Modern America (1914-1929)
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Between 1910 and 1920, as the Great Migration swept north, the African-American population in Chicago and other northern cities more than doubled. Members of established African-American communities tried to help new arrivals adjust to city life. Organizations such as the Urban League distributed cards like the ones below offering advice and…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1910

In the United States, the outbreak of World War I (1914-1918) increased the demand for industrial production while decreasing the flow of European immigration. Labor shortages in both factories, mines, fields, and service industries meant greater economic opportunities for African Americans willing to move north. Many African Americans heard…

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Item Type: Advertisement
Date: 1916

In 1917, ten-year-old Rubie Bond left Mississippi with her parents and migrated to Beloit, Wisconsin. Her father, who worked as a tenant farmer in the South, had been recruited to work at a factory in Beloit. In 1976, she was interviewed as part of an oral history project documenting the experiences of African-American migrants who moved to…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: 1976

African-American migrants to the North chose their destinations primarily based on their state of origin: those from Georgia and the Carolinas headed to cities along the eastern seaboard like New York and Philadelphia; migrants from Alabama and Mississippi headed for the Midwestern cities like Chicago; and those from Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee…

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Item Type: Map
Date: 2008

In the early twentieth century, African Americans had plenty of reasons to leave the rural South: disfranchisement, segregation, poverty, racial violence, lack of educational opportunities, and the drudgery of farm life. As the cartoon below from The Crisis magazine shows, lynching stood out as particularly horrific and unjust. Violently…

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Item Type: Cartoon
Date: 1920

This worksheet helps students prepare for a role play debate about what strategy African Americans should pursue towards full equality in the twentieth century. The instructions for this activity can be found in the activity "Debate: How Should African Americans Achieve Equality?"

Item Type: Worksheet
Date: 2010

In this activity students role play a debate among four African-American leaders at the turn of the century, about what strategy the black community should adopt to achieve full equality in the twentieth century. Students research their roles by reading and analyzing primary sources. This activity can work as a follow-up to viewing the film Up…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2010

Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican immigrant, was the leader of the largest black mass movement in the nation's history. His Universal Negro Improvement Association, which had chapters throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and Africa, promoted race pride, economic self-sufficiency in the black community, and pan-Africanism. At its height, the U.N.I.A. boasted…

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1920

Ernestine Alvarado, of New York's YWCA, sharply criticized Americans who disparaged Mexico and did not welcome Mexican immigrants. She defended Mexican immigrants, calling them "bold dreamers," and castigated nativist stereotypes and unwelcoming labor unions.

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1920

Progressive social scientists, like economist Alvin S. Johnson, disagreed with those who held Mexican and other immigrants as racially inferior an undesirable. Instead, he and his peers claimed that Mexican government and culture were "inferior" and welcomed the opportunity to "Americanize" Mexican migrant workers.

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Item Type: Article/Essay
Date: 1916