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Holy Migration Batman Essay

1118 words - 4 pages

The Great Migration was an impactful mass scale movement of African American families and individuals from their roots in the deep south to the more liberal cities within the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Despite problems they faced while leaving, hundreds of thousands of people left everything they knew and loved in the hopes of finding better opportunities for themselves and their descendants. Not only did The Great Migration result in a major shift in the national demographic, but it ultimately changed socioeconomic conditions for all United States citizens, black and white alike.
African American living conditions within the south were still extremely poor almost 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Due to regional and state legislation retaining the ability to make decisions surrounding civil rights, miniscule amounts of progress had been made. ‘Jim Crow’ laws both directly endangered black citizens and severely limited their rights, allowing whites to maintain dominance over social and economic conditions in the South. These laws included specifications such as the poll tax, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and segregation. The political conditions overall resulted in a stark, two-tiered system that placed blacks as second class citizens (Cassedy). Economic inequality also contributed to mistreatment of African American citizens. After the abolition of slavery, sharecropping became common. Sharecropping involved ex-slaves, or their descendants, renting land from plantation owners and farming it in exchange for high charges. A single bad year could tip the balance into utter destitution, whether from unbalance surrounding supply and demand, or crop loss stemming from climate extremes or pests. Overall, the fragile system resulted in a downward spiral of debt for farmers. The only chance to avoid imprisonment for this debt was entering an agreement to work additional years. Migrating offered a fresh start and hopeful opportunity for many African Americans who had previously been living under extreme oppression.
In addition to the poor conditions of the South, there were many factors that put the Northern and Western cities at an advantage. WWI triggered extreme changes to the Northern employment structure, due to the majority of available men being taken for the draft. In addition, unrest in Europe essentially halted the flow of immigrants, who had previously filled the lower level jobs. The loss of available workers and the increase in demand for industry to support the war effort resulted in the creation of aggressive labor campaigns to encourage blacks to migrate to cities. Labor recruiters were paid by companies in need, per recruit, and offered advantages such as free transportation, low-cost housing, and decent pay for migrants. Better quality jobs were often given back to whites after the end of WWI, but an abundance of cheap labor remained from the African American populations. Thus, representing a...

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