Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration
Greenwood Milestones in African American History
The Great Migration brought immense political, economic, and cultural change to the United States as millions of African-Americans left the South in search of social, economic, and political justice.
||Race and Ethnicity/African American Studies
The Great Migration brought immense change to the entire American nation, as millions of African Americans left the South in search of social, economic, and political justice. This encyclopedia describes the movement of southern African Americans to the urban North and West in the broadest social, economic, cultural, and most importantly, political context. Entries provide students and researchers with information about the key people, places, organizations, and events that defined the era of the migration from 1900 to the 1990s.
Describes the movement of Southern African Americans to the urban North and West in the broadest social, economic, cultural, and most importantly, political context. Entries provide students and researchers with information about the key people, places, organizations, and events that defined the era of the migration, from 1900 to the 1990s. Each entry provides cross-listings to related entries, suggested readings for further information, and refers readers to relevant Web sites and archival collections. The encyclopedia draws on the expertise of leading scholars in African American history, providing entries that incorporate the interpretations and insights of recent scholarship.
Encyclopedia contributors portray the migrants not as composite characters, but as individuals enmeshed in a complex web of relationships who negotiated difficult circumstances and assumed enormous risks to migrate. Migrants did not shed their southern past and become northerners as soon as they arrived at Chicago's Union Station. Rather, the migration of black southerners to the North that began during the World War I era was part of a much larger and longer process by which southern blacks had long migrated within the South in search of social, economic, and political justice. Understanding the Great Migration partly as a critical chapter in the history of the South, the encyclopedia devotes space to the social, economic, and political conditions in the South prior to World War I. It also examines how war and migration transformed the South as profoundly as it changed the dynamics of life in the North. Since nearly half of those who migrated north during the period did so during the era of the Great War, several entries emphasize how America's mobilization for World War I not only fostered the migration but sharpened black critiques of the social and political order of the era. Entries on the draft, military service, changing labor markets, and the uneven expansion of federal power, for example, demonstrate how black Americans— migrants, industrial workers, farmers, domestic servants, men and women, political organizers, and editors—spied possibilities for meaningful change in the era of the First World War. Other entries capture ways in which the war and migration opened fissures and debates within local black communities, South and North; describe the extent and intensity of white, conservative reaction to the migration; explore the family dynamics of the migration; and identify the multiple concerns in addition to the search for work that confronted migrants: finding places to live, establishing childcare arrangements, seeking a place to worship, and maintaining long-distance kinship networks. Other entries convey how blacks described these years through song, art, and fiction and explain the ways in which black migrants encountered not only new worlds of work and politics, but new worlds of leisure and consumption.
- Table of Contents
Guide to Related Topics
Volume 1: A-L
Volume 2: M-Z
Volume 3: Primary Documents
"Between World War I and 1970, millions of African Americans migrated to cities in the industrial north and far west. This migration deeply affected not just American society in general but the lives and collective culture of millions of black people. . . . Since the study of the black migration can be conceived through many different scholarly disciplines-sociology, history, literature, African American studies, and more-many advanced students initiating an investigation of the subject will find these easy-to-read volumes a helpful starting place. To this reviewer's knowledge, no other encyclopedia-style reference covers this topic so extensively. A valuable addition to high school and public libraries as well as to academic libraries supporting history, sociology, or African American studies programs."
"The range of topics and the depth of treatment are impressive, and the prose is easy to read. . . . The reprinting of extracts from source documents is most welcome. Most of these are elusive and the publisher does a great service in making them available. . . . As an aid to study and research it is excellent and I would warmly recommend the work to for use in institutions where race issues, African American Studies, and American history feature."
"The selections make fascinating reading from an eyewitness account of a race riot in East St. Louis, to the essays by philosopher Alain Locke on Harlem, to the poem Bound for the Promised Land, published in the Chicago Defender in 1917. . . . [A]cademic and large libraries aiming for strong collections in African American studies will want this attractively produced and comprehensive work."
"The movement of southern African Americans to the urban North and Far West over the course of the 20th century was one of the most profound demographic and cultural transformations of the United States. Reich presents some 400 essays that explore the causes, experiences, and consequences of the Great Migration in the first two volumes of this set. . . . Essays are cross-referenced and provide guides to further reading. A third volume contains 76 primary source documents taken from contemporary newspapers, literary works, memoirs, and other sources."
Booklist Editors' Choice 2006 —