Great Migration (20th Century)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Great Migration ( English : "Great Migration" and "Great Migration") is a migration of about 6 million African Americans from the rural areas of the southern states of the United States referred to the industrial cities of the North, Northeast and West in the decades 1910-1970 . It is one of the central events in the history of African American people in the 20th century. Most of the blacks were from the rural states of Louisiana , Alabama, and Mississippi . This gave rise to larger African American communities in cities like New York , Chicago , Baltimore , Detroit , Philadelphia , Columbus , Cleveland , Cincinnati , Omaha , Indianapolis , St. Louis, and Pittsburgh , some of which are now African American.


Historian Isabel Wilkerson points out that this migratory movement was greater than the migratory movements sparked by the California gold rush and the Dust Bowl . Before the Great Migration began, only about 10 percent of the black population in the United States lived in the northern states, compared with 47 percent after the migration ended. As a result, the Great Migration in the northern states influenced the expansion of the cities, but also a settlement structure influenced by skin color, the emergence of a black middle class and language and music culture in the urban centers. The descendants of people who migrated north during the Great Migration included and include such influential figures as James Baldwin , Michelle Obama , Miles Davis , Toni Morrison , Malcolm X , Al Sharpton , Ben Carson, and Denzel Washington .


Some historians distinguish between the First Great Migration , which lasted from around 1910 to 1930 and affected around 1.6 million people, and the Second Great Migration , which took place from 1940 to 1970, during the period of economic boom during and after World War II , played. During this time, 5 million African Americans, mostly urban dwellers with higher education or professional qualifications, left the south and moved to the emerging states of the west, such as California .


  • Emmett J. Scott: Negro Migration during the War . Oxford University Press, New York 1920. (= Preliminary economic studies of the war, Volume 16).
  • James R. Grossman: Land of Hope. Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration . University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1991. ISBN 0-226-30995-9 .
  • Nicholas Lemann: The Promised Land. The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America . Vintage Press, New York 1991. ISBN 0-679-73347-7 .
  • Milton Sernett: Bound for the Promised Land. African Americans' Religion and the Great Migration . Duke University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8223-1993-4 .
  • Eric Arnesen: Black Protest and the Great Migration. A Brief History with Documents . St. Martin's Press, Bedford 2002. ISBN 0-312-39129-3 .
  • Steven Hahn : A Nation Under Our Feet . The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge 2003. ISBN 0-674-01765-X .
  • Steven A. Reich (Ed.): Encyclopedia of the great Black migration (3 volumes). Greenwood Press, Westport 2006. ISBN 0-313-32982-6 .
  • Isabel Wilkerson: The Warmth of Other Suns. The Epic Story of America's Great Migration . Random House, New York 2010. ISBN 978-0-679-60407-5 .


  1. ^ Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns, Item 287-Item 301
  2. Article "Great Migration, Causes of". In: Steven A. Reich (ed.): Encyclopedia of the great Black migration, Volume 1: AL . Greenwood Press, Westport 2006. ISBN 0-313-32983-4 .