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Great Migration: The African American Migration (Essay Sample)


Write an essay on the Great Migration of the black population to the northern United States. 

  • What were the reasons for the Great Migration?
  • What were some of the risks involved for the African Americans who undertook the move?

Describe and evaluate the impact of the Great Migration on three different aspects of American life.
Use at least three different resources found at the from the African-American Migration Experience site.

The paper should be three to five pages (not including title or reference pages), double-spaced, according to APA, and include a minimum of three sources (at least two peer-reviewed references besides the textbook). The introductory paragraph should include a thesis statement.


Great Migration
Great Migration
When people hear the African American migration, a significant majority think of the transatlantic slave trade. However, the Great Migration does not depict the slave trade and is not even related to it. The Great Migration denotes a time when the African Americans sought to find a place for themselves in the world. Having been stripped off their identity during the slave trade, it was indeed necessary to find a name and place for them, and this necessitated the Great Migration. Unlike the slave trade which was through coercion, the Great Migration was voluntary, and only those who sought an end to the derogatory status of life in the South took the trip. The United States of America is a web of immigrants, and over the years, each managed to settle and find its identity. However, it took the African Americans some time to reach such heights, but once they did, many sought different environments which would give them new beginnings and the result was the Great Migration.
According to Donald Henderson (1921), “the Negro migration stream began flowing in the spring of 1916, reached its highest mark in 1917, and, even though much diminished, coursed on through 1918 up to the signing of the armistice.” Before 1916, African Americans were majorly found in the South which was still predominantly racist and bigoted. However, by 1919, even though the migration had subsided, hundreds of thousands had already made their way to the North. The reasons for migration were indeed varied, and according to a report by Haynes (1919), a majority of the African Americans fled the south because of economic and social causes. These he outlined as the “reorganization of agriculture behind the boll weevil… hunger wages in Mississippi…the attraction of Arkansas…the attraction of the northern urban and industrial centers.” Aside from the above, the living conditions in the north were also favorable than those in the South. The African Americans were indeed tired of the situation in the South as well as the deplorable conditions of life they were forced to endure. Therefore, most of them sought greener pastures when the doors of the North opened.
According to Donald Henderson (1921), migration “is the means by which man is enabled to escape the pain of an unfavorable environment and to find the pleasure which might result from adaptation in more favorable surroundings.” The above sums up the Afri

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