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Black Chicagoans Describe Their Great Migration Experiences

In the summer of 1919, violence broke out between whites and African Americans in Chicago. The five-day riot left thirty-eight people dead and more than five hundred people injured. The city formed a Commission on Race Relations to study what happened during the riot and what conditions in the city contributed to the violence. As part of that study, the Commission surveyed recent African-American migrants from the South. These questions and answers are a selection from the larger survey.

Question: Why did you come to Chicago?


Question: Do you feel greater freedom and independence in Chicago? In what ways?


Question: What were your first impressions of Chicago?


Question: What do you like about the North?


Question: What difficulties do you think a person from the South meets in coming to Chicago?


Question: Do you get more comforts and pleasures from your higher wages?

Source | Chicago Commission on Race Relations, The Negro in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1922), 97-102.
Creator | Chicago Commission on Race Relations
Item Type | Book (excerpt)
Cite This document | Chicago Commission on Race Relations, “Black Chicagoans Describe Their Great Migration Experiences,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed August 25, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1888.

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