupied the southern states, but the migration was slowly shaping the old-school believe. By the time the migration ended over 6million people had fled the South. When the migration ended, the demographic ratios had changed. At the end of the movement, only 25% of the total population lived in the south (McKay, p.23). Among those left in the south, only 1 in three people lived in rural areas. Today the population of blacks is equally distributed in all the cities across the 54 States.

The Great migration became a key in the growth of urban black American culture. The occupation was popularly known as the new Negro movements (Dodson, p.400). The era was characterized by a drastic change in the social and expression of various arts with African origin (Dodson, p.367). In the culture, there was an expression of the African American culture through poetry, mode of dressing and music in North and Midwest States (Muller, p.345). In the south there was continuous oppression of the blacks hence the migration provided a paradigm shift for a change. The era was characterized by the Africans continually embracing arts and visual arts in an effort to conceptualize the black culture from white thoughts that had influenced the behavior of the black people towards their culture and towards their fellow black men (McKay, p.53).

Black Americans took the chance to free from the Victorian morality as well as the bourgeois shame. The Victorian morality was a set of values that originated from the Queen of England and spread through the colonies of Britain. On the other hand, the bourgeois was the belief that the white people had installed in the black people that their culture was not good. The whites used the two aspects to oppress the Africans and to ensure that the Blacks complied with the white way of life. The movement was the source of the African American literature. The movement also led to the rise in popularism of African based music amongst Africans living in other parts of the World (Earle, p.9). During this period music genres such as Blues and Jazz acquired worldwide acceptance. The music played a role as the driver of the movement and the rebirth of the culture in general. Before the movement there only existed music of only the American origin like the Country music, however, during the period there was the rise of classic studios. One of the major studios is the Okeh's recording populary known as "racial recording" (Outka, p.568). There is also a rise in arts and poetry in the new African community

There was the creation of African cities within the already built white cities. The influx of the black population led to an increase in house tensions in Chicago and New York City. The whites were the initial occupants of Harlem city, however, by the end of the movement, the city had 200000 African Americans (Gellman, p.83). The whites were leaving the place and occupying the suburbs outside the City (Muller, p.123). The result was racial segregation that led to a division between the white and the white neighborhood (Black et al., p.47). The government later imposed laws that would restrict the white people from selling out their property and housing to the black people. There were constant anti-racial campaigns to stop the discriminative laws on housing (McKay, p.23). However, in 1968 there was a turnover in the black community since the government later imposed laws to end housing segregation.

There was an immediate rise in the living standards of the black community. Initially, the blacks used to work under law wages in the farms in the southern states (Li, p.107). The people were moving to the north that was more industrialized. The blacks went to seek employment in industries and coal mines (Hornbeck, p.300). The wages in the industries were three times that in the farms. The rise of the wages was terminated by the great depression that saw a decrease in the number of jobs during the upper belt. Consecutively, there was a decrease in migrations during the Great depression. However, after the Great depression, the migrations increased, and theorist refers to it as the second migration (McKay, p.23). Moreover, the north had better health and education facilities. Health care facilities reduced the mortality rates of blacks (Black et al., p.47).

At the peak of the migration, the elite in the South began to panic on the impacts that the Great immigration would bring to the industries and the Economy of Southern States. The ideology sprang in the minds of the White industrial and Agricultural employers who increased the wages to coax the blacks to stay (Du Bois, p.103). An increase in wages led to an improvement in the standards of living.

The industry owners offered jobs to the blacks depending on the level of education as well as the skills that they had. There was the emergence of the middle class among new immigrants to the Northern States (Li, p.167). While in the South, those African Americans who lived near a railway or near the urban centers had good skills hence secured better jobs. The sharecroppers lived in the villages and had little experience in urban jobs (Hornbeck, p.234). As a result, the sharecroppers could only secure low paying jobs. They could work for long hours in poor conditions. In contrast, those who got good jobs established themselves as business and had good opportunities (McKay, p.233). Those that had low wages remained in the lower class.

There was an increase in poor housing. During the migration, there was a continuous influx of the people to the north uncontrollably. The increase in the numbers led to a depletion of the quality of natural resources like water and air (Logan, p.445). Among those that secured good jobs, they enjoyed good lives and consecutively experience a drastic increase in population. An increase in population led to a rise in poor housing facilities.

The Great migration led to an increase in brutality among the whites living in the South. During the initial phase of the migration was accompanied by resistance from the white employers - the movement to the North increase of the labor cost in the South. The whites increased wages although it had little impact on the migration (Gellman, p.83). As a result, the whites worked with the federal officials to stop immigration due to fear of the Black Nationalism. The companies refused to sign leaves that would allow the blacks to stay in the South. Besides, police officers would be stationed on the bus and train stops and would prevent the black from travelling (Earle, p.309).

The migration also led to manipulation of newspaper and passing of racial laws. The white community talked about the rise of the Black Nationalism, as well as, providing more coverage on the miseries that those who went to the North faced. The authorities also put local ordinances that would restrict the black mobility. A common ordinance was the "work or fight," the ordinance required all the males to fight or seek employment (Du Bois, p.231). Moreover, non-compliance to these racial laws led to mistreatments and intimidation of the blacks. Intimidation of the blacks led to increasing in riots and rise of human rights activists.

In conclusion, the Great migration had an impact on the United States that shaped the demographic, social, economic and the political environment. Before the migration, a large number of Black Americans lived in the southern States where they provided a cheap source of labor. The lower economic opportunities and continued racial segregation was the major cause of the migration. The people mainly used the train, boats and private automobiles for movement. The migration led to the distribution of the blacks in the western and the Northern States such as Chicago and New York. Employers in the Northern States provided better wages. Hence, there was an improvement in the living standards of the Immigrants. During the great migration, there was the rise of the middle class who later occupied various political positions. However, the Great migration was accompanied by employers in the South due to fear that they were losing a cheap source of labor. The federal and the national employed measures to limit the black mobility although the migration continued.

Work cited

Black, Dan A., et al. "The impact of the Great Migration on mortality of African Americans: Evidence from the Deep South." American Economic Review 105.2 (2015): 477-503.

Dodson, Howard. "Howard University, the New Negro Movement, and the Making of African American Visual Arts in Washington, DC: Part 2." Callaloo 39.5 (2016): 1147-1153.

Du Bois, William Edward Burghardt. The migration of Negroes. Crisis Publishing Company, 1917.

Earle, Jonathan. The Routledge Atlas of African American History. Routledge, 2016.

Gellman, Erik S. "New Negro Politics in the Jim Crow South, by Claudrena N. Harold." (2018): 80-82.

Hornbeck, Richard, and Suresh Naidu. "When the levee breaks: black migration and economic development in the American South." American Economic Review 104.3 (2014): 963-90.

Li, Sijie. "Competitors and Consumers: The Impact of the Great Migration on Employment Outcomes of Black Northerners." (2018).

Logan, John R., et al. "The seeds of the black ghetto were sown in the 1880s, longbefore the Great Migration." USApp-American Politics and Policy Blog (2015).McKay, Claude. "If we must die." The Liberator 2.6 (1919): 1.

Muller, M. (2016). Sociocultural Influences of the Great Migration, 1915-1930.

Outka, Paul. Race and nature from transcendentalism to the Harlem renaissance. Springer, 2016.

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