Great Migration (African American)

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Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790-2010 Percentage of African American population living in the American South.png
Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790–2010
The Great Migration shown through changes in African Americans share of population in major US cities, 1910-1940 and 1940-1970 GreatMigration1910to1970-UrbanPopulation.png
The Great Migration shown through changes in African Americans share of population in major US cities, 1910–1940 and 1940–1970

The Great Migration, sometimes known as the Great Northward Migration, or the Black Migration, was the movement of six million African Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1916 and 1970. [1] In every U.S. Census prior to 1910, more than 90 percent of the African-American population lived in the American South. [2] In 1900, only one-fifth of African Americans living in the South were living in urban areas. [3] By the end of the Great Migration, just over 50 percent of the African-American population remained in the South, while a little less than 50 percent lived in the North and West, [4] and the African-American population had become highly urbanized. By 1960, of those African Americans still living in the South, half now lived in urban areas, [3] and by 1970, more than 80 percent of African Americans nationwide lived in cities. [5] In 1991, Nicholas Lemann wrote that:

African Americans are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States.

Southern United States Cultural region of the United States

The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.

Northeastern United States region of the United States

The Northeastern United States, also referred to as simply the Northeast, is a geographical region of the United States bordered to the north by Canada, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Southern United States, and to the west by the Midwestern United States. The Northeast is one of the four regions defined by the United States Census Bureau for the collection and analysis of statistics.


The Great Migration was one of the largest and most rapid mass internal movements in history—perhaps the greatest not caused by the immediate threat of execution or starvation. In sheer numbers it outranks the migration of any other ethnic group—Italians or Irish or Jews or Poles—to [the United States]. For blacks, the migration meant leaving what had always been their economic and social base in America, and finding a new one. [6]

Some historians differentiate between a first Great Migration (1916–1940), which saw about 1.6 million people move from mostly rural areas in the south to northern industrial cities, and a Second Great Migration (1940–1970), which began after the Great Depression and brought at least 5 million people—including many townspeople with urban skills—to the north and west. [7]

Second Great Migration (African American) migration of African Americans from the Southern U.S. after World War II

In the context of the 20th-century history of the United States, the Second Great Migration was the migration of more than 5 million African Americans from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West. It began in 1940, through World War II, and lasted until 1970. It was much larger and of a different character than the first Great Migration (1916–1940), where the migrants were mainly rural farmers from the South and only came to the Northeast and Midwest.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late-1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Since the Civil Rights Movement, a less rapid reverse migration has occurred. Dubbed the New Great Migration, it has seen a gradual increase of African American migration to the South, generally to states and cities where economic opportunities are the best. The reasons include economic difficulties of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South" and its lower cost of living, family and kinship ties, and improved racial relations. As early as 1975 to 1980, several southern states were net African-American migration gainers, while in 2014, African-American millennials moved in the highest numbers to Texas, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and California. [8] African-American populations have continued to drop throughout much of the Northeast, especially from the state of New York [8] [9] and northern New Jersey, [10] as they rise in the South.

New Great Migration migration of African Americans to the Southern U.S. since 1965

The New Great Migration is the demographic change from 1965 to the present, which is a reversal of the previous 35-year trend of black migration within the United States. Since 1965, deindustrialization of cities in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, growth of jobs in the "New South" with lower costs of living, family and kinship ties, and improving racial relations have all acted to attract African Americans to the Southern United States in substantial numbers. As early as 1975 to 1980, several southern states were net African-American migration gainers, while in 2014, African-American millennials moved in the highest numbers to Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. African-American populations have continued to drop throughout much of the Northeast, especially from the state of New York and northern New Jersey, as they rise in the South.

Midwestern United States region that includes parts of Canada and the United States

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau. It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.

New South American slogan

New South, New South Democracy or New South Creed is a slogan in the history of the American South after 1877. Reformers use it to call for a modernization of society and attitudes, to integrate more fully with the United States, and reject the economy and traditions of the Old South and the slavery-based plantation system of the antebellum period. The term was coined by its leading spokesman and Atlanta editor Henry W. Grady.

Numbers and destinations

Map of Black share of population in the 1900 US Census Census 1900 Percent Black.png
Map of Black share of population in the 1900 US Census

James Gregory calculates decade-by-decade migration volumes in his book, The Southern Diaspora. Black migration picked up from the start of the new century, with 204,000 leaving in the first decade. The pace accelerated with the outbreak of World War I and continued through the 1920s. By 1930, there were 1.3 million former southerners living in other regions. [11]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

The Great Depression wiped out job opportunities in the northern industrial belt, especially for African Americans, and caused a sharp reduction in migration. In the 1930s and 1940s, increasing mechanization of agriculture virtually brought the institution of sharecropping that had existed since the Civil War to an end in the United States causing many landless black farmers to be forced off of the land. [12]

Sharecropping form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land

Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system. Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely.

As a result, approximately 1.4 million black southerners moved north or west in the 1940s, followed by 1.1 million in the 1950s, and another 2.4 million people in the 1960s and early 1970s. By the late 1970s, as deindustrialization and the Rust Belt crisis took hold, the Great Migration came to an end. But, in a reflection of changing economics, as well as the end of Jim Crow laws in the 1960s and improving race relations in the South, in the 1980s and early 1990s, more black Americans were heading South than leaving that region. [13]

African Americans moved from the 14 states of the South, especially Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Georgia. Census figures show that African Americans went from 52.2% of the population in 1920 to 45.3% of the population in 1950 in Mississippi, from 41.7% in 1920 to 30.9% of the population in 1950 in Georgia, from 38.9% in 1920 to 32.9% of the population in 1950 in Louisiana, from 38.4% in 1920 to 32.0% of the population in 1950 in Alabama, and 36.0% in 1920 to 31.0% of the population in Texas. [13] Based on the total populations in each of the five states, only Georgia (-143,188) showed a net decrease in its African American population in 1950 compared to 1920. Louisiana (+183,256), Texas (+67,664), Alabama (+78,206) and Mississippi (+52,346) showed net increases in their African American populations in 1950 compared to 1920, with the percentage decreasing due to the white population increasing more. [11] Big cities were the principal destinations of southerners throughout the two phases of the Great Migration. In the first phase, eight major cities attracted two-thirds of the migrants: New York and Chicago, followed in order by Philadelphia, St. Louis, Denver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis. The Second great black migration increased the populations of these cities while adding others as destinations, including the Western states. Western cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Phoenix, Seattle, and Portland attracted African Americans in large numbers. [11]

There were clear migratory patterns that linked particular states and cities in the South to corresponding destinations in the North and West. Almost half of those who migrated from Mississippi during the first Great Migration, for example, ended up in Chicago, while those from Virginia tended to move to Philadelphia. For the most part, these patterns were related to geography, with the closest cities attracting the most migrants (such as Los Angeles and San Francisco receiving a disproportionate number of migrants from Texas and Louisiana). When multiple destinations were equidistant, chain migration played a larger role, with migrants following the path set by those before them. [14]

Demographics, tensions and employment sectors

When the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, less than eight percent of the African-American population lived in the Northeastern or Midwestern United States. [15] This began to change over the next decade; by 1880, a migration was underway to Kansas. The U.S. Senate ordered an investigation into it. [16] In 1900, about 90 percent of blacks still lived in Southern states. [15]

African Americans moved as individuals or small family groups. There was no government assistance, but often northern industries, such as the railroads, meatpacking, and stockyards, sometimes paid for transportation and relocation.

Between 1910 and 1930, the African-American population increased by about forty percent in Northern states as a result of the migration, mostly in the major cities. The cities of Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, and New York City had some of the biggest increases in the early part of the twentieth century. Tens of thousands of blacks were recruited for industrial jobs, such as positions related to the expansion of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Because changes were concentrated in cities, which had also attracted millions of new or recent European immigrants, tensions rose as the people competed for jobs and scarce housing. Tensions were often most severe between ethnic Irish, defending their recently gained positions and territory, and recent immigrants and blacks.

Tensions and violence

In the late summer and autumn of 1919, racial tensions became violent and came to be known as the Red Summer. This period of time was defined by violence and prolonged rioting between blacks and whites in major United States cities. [17] The reasons for this violence vary. Cities that were affected by the violence included Washington D.C., Chicago, Omaha, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Elaine, Arkansas, a small rural town 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Memphis. [18]

The race riots peaked in Chicago, for the most violence and death occurred there during the riots. [19] According to The Negro in Chicago; a study of race relations and a race riot, an official report from 1922 on race relations in Chicago, came to the conclusion that there were many factors that led to the violent outbursts in Chicago. Principally, many blacks were assuming the jobs of white men who went to go fight in World War I. As the war ended in 1918, many men returned home to find out their jobs had been taken by black men who were willing to work for far less. [18] By the time the rioting and violence had subsided in Chicago, 38 people had lost their life, with hundreds more injured. In other cities across the nation many more had been affected by the violence of the Red Summer. The Red Summer enlightened many to the growing racial tension in America. The violence in these major cities prefaced the soon to follow Harlem Renaissance, an African-American cultural revolution, in the 1920s. [19]


Racially motivated murders per decade from 1865 to 1965. Linchamientos.png
Racially motivated murders per decade from 1865 to 1965.

The primary factors for migration among southern African Americans were segregation, an increase in the spread of racist ideology, widespread lynching (nearly 3,500 African Americans were lynched between 1882 and 1968 [20] ), and lack of social and economic opportunities in the South. In the south, Blacks were harshly treated, and were not expected to be anything other than a slave. This theory created by society allowed for Blacks to move full force into the movement. There were also factors that pulled migrants to the north, such as labor shortages in northern factories brought about by World War I, resulting in thousands of jobs in steel mills, railroads, meatpacking plants, and the automobile industry. [21] The pull of jobs in the north was strengthened by the efforts of labor agents sent by northern businessmen to recruit southern workers. [21] Northern companies offered special incentives to encourage black workers to relocate, including free transportation and low-cost housing. [14]

Cultural changes

After moving from the racist pressures of the south to the northern states, African Americans were inspired to different kinds of creativity. The Great Migration resulted in the Harlem Renaissance, which was also fired by immigrants from the Caribbean. In her Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Warmth of Other Suns , journalist Isabel Wilkerson discusses the migration of "six million black Southerners [moving] out of the terror of Jim Crow to an uncertain existence in the North and Midwest." [22]

The struggle of African-American migrants to adapt to Northern cities was the subject of Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series of paintings, created when he was a young man in New York. [23] Exhibited in 1941 at the Museum of Modern Art, Lawrence's Series attracted wide attention; he was quickly perceived as one of the most important African-American artists of the time. [24]

The Great Migration had effects on music as well as other cultural subjects. Many blues singers migrated from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago to escape racial discrimination. Muddy Waters, Chester Burnett, and Buddy Guy are among the most well-known blues artists who migrated to Chicago. Great Delta-born pianist Eddie Boyd told Living Blues magazine, "I thought of coming to Chicago where I could get away from some of that racism and where I would have an opportunity to, well, do something with my talent.... It wasn't peaches and cream [in Chicago], man, but it was a hell of a lot better than down there where I was born." [25]


Demographic changes

The Great Migration drained off much of the rural black population of the South, and for a time, froze or reduced African-American population growth in parts of the region. In a number of states, there were decades of black population decline, especially across the Deep South "black belt" where cotton had been king. The migration changed the demographics of the South. In 1910, African Americans constituted the majority of the population of South Carolina and Mississippi, and more than 40 percent in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas; by 1970, only in Mississippi did the African-American population constitute more than 30 percent of the state's total. "The disappearance of the 'black belt' was one of the striking effects" of the Great Migration, James Gregory wrote. [26]

In Mississippi, blacks decreased from about 56% of the population in 1910 to about 37% by 1970, [27] remaining the majority only in some Delta counties. In Georgia, blacks decreased from about 45% of the population in 1910 to about 26% by 1970. In South Carolina, blacks decreased from about 55% of the population in 1910 to about 30% by 1970. [27]

The growing black presence outside the South changed the dynamics and demographics of numerous cities in the North, Midwest and West. In 1900, only 740,000 African Americans lived outside the South, just 8 percent of the nation's total black population. By 1970, more than 10.6 million African Americans lived outside the South, 47 percent of the nation's total. [26]

Because the migrants concentrated in the big cities of the north and west, their influence was magnified in those places. Cities that had been virtually all white at the start of the century became centers of black culture and politics by mid-century. Informal residential segregation and the tendency of people to settle with others of their home communities led to concentrations of blacks in certain areas. The northern "Black metropolises" developed an important infrastructure of newspapers, businesses, jazz clubs, churches, and political organizations that provided the staging ground for new forms of racial politics and new forms of black culture.

As a result of the Great Migration, the first large urban black communities developed in northern cities beyond New York, Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, which had black communities even before the Civil War, and attracted migrants after the war. It is conservatively estimated that 400,000 African Americans left the South in 1916 through 1918 to take advantage of a labor shortage in industrial cities during the First World War. [28]

In 1910, the African-American population of Detroit was 6,000. The Great Migration, along with immigrants from southern and eastern Europe as well as their descendants, rapidly turned the city into the country's fourth-largest. By the start of the Great Depression in 1929, the city's African-American population had increased to 120,000.

In 1900–01, Chicago had a total population of 1,754,473. [29] By 1920, the city had added more than 1 million residents. During the second wave of the Great Migration (1940–60), the African-American population in the city grew from 278,000 to 813,000.

African-American youths play basketball in Chicago's Stateway Gardens high-rise housing project in 1973. BLACK YOUTHS PLAY BASKETBALL AT STATEWAY GARDENS' HIGHRISE HOUSING PROJECT ON CHICAGO'S SOUTH SIDE. THE COMPLEX HAS... - NARA - 556162.jpg
African-American youths play basketball in Chicago's Stateway Gardens high-rise housing project in 1973.

The flow of African Americans to Ohio, particularly to Cleveland, changed the demographics of the state and its primary industrial city. Before the Great Migration, an estimated 1.1% to 1.6% of Cleveland's population was African American. [30] By 1920, 4.3% of Cleveland's population was African American. [30] The number of African Americans in Cleveland continued to rise over the next 20 years of the Great Migration.

Other northeastern and midwestern industrial cities, such as Philadelphia, New York City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Omaha, also had dramatic increases in their African-American populations. By the 1920s, New York's Harlem became a center of black cultural life, influenced by the American migrants as well as new immigrants from the Caribbean area.

Second-tier industrial cities that were destinations for numerous black migrants were Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Columbus, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids and Indianapolis, and smaller industrial cities such as Chester, Gary, Dayton, Erie, Toledo, Youngstown, Peoria, Muskegon, Newark, Flint, Saginaw, New Haven, and Albany. People tended to take the cheapest rail ticket possible and go to areas where they had relatives and friends. For example, many people from Mississippi moved directly north by train to Chicago, from Alabama to Cleveland and Detroit, from Georgia and South Carolina to New York City, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and in the second migration, from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi to Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, and Seattle.

Discrimination and working conditions

The Hub is the retail heart of the South Bronx, New York City. Bronxhub1.jpeg
The Hub is the retail heart of the South Bronx, New York City.

Educated African Americans were better able to obtain jobs after the Great Migration, eventually gaining a measure of class mobility, but the migrants encountered significant forms of discrimination. Because so many people migrated in a short period of time, the African-American migrants were often resented by the urban white working class (often recent immigrants themselves); fearing their ability to negotiate rates of pay or secure employment, the ethnic whites felt threatened by the influx of new labor competition. Sometimes those who were most fearful or resentful were the last immigrants of the 19th and new immigrants of the 20th century.[ citation needed ]

African Americans made substantial gains in industrial employment, particularly in the steel, automobile, shipbuilding, and meatpacking industries. Between 1910 and 1920, the number of blacks employed in industry nearly doubled from 500,000 to 901,000. [28] After the Great Depression, more advances took place after workers in the steel and meatpacking industries organized into labor unions in the 1930s and 1940s, under the interracial Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The unions ended the segregation of many jobs, and African Americans began to advance into more skilled jobs and supervisory positions previously informally reserved for whites.

Between 1940 and 1960, the number of blacks in managerial and administrative occupations doubled, along with the number of blacks in white-collar occupations, while the number of black agricultural workers in 1960 fell to one-fourth of what it was in 1940. [32] Also, between 1936 and 1959, black income relative to white income more than doubled in various skilled trades. [33] Despite employment discrimination, blacks had higher labor force participation rates than whites in every U.S. Census from 1890 to 1950. [34] As a result of these advancements, the percentage of black families living below the poverty line declined from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960 and to 30 percent by 1970. [35]

Populations increased so rapidly among both African-American migrants and new European immigrants that there were housing shortages in most major cities. With fewer resources, the newer groups were forced to compete for the oldest, most run-down housing. Ethnic groups created territories which they defended against change. Discrimination often restricted African Americans to crowded neighborhoods. The more established populations of cities tended to move to newer housing as it was developing in the outskirts. Mortgage discrimination and redlining in inner city areas limited the newer African-American migrants' ability to determine their own housing, or obtain a fair price. In the long term, the National Housing Act of 1934 contributed to limiting the availability of loans to urban areas, particularly those areas inhabited by African Americans. [36]

Integration and segregation

White tenants seeking to prevent blacks from moving into the Sojourner Truth housing project in Detroit erected this sign, 1942 We want white tenants.jpg
White tenants seeking to prevent blacks from moving into the Sojourner Truth housing project in Detroit erected this sign, 1942

In cities such as Newark, New York and Chicago, African Americans became increasingly integrated into society. As they lived and worked more closely with European Americans, the divide became increasingly indefinite. This period marked the transition for many African Americans from lifestyles as rural farmers to urban industrial workers. [37]

This migration gave birth to a cultural boom in cities such as Chicago and New York. In Chicago for instance, the neighborhood of Bronzeville became known as the "Black Metropolis". From 1924 to 1929, the "Black Metropolis" was at the peak of its golden years. Many of the community's entrepreneurs were black during this period. "The foundation of the first African American YMCA took place in Bronzeville, and worked to help incoming migrants find jobs in the city of Chicago." [38] The "Black Belt" geographical and racial isolation of this community, bordered to the north and east by whites, and to the south and west by industrial sites and ethnic immigrant neighborhoods, made it a site for the study of the development of an urban black community. For urbanized people, eating proper foods in a sanitary, civilized setting such as the home or a restaurant was a social ritual that indicated one's level of respectability. The people native to Chicago had pride in the high level of integration in Chicago restaurants, which they attributed to their unassailable manners and refined tastes. [39]

Migrants often encountered residential discrimination, in which white home owners and realtors prevented migrants from purchasing homes or renting apartments in white neighborhoods. In addition, when numerous blacks moved into white neighborhoods, whites would quickly relocate out of fear of a potential rise in property crime, rape, drugs and violence that was attributed to neighborhoods with large black populations. These tendencies contributed to maintaining the "racial divide" in the North, perhaps accentuating it. By the late 1950s and 1960s, African Americans were hyper-urban, more densely concentrated in inner cities than other groups.

Since African-American migrants retained many Southern cultural and linguistic traits, such cultural differences created a sense of "otherness" in terms of their reception by others who were already living in the cities. [40] Stereotypes ascribed to black people during this period and ensuing generations often derived from African-American migrants' rural cultural traditions, which were maintained in stark contrast to the urban environments in which the people resided. [40]

Second and New Great Migration

The Great Depression of the 1930s resulted in reduced migration because of decreased opportunities. With the defense buildup for World War II and with the post-war economic prosperity, migration was revived, with larger numbers of blacks leaving the South through the 1960s. After the political and civil gains of the Civil Rights Movement, in the 1970s migration began to increase again. It moved in a different direction, as blacks traveled to new regions of the South for economic opportunity.

White southern reaction

The beginning of the Great Migration exposed a paradox in race relations in the American South at that time. Although blacks were treated with extreme hostility and subjected to legal discrimination, the southern economy was deeply dependent on them as an abundant supply of cheap labor, and black workers were seen as the most critical factor in the economic development of the South. One South Carolina politician summed up the dilemma: "Politically speaking, there are far too many negroes, but from an industrial standpoint there is room for many more." [41]

When the Great Migration started in the 1910s, white southern elites seemed to be unconcerned, and industrialists and cotton planters saw it as a positive, as it was siphoning off surplus industrial and agricultural labor. As the migration picked up, however, southern elites began to panic, fearing that a prolonged black exodus would bankrupt the South, and newspaper editorials warned of the danger. White employers eventually took notice and began expressing their fears. White southerners soon began trying to stem the flow in order to prevent the hemorrhaging of their labor supply, and some began attempting to address the poor living standards and racial oppression experienced by Southern blacks in order to induce them to stay.

As a result, southern employers increased their wages to match those on offer in the North, and some individual employers opposed the worst excesses of Jim Crow laws. When the measures failed to stem the tide, white southerners, in concert with federal officials who feared the rise of black nationalism, co-operated in attempting to coerce blacks to stay in the South. The Southern Metal Trades Association urged decisive action to stop black migration, and some employers undertook serious efforts against it. The largest southern steel manufacturer refused to cash checks sent to finance black migration, efforts were made to restrict bus and train access for blacks, agents were stationed in northern cities to report on wage levels, unionization, and the rise of black nationalism, and newspapers were pressured to divert more coverage to negative aspects of black life in the North. A series of local and federal directives were put into place with the goal of restricting black mobility, including local vagrancy ordinances, "work or fight" laws demanding all males either be employed or serve in the army, and conscription orders. Intimidation and beatings were also used to terrorize blacks into staying. [41] [42] These intimidation tactics were described by Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson as interfering with "the natural right of workers to move from place to place at their own discretion". [43]

During the wave of migration that took place in the 1940s, white southerners were less concerned, as mechanization of agriculture in the late 1930s had resulted in another labor surplus so southern planters put up less resistance. [41]

The Great Migration is a backdrop of the 2013 film The Butler , as the Forest Whitaker character Cecil Gaines moves from a plantation in Georgia to become a butler at the White House.


African Americans as a Percentage of the Total Population By U.S. Region (1900–2010) [44] [45] [46]
Region190019101920193019401950196019701980199020002010Change in the Black Percentage of the Total Population Between 1900 and 2010
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 11.6%10.7%9.9%9.7%9.8%10.0%10.5%11.1%11.7%12.1%12.3%12.6%+1.0%
Northeast 1.8%1.9%2.3%3.3%3.8%5.1%6.8%8.9%9.9%11.0%11.4%11.8%+10.0%
Midwest 1.9%1.8%2.3%3.3%3.5%5.0%6.7%8.1%9.1%9.6%10.1%10.4%+8.5%
South 32.3%29.8%26.9%24.7%23.8%21.7%20.6%19.1%18.6%18.5%18.9%19.2%-13.1%
West 0.7%0.7%0.9%1.0%1.2%2.9%3.9%4.9%5.2%5.4%4.9%4.8%+4.1%
African Americans as a Percentage of the Total Population By U.S. State (1900–2010) [44] [45] [46]
State Region 190019101920193019401950196019701980199020002010Change in the Black Percentage of the Total Population Between 1900 and 2010
Flag of the United States.svg  United States N/A11.6%10.7%9.9%9.7%9.8%10.0%10.5%11.1%11.7%12.1%12.3%12.6%+1.0%
Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama South 45.2%42.5%38.4%35.7%34.7%32.0%30.0%26.2%25.6%25.3%26.0%26.2%-19.0%
Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska West 0.3%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.2%3.0%3.0%3.4%4.1%3.5%3.3%+3.0%
Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona West 1.5%1.0%2.4%2.5%3.0%3.5%3.3%3.0%2.8%3.0%3.1%4.1%+2.6%
Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas South 28.0%28.1%27.0%25.8%24.8%22.3%21.8%18.3%16.3%15.9%15.7%15.4%-12.6%
Flag of California.svg  California West 0.7%0.9%1.1%1.4%1.8%4.4%5.6%7.0%7.7%7.4%6.7%6.2%+5.5%
Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado West 1.6%1.4%1.2%1.1%1.1%1.5%2.3%3.0%3.5%4.0%3.8%4.0%+2.4%
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut Northeast 1.7%1.4%1.5%1.8%1.9%2.7%4.2%6.0%7.0%8.3%9.1%10.1%+8.4%
Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware South 16.6%15.4%13.6%13.7%13.5%13.7%13.6%14.3%16.1%16.9%19.2%21.4%+4.8%
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg  District of Columbia South 31.1%28.5%25.1%27.1%28.2%35.0%53.9%71.1%70.3%65.8%60.0%50.7%+19.6%
Flag of Florida.svg  Florida South 43.7%41.0%34.0%29.4%27.1%21.8%17.8%15.3%13.8%13.6%14.6%16.0%-27.7%
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia South 46.7%45.1%41.7%36.8%34.7%30.9%28.5%25.9%26.8%27.0%28.7%30.5%-16.2%
Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii West 0.2%0.4%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.5%0.8%1.0%1.8%2.5%1.8%1.6%+1.4%
Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho West 0.2%0.2%0.2%0.2%0.1%0.2%0.2%0.3%0.3%0.3%0.4%0.6%+0.4%
Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois Midwest 1.8%1.9%2.8%4.3%4.9%7.4%10.3%12.8%14.7%14.8%15.1%14.5%+12.7%
Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana Midwest 2.3%2.2%2.8%3.5%3.6%4.4%5.8%6.9%7.6%7.8%8.4%9.1%+6.8%
Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa Midwest 0.6%0.7%0.8%0.7%0.7%0.8%0.9%1.2%1.4%1.7%2.1%2.9%+2.3%
Flag of Kansas.svg  Kansas Midwest 3.5%3.2%3.3%3.5%3.6%3.8%4.2%4.8%5.3%5.8%5.7%5.9%+2.4%
Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky South 13.3%11.4%9.8%8.6%7.5%6.9%7.1%7.2%7.1%7.1%7.3%7.8%-5.5%
Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana South 47.1%43.1%38.9%36.9%35.9%32.9%31.9%29.8%29.4%30.8%32.5%32.0%-15.1%
Flag of Maine.svg  Maine Northeast 0.2%0.2%0.2%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.3%0.3%0.3%0.4%0.5%1.2%+1.0%
Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland South 19.8%17.9%16.9%16.9%16.6%16.5%16.7%17.8%22.7%24.9%27.9%29.4%+9.6%
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts Northeast 1.1%1.1%1.2%1.2%1.3%1.6%2.2%3.1%3.9%5.0%5.4%6.6%+5.5%
Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan Midwest 0.7%0.6%1.6%3.5%4.0%6.9%9.2%11.2%12.9%13.9%14.2%14.2%+13.5%
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota Midwest 0.3%0.3%0.4%0.4%0.4%0.5%0.7%0.9%1.3%2.2%3.5%5.2%+4.9%
Flag of Mississippi.svg  Mississippi South 58.5%56.2%52.2%50.2%49.2%45.3%42.0%36.8%35.2%35.6%36.3%37.0%-21.5%
Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri Midwest 5.2%4.8%5.2%6.2%6.5%7.5%9.0%10.3%10.5%10.7%11.2%11.6%+6.4%
Flag of Montana.svg  Montana West 0.6%0.2%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.2%0.2%0.3%0.2%0.3%0.3%0.4%-0.2%
Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska Midwest 0.6%0.6%1.0%1.0%1.1%1.5%2.1%2.7%3.1%3.6%4.0%4.5%+3.9%
Flag of Nevada.svg  Nevada West 0.3%0.6%0.4%0.6%0.6%2.7%4.7%5.7%6.4%6.6%6.8%8.1%+7.8%
Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire Northeast 0.2%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.3%0.4%0.6%0.7%1.1%+0.9%
Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey Northeast 3.7%3.5%3.7%5.2%5.5%6.6%8.5%10.7%12.6%13.4%13.6%13.7%+10.0%
Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico West 0.8%0.5%1.6%0.7%0.9%1.2%1.8%1.9%1.8%2.0%1.9%2.1%+1.3%
Flag of New York.svg  New York Northeast 1.4%1.5%1.9%3.3%4.2%6.2%8.4%11.9%13.7%15.9%15.9%15.9%+14.5%
Flag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina South 33.0%31.6%29.8%29.0%27.5%25.8%24.5%22.2%22.4%22.0%21.6%21.5%-11.5%
Flag of North Dakota.svg  North Dakota West 0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.0%0.0%0.1%0.4%0.4%0.6%0.6%1.2%+1.1%
Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio Midwest 2.3%2.3%3.2%4.7%4.9%6.5%8.1%9.1%10.0%10.6%11.5%12.2%+9.9%
Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma South 7.0%8.3%7.4%7.2%7.2%6.5%6.6%6.7%6.8%7.4%7.6%7.4%+0.4%
Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon West 0.3%0.2%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.8%1.0%1.3%1.4%1.6%1.6%1.8%+1.5%
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania Northeast 2.5%2.5%3.3%4.5%4.7%6.1%7.5%8.6%8.8%9.2%10.0%10.8%+8.3%
Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island Northeast 2.1%1.8%1.7%1.4%1.5%1.8%2.1%2.7%2.9%3.9%4.5%5.7%+3.6%
Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina South 58.4%55.2%51.4%45.6%42.9%38.8%34.8%30.5%30.4%29.8%29.5%27.9%-30.5%
Flag of South Dakota.svg  South Dakota West 0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.2%0.3%0.5%0.6%1.3%+1.2%
Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee South 23.8%21.7%19.3%18.3%17.4%16.1%16.5%15.8%15.8%16.0%16.4%16.7%-7.1%
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas South 20.4%17.7%15.9%14.7%14.4%12.7%12.4%12.5%12.0%11.9%11.5%11.8%-8.6%
Flag of Utah.svg  Utah West 0.2%0.3%0.3%0.2%0.2%0.4%0.5%0.6%0.6%0.7%0.8%1.1%+0.9%
Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont Northeast 0.2%0.5%0.2%0.2%0.1%0.1%0.1%0.2%0.2%0.3%0.5%1.0%+0.8%
Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia South 35.6%32.6%29.9%26.8%24.7%22.1%20.6%18.5%18.9%18.8%19.6%19.4%-16.2%
Flag of Washington.svg  Washington West 0.5%0.5%0.5%0.4%0.4%1.3%1.7%2.1%2.6%3.1%3.2%3.6%+3.1%
Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia South 4.5%5.3%5.9%6.6%6.2%5.7%4.8%3.9%3.3%3.1%3.2%3.4%-1.1%
Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin Midwest 0.1%0.1%0.2%0.4%0.4%0.8%1.9%2.9%3.9%5.0%5.7%6.3%+6.2%
Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming West 1.0%1.5%0.7%0.6%0.4%0.9%0.7%0.8%0.7%0.8%0.8%0.8%-0.2%
African Americans as a Percentage of the Population By Large U.S. Cities (Those With a Peak Population of 500,000 or More by 1990) Outside of the Former Confederacy [47] [48]
City1900191019201930194019501960197019801990Change in the Black Percentage of the Total Population Between 1900 and 1990
Phoenix, Arizona 2.7%2.9%3.7%4.9%6.5%4.9%4.8%4.8%4.8%5.2%+2.5%
Los Angeles, California 2.1%2.4%2.7%3.1%4.2%8.7%13.5%17.9%17.0%14.0%+11.9%
San Diego, California 1.8%1.5%1.3%1.8%2.0%4.5%6.0%7.6%8.9%9.4%+7.6%
San Francisco, California 0.5%0.4%0.5%0.6%0.8%5.6%10.0%13.4%12.7%10.9%+10.4%
San Jose, California 1.0%0.6%0.5%0.4%0.4%0.6%1.0%2.5%4.6%4.7%+3.7%
Denver, Colorado 2.9%2.5%2.4%2.5%2.4%3.6%6.1%9.1%12.0%12.8%+9.9%
Washington, District of Columbia 31.1%28.5%25.1%27.1%28.2%35.0%53.9%71.1%70.3%65.8%+34.7%
Chicago, Illinois 1.8%2.0%4.1%6.9%8.2%13.6%22.9%32.7%39.8%39.1%+37.3%
Indianapolis, Indiana 9.4%9.3%11.0%12.1%13.2%15.0%20.6%18.0%21.8%22.6%+13.2%
Baltimore, Maryland 15.6%15.2%14.8%17.7%19.3%23.7%34.7%46.4%54.8%59.2%+43.6%
Boston, Massachusetts 2.1%2.0%2.2%2.6%3.1%5.0%9.1%16.3%22.4%25.6%+23.5%
Detroit, Michigan 1.4%1.2%4.1%7.7%9.2%16.2%28.9%43.7%63.1%75.7%+74.3%
Minneapolis, Minnesota 0.8%0.9%1.0%0.9%0.9%1.3%2.4%4.4%7.7%13.0%+12.2%
Kansas City, Missouri 10.7%9.5%9.5%9.6%10.4%12.2%17.5%22.1%27.4%29.6%+18.9%
St. Louis, Missouri 6.2%6.4%9.0%11.4%13.3%17.9%28.6%40.9%45.6%47.5%+41.3%
Buffalo, New York 0.5%0.4%0.9%2.4%3.1%6.3%13.3%20.4%26.6%30.7%+30.2%
New York City, New York 1.8%1.9%2.7%4.7%6.1%9.5%14.0%21.1%25.2%28.7%+26.9%
Cincinnati, Ohio 4.4%5.4%7.5%10.6%12.2%15.5%21.6%27.6%33.8%37.9%+33.5%
Cleveland, Ohio 1.6%1.5%4.3%8.0%9.6%16.2%28.6%38.3%43.8%46.6%+45.0%
Columbus, Ohio 6.5%7.0%9.4%11.3%11.7%12.4%16.4%18.5%22.1%22.6%+16.1%
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 4.8%5.5%7.4%11.3%13.0%18.2%26.4%33.6%37.8%39.9%+35.1%
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 5.3%4.8%6.4%8.2%9.3%12.2%16.7%20.2%24.0%25.8%+20.5%
Seattle, Washington 0.5%1.0%0.9%0.9%1.0%3.4%4.8%7.1%9.5%10.1%+9.6%
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 0.3%0.3%0.5%1.3%1.5%3.4%8.4%14.7%23.1%30.5%+30.2%
African Americans as a Percentage of the Population By Large U.S. Cities (Those With a Peak Population of 500,000 or More by 1990) Inside the Former Confederacy [47] [48]
City1900191019201930194019501960197019801990Change in the Black Percentage of the Total Population Between 1900 and 1990
Jacksonville, Florida 57.1%50.8%45.3%37.2%35.7%35.4%41.1%22.3%25.4%25.2%-31.9%
New Orleans, Louisiana 27.1%26.3%26.1%28.3%30.1%31.9%37.2%45.0%55.3%61.9%+34.8%
Memphis, Tennessee 48.8%40.0%37.7%38.1%41.5%37.2%37.0%38.9%47.6%54.8%+6.0%
Dallas, Texas 21.2%19.6%15.1%14.9%17.1%13.1%19.0%24.9%29.4%29.5%+8.3%
El Paso, Texas 2.9%3.7%1.7%1.8%2.3%2.4%2.1%2.3%3.2%3.4%+0.5%
Houston, Texas 32.7%30.4%24.6%21.7%22.4%20.9%22.9%25.7%27.6%28.1%-4.6%
San Antonio, Texas 14.1%11.1%8.9%7.8%7.6%7.0%7.1%7.6%7.3%7.0%-7.1%

See also


  1. Great Migration – Black History –, , retrieved April 9, 2017
  2. Gibson, Campbell; Jung, Kay (September 2002). HISTORICAL CENSUS STATISTICS ON POPULATION TOTALS BY RACE, 1790 TO 1990, AND BY HISPANIC ORIGIN, 1970 TO 1990, FOR THE UNITED STATES, REGIONS, DIVISIONS, AND STATES (PDF) (Report). Population Division Working Papers. 56. United States Census Bureau.
  3. 1 2 Taeuber, Karl E.; Taeuber, Alma F. (1966), "The Negro Population in the United States", in Davis, John P. (ed.), The American Negro Reference Book, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, p. 122
  4. "The Second Great Migration", The African American Migration Experience, New York Public Library , retrieved January 17, 2017
  5. "The Second Great Migration", The African American Migration Experience, New York Public Library , retrieved March 23, 2016
  6. Lemann, Nicholas (1991). The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 6. ISBN   0-394-56004-3.
  7. William H. Frey, "The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965–2000", The Brookings Institution, May 2004, pp. 1–3 Archived 2013-06-17 at the Wayback Machine , accessed 19 March 2008.
  8. 1 2 Reniqua Allen (July 8, 2017). "Racism Is Everywhere, So Why Not Move South?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  9. Dan Bilefsky (June 21, 2011). "For New Life, Blacks in City Head to South". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  10. Dave Sheingold via The Record (February 27, 2011). "North Jersey black families leaving for lure of new South". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  11. 1 2 3 Gregory, James N. (2009) "The Second Great Migration: An Historical Overview," African American Urban History: The Dynamics of Race, Class and Gender since World War II, eds. Joe W. Trotter Jr. and Kenneth L. Kusmer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 22.
  12. Gordon Marshall, "Sharecropping,", 1998.
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  15. 1 2 Census, United States Bureau of the (July 23, 2010). "Migrations – The African-American Mosaic Exhibition – Exhibitions (Library of Congress)".
  16. "Exodus to Kansas". August 15, 2016.
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  22. "Review: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration". Publishers Weekly. September 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  23. (adapted). "Module 1: Introduction and Definitions" (PDF). Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  24. Cotter, Holland (June 10, 2000). "Jacob Lawrence Is Dead at 82; Vivid Painter Who Chronicled Odyssey of Black Americans". The New York Times . Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  25. David P. Szatmary, Rockin' in Time, 8th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2014), p. 8
  26. 1 2 Gregory (2005), p. 18.
  27. 1 2 Gibson, Campbell and Kay Jung (September 2002). Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States. Archived 2014-12-24 at the Wayback Machine U.S. Bureau of the Census – Population Division.
  28. 1 2 James Gilbertlove, "African Americans and the American Labor Movement", Prologue, Summer 1997, Vol. 29.
  29. Gibson, Campbell (June 1998). Population of the 100 Largest Cities and Other Urban Places in the United States: 1790 to 1990 Archived 2007-03-14 at the Wayback Machine . U.S. Bureau of the Census – Population Division.
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African-American neighborhoods or black neighborhoods are types of ethnic enclaves found in many cities in the United States. Generally, an African American neighborhood is one where the majority of the people who live there are African American. Some of the earliest African-American neighborhoods were in New York City along with early communities located in Virginia. In 1830, there were 14,000 "free Negroes" living in New York City.

George Edmund Haynes was a sociology scholar and federal civil servant, a co-founder and first executive director of the National Urban League, serving 1911 to 1918. A graduate of Fisk University, he earned a master's degree at Yale University, and was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Columbia University, where he completed one in sociology.

History of African Americans in Detroit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, blacks or African Americans living in Detroit accounted for 79.1% of the total population, or approximately 532,425 people as of 2017 estimates. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, of all U.S. cities with 100,000 or more people, Detroit had the second-highest percentage of black people.

Black Southerners are African-Americans living in the Southern United States, the region with the largest population of African-Americans in the United States.