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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Tag > Great Migration (x)

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"The Reason"

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 [...]

Item Type: Cartoon
Map of Railroad Routes Followed by Black Migrants

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 [...]

Item Type: Map
A Tenant Farmer’s Daughter Remembers Leaving Mississippi

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 [...]

Item Type: Oral History
Help Wanted Advertisements in the Chicago Defender

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 [...]

Item Type: Advertisement
Chicago’s Urban League Offers Assistance to Southern Migrants

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. [...]

Mahalia Jackson Remembers Chicago

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 [...]

Great Migration Scrapbook worksheet

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."

Item Type: Worksheet
A Black Migrant Crosses the Mason-Dixon Line

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. [...]

“A colored family in a one room light housekeeping apartment”

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 [...]

Item Type: Photograph
Description of Sharecropping

This short essay describes the sharecropping system that supported the agricultural economy of the South after slavery.

Item Type: Article/Essay