Nicholas Lemann's Great Migration And How It Changed America

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The US Great Migration was the movement of 6 million African-Americans out of the rural South to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1910 and 1970. The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America, Nicholas Lemann studies the growth of the ghettos populated by a vast black underclass which had its roots in the migration of black sharecroppers from the fields and plantations in the South to the urban locations in the North. The rise of the black underclass in these ghettos should not be a surprise since it reflects the structure of sharecropper society, which is in turn based on the labor of a black underclass. The first part of this review focus on how Lemann through the use of various personal stories, tries to prove his argument. It also…show more content…
During the 1940s, labor recruiters based in the Northern states regularly tried to lure black sharecroppers into moving to the growing cities. Before the mechanical cotton picker, the plantation owners quietly competed with these recruiters, fearful that a loss of black labor would severely affect the agricultural industry. Now, as the cotton picker threw black sharecroppers out of work, white plantation owners worried about how unemployed black residents could become a threat to the region’s social peace. Another present social factor was the examples set by black people who had moved to the North earlier. For the blacks of the Mississippi Delta, moving north meant the growing industrial city of Chicago, Illinois. The unemployed black residents of Clarksdale, Mississippi were frequently visited by relatives who had moved to Chicago for work. These relatives brought back new cars, new wardrobes, and stories regarding jobs where one earned in a day the amount a sharecropper usually received in a month. For many blacks in the Delta, the notion of migration had been

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