The great movement occurred, with 454000 African-Americans
The Great Migration, arelocation of millions of African-Americans from the southern rural areas tothe bustling cities to the north and west. Desiring better economicopportunities and lesser segregation, many African-Americans went north.
There,they found cities with the need for industrial workers, and took advantage ofthat. Cities such as New York and Chicago saw their African-American populationexpand explosively, causing people to fight over living space, as well as dealwith racism and prejudice. African-Americans began to confront new challengesin their daily lives, economically, politically, and socially, creating a newcity within cities. During World WarI, the first great movement occurred, with 454000 African-Americans movingnorth.
This was immediately followed by 1.2 million in the 1920s and 1930s. Inthe 1940s and 1950s, over 3.3 million African-American citizens had left fornorthwestern cities.
The motivation behind these mass migrations were anamalgamation of the desire to get away from poor economic and societalconditions for African-Americans in the south, and the white supremacistmindset greatly restored across the south after the Civil War Reconstructionperiod. After the emancipation from slavery, many African-Americans hadsuffered in an economy that they could rarely advance in, and when faced withbetter economic opportunities in the north, chose to take them. Many African-Americans had left the south through boat, bus,or train, with few going through cars or horse-drawn carriages. By the 1920s, theAfrican-American population of major cities such as New York, Chicago, Detroit,and Philadelphia, had grown massively. However, this also resulted incompetition for employment and living space.
Segregation was not legalized inthe north, but racism was commonplace, with some neighborhoods creating rulesthat required white property owners to never rent or sell to African-Americans.As a result, African-American and white relations continued to worsen,especially due to activity from the Ku Klux Klan, which began one of the largestperiods of racial friction in the United States. Overall, the Great Migration had an enormous impact onthe United States. It changed some all-white communities into a great meltingpot of many different cultures. For example, Harlem in New York City, whichwould come to house some 200000 African-Americans.
It had a tremendous impacton the culture of the early-mid 1900s, and became an era of increased activismby African-Americans, due to their unfair treatment in the south. Although itslowed down quite a bit during the Great Depression, the impact it had oncities was already prominent.