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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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One of the first challenges for southern migrants who arrived in Northern cities like Chicago was finding a place to live. One report tells of a single day when 600 families applied to live in 53 housing units. Given the demand, unscrupulous…

In this memoir first published in 1952, Charles Denby, an African-American migrant from Alabama, recalls his train ride North and first night in Detroit, Michigan. In 1930, out of work because of the Great Depression, Denby moved back to the South.…

This worksheet helps students plan a character and takes notes on primary sources for the activity "Create a Migrant's Scrapbook from the First Great Migration."

In this activity students examine documents from the period of the First Great Migration of African Americans to the North. As they look at the documents, they take notes to build a character of a migrant. Then they create a scrapbook that shows…

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972), the grandaughter of former slaves, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she learned to sing in her family's baptist church. In 1927, at the age of sixteen, Jackson migrated to Chicago where she found a…

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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.…

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…

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…

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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…

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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…
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