This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Deeper Examination Of The Merits And Shortcomings Of Nicholas Lemann's The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration And How It Changed America

1434 words - 6 pages

A Deeper Examination of the Merits and Shortcomings of Nicholas Lemann's The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed AmericaNicholas Lemann's The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America recounts the story of the mass migration of African Americans from the sharecropping South to the big city life of northern and western urban areas from the eyes of a few select individuals. Lemann paints the scene of the massive movement as a response to the futility of sharecropping facilitated by the newly developed mechanical cotton picker. Lemann proposes that these machines, coupled with a shared hope for a better life by southern black Americans, were the major push factors behind the migration of about five million blacks to the North and West between 1940 and 1970. He implies, through his central character Ruby's unsuccessful tale, that life after migrating to "the promised land" of the North was not any better for blacks, and that in actuality, it released even more problems and issues. Lemann also strives to discover the roots of current problems in urban ghettos, determine why earlier attempts to solve these issues failed, and suggest alternative approaches to America's leading social dilemma-the ghetto.The story begins in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the early 1940's, with Ruby Lee Daniels, an African American woman who worked as a cotton picker on the Hopson farm when a demonstration of eight newly developed mechanical cotton pickers took place. These pickerscould "pick a bale of cotton by machine . . . [for] $5.26," while "picking it by hand cost $39.41. . . . [e]ach machine did the work of fifty people," (5). Lemann asserts that the mechanical cotton picker destroyed the sharecropping system in the Mississippi Delta area, forcing many, like Ruby, to northern urban cities. Ruby moved to Chicago in hope of a better life but this only opened the door to a slew of new tribulations associated with urban life including, but not limited to, job discrimination, overcrowded housing, crime, racial conflict, and segregated schools. Moving from the South did not mean moving away from racism, "race relations were . . . the issue in the North," (70). Ruby's family could not seem to pull themselves out of the gutter and just continued to fall further and further until she eventually moved back to Clarksdale in 1979 where her life seems to be substantially better there than it was in Chicago.Lemann also discusses the state of Washington D.C. during these times through the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. He discusses their attempts at "wars on poverty" that ultimately failed. Lemann blames the lack of success on the fact that Johnson tried to do far too much way too soon. For example, Johnson wanted to "desegregate four thousand Southern school districts by September 1965," (183). Lemann thinks that in order to solve current problems, solutions for the same problems given in the...

Find Another Essay On A Deeper Examination of the Merits and Shortcomings of Nicholas Lemann's The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America

The Great Gatsby & The Shortcomings Of Society

887 words - 4 pages was destroyed by the loss of the money, it prompted a turning point in his life. No longer concerned about how much money he had, he came to the realization that the true beauty of America was more than just material possessions. His joy now came from the pride in his heritage, and also from the improvements in his relationship with Ruth and his other family. Even though Walter was able to change in the end, and Jay was not as lucky, both abandoned

The Flaws and Shortcomings of African Historiography

5019 words - 20 pages she started conducting interviews. It is not only how comfortable the historian feels in relating to his/her subject, but also whether his/her subject feels any intimate connection to the historian. The fact is, “interviews…invite lies. In their grip, an informant has to throw in a lot of nonsense to feed this colonial, alien, hungry and powerful apparatus. A researcher has to accept that the interview is a breeding place of lies” (MCW 109

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error

2425 words - 10 pages Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie’s Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error is an exceptional book, which dives into the lives of peasants of Montaillou in the 14th century. Montaillou is a village, presently French, and is situated in the south of the present day department of Ariege, in southern France. What sets this book apart from others written about the same subject is that it focuses mainly on the

The Great Migration: A history of Movement

1161 words - 5 pages economic opportunity. The Great Migration only lasted until the end of the Interwar years, when it became apparent that this second World War would bear more of the US’s growing influence, however, the African-American history of movement was to be continued in the courts of law, in a fight for long-withheld Civil Rights. Works Cited Lester, Cheryl. “Same as a nigger on an excursion”: Memphis, Black Migration, And White Flight In Sanctuary

The Pros and Cons of the Great Migration

1967 words - 8 pages : The African American Migration Experience, gives background information about what the Great Migration was, it’s causes, and what life was like in the North. It also provides resources such as images, maps, and texts relating to the migration. One of the research papers I use for this paper came from a student from Boston University, but Harvard University owns a copy of it. This paper titled "The Great Migration's Impact On the Education of

A Deeper Meaning of Art, Birds, and the Ocean

943 words - 4 pages The Awakening by Kate Chopin is a powerful story of a woman named Edna Pontellier who does not harmonize well with the Creole environment around her. The story explores Edna’s desire to stay true to herself; even if it means disregarding societal rules and causing friction between friends and family. Kate Chopin uses a variety of symbols to help the reader get a deeper understanding of the story. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary the

Status of the Black Man: How the Civil War Changed It

1180 words - 5 pages Although the Civil War is celebrated as the time of emancipation, emancipation was not the primary issue at stake. This leads to wondering how the Emancipation Proclamation and the 14th amendment actually affected the life of the average black. If emancipation was a side effect or an afterthought, what did it really mean? Truly, although blacks were legally freed after the war, they were in many ways still enslaved to the white man. But although

America, the Land of Money and the Home of Disappointment

1486 words - 6 pages exposes the contradiction between the influential American Dream and a disruptive American Aristocracy, claiming that inequality constitutes America. Illustrating the restrictive factors within society that inhibit opportunities for success, Fitzgerald further disproves the American Dream. When initially describing Gatsby, Nick shows his support, mentioning that “it was what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dream that

Examination of the book of John (and how it relates to the synoptic Gospels)

2136 words - 9 pages acceptance), the mystery of just how Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John came to fruition remains.Christianity as a religion was not just randomly decided upon as a nice, recommended set of rules for living; rather, it came into existence as a result of Jesus' life and teachings. Since this is the main focus of Christianity, the first source of inspiration for the gospels would be, (oddly enough), the actual life of Jesus. When Jesus lived on the earth as

Man Bites Man: on the Goodness and Shortcomings of Anthropos

1300 words - 5 pages faults and tendencytoward ruin of his environment by justifying his actions by bending religious ideals to fithis nature and fashion form this new anaesthetic to his doom.When the Conquistadors arrived in America, they discovered a state the religion of whichthey were certain the essential element was to justify the massacre and eating of humanbeings. 'The Spanish chroniclers were told, for example, that at the dedication of in 1487of the great

The Invention of the Telephone and How It Has Changed Over the Years

1523 words - 6 pages The Invention of the Telephone and How It Has Changed Over the Years About 100 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone by accident with his assistant Mr. Watson. Over many years, the modern version of the telephone makes the one that Bell invented look like a piece of junk. Developments in tone dialing, call tracing, music on hold, and electronic ringers have greatly changed the telephone. This marvelous

Similar Essays

The Expansion Of The Great Black Migration

1233 words - 5 pages Black Migration mostly occurred in the states of Illinois, Missouri, New York, and California. During the Great Migration, more than 100,000 blacks migrated to Harlem, New York. In Chicago and New York City, blacks were empowered by black-owned businesses, newspapers, and communities. Newspaper clippings written by the likes of Ida B. Wells, Asa P. Randolph, Marcus Garvey, and W.E.B. Du Bois asked blacks to help themselves by establishing a culture

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood Of 1927 And How It Changed America, By John M. Barry

910 words - 4 pages In a passage from his book, Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, author John M. Barry makes an attempt use different rhetorical techniques to transmit his purpose. While to most, the Mississippi River is only some brown water in the middle of the state of Mississippi, to author John M. Barry, the lower Mississippi is an extremely complex and turbulent river. John M. Barry builds his ethos, uses elevated

Man Child And The Promised Land

908 words - 4 pages The Will to Survive      In the book, “Manchild in the Promised Land,” Claude Brown makes an incredible transformation from a drug-dealing ringleader in one of the most impoverished places in America during the 1940’s and 1950’s to become a successful, educated young man entering law school. This transformation made him one of the very few in his family and in Harlem to get out of the street life. It is difficult to

The Arms Race And How It Changed The United States Of America

1780 words - 8 pages -powered railguns, which would ideally be able to shoot down approaching missiles long before they reached their target. The SDI program was also referred to as “Star Wars” because its use of lasers in space made it seem like science fiction. Furthermore, the price, amount of electricity needed to power these weapons, and amount of research needed was so great that the project was abandoned several billion dollars later (Rudolph 2). In essence, the