African American Migration And Foreign Immigration

1615 words - 6 pages

An Experience Unlike Any Before
During the mass immigration era of America, an abundant number of people traveled to the urban industrial society of the United States in aspiration to seek job opportunities and better lives than the ones they left behind. These groups included the Poles, Italians, Chinese, Mexicans, Japanese, East European Jews, and the African- Americans. However, one of these groups mentioned was distinctly different from the rest: the African-Americans. They were already American citizens, who migrated to the northern American cities to free themselves from segregation, oppression, and harsh conditions they experienced in the South and obtain equal rights and opportunities. Although the African-Americans' ambitions were exceedingly high, there were strong barriers that kept them from reaching their goals of Americanization. The historical legacy of slavery acted as a barrier, and left the African-Americans with fewer civil rights than all other Americans and immigrants. To understand the meaning of "civil rights," it can be defined as "the rights belonging to an individual by virtue of citizenship especially the fundamental freedoms including civil liberties, due process, equal protection of the laws, and freedom from discrimination" (Dictionary.com). African-Americans were similar to the new comers from abroad in that they both experienced change and adjustment when entering urban American, but due to the legacy of slavery and the impact it had on the African-Americans' civil rights, the African-Americans migration experience was clearly different than other immigration experiences.
The African-Americans and other migrant and immigrant groups experienced similar conditions and challenges of change upon entering the new American society of urban industrialization. Urban America was new and foreign to all comers. The immigrants from abroad and the African-Americans both left their homelands of restricted opportunities and sought to find better ones. The African-Americans came without proper clothing and skills, unaware of the future obstacles ahead. Their environment and surroundings were significantly different in the South than the lively cities in the North. Before migrating, the African-Americans lives consisted of mainly working in the fields in the blistering, hot sun, or working as servants or tenants for white property owners; they had never laid eyes upon a building or factory. For the immigrants, coming to urban America was an enormous change as well. They were oblivious to the American culture, American politics and economics, and were unable to read or speak English, in most cases. While settling in the northern cities, there were certain harsh conditions that the African Americans along with the immigrants experienced. They both were forced to live with their families in small, unsanitary living spaces due to the intense persecution and racialization from American outsiders. Families in...

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