Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture)

During World War I, as many as half a million southern African Americans permanently left the South to create new homes and lives in the urban North, and hundreds of thousands more would follow in the 1920s. This dramatic transformation in the lives of many black Americans involved more than geography: the increasingly visible “New Negro” and the intensification of grassroots black activism in the South as well as the North were the manifestations of a new challenge to racial subordination. Eric Arnesen’s unique collection of articles from a variety of northern, southern, black, and white newspapers, magazines, and books explores the “Great Migration,” focusing on the economic, social, and political conditions of the Jim Crow South, the meanings of race in general — and on labor in particular — in the urban North, the grassroots movements of social protest that flourished in the war years, and the postwar “racial counterrevolution.” An introduction by the editor, headnotes to documents, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index are included.