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WW1 Great Migration

Woodrow Wilson

WW1 Great Migration: Woodrow Wilson was the 28th American President who served in office from March 4, 1913 to March 4, 1921. One of the important events during his presidency was the Great Migration.

Definition and Summary of the WW1 Great Migration
Summary and definition:
The Great Migration during WW1 was a flow of African American migrants from the rural farmlands in the South to the urban cities of the industrialized north. The WW1 draft caused a shortage of labor in the northern factories and African Americans migrated to take advantage of new job opportunities, better education and modern facilities of the cities.

Impact and Effect: The massive demographic shift of the Great Migration dramatically altered African American history culturally, socially and politically.

WW1 Great Migration for kids: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the WWI Great Migration.

What was the Great Migration? The WW1 Great Migration was the movement of African Americans from the farmlands in the south to the towns and cities in the north.

What date was the WW1 Great Migration? The date of the WW1 Great Migration was from 1915 - 1920.

How many people moved during the ww1 Great Migration? It is estimated that between 300,000 and 500,000 migrated during the WW1 Great Migration.

WW1 Great Migration Facts for kids: Causes of the Great Migration
The causes of the Great Migration are detailed below:

The number of white workers drafted in World War One, and the halt of immigration from Europe, led to a need for additional labor in factories and industries in the north.

The increase in war production led to the increased demand for labor in the North, but the draft had removed many workers from the labor force.

Northern companies and corporations sent labor agents (recruiters) to the South to persuade African Americans to take advantage of new job opportunities, better education and the modern facilities in the Northern cities.

World War One cut immigration from Europe to America in 1914 from 1.2 million to just 300,000. The downward trend in immigration, and fresh labor, continued throughout the war.

 In 1915 and 1916 floods and boll-weevil infestations ruined the cotton crop in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana causing great hardship to black farmers.

Racial segregation, the Jim Crow system, threats of lynchings, fear of mobs, white supremacy and the climate of violence persuaded Southern families to move to the freedom and greater prosperity in the North

Easier mobility and transportation. People traveled North by train that provided easy access to New York, Chicago and other Northern cities.

Facts about WW1 Great Migration
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on WW1 Great Migration.

Prior to the Great Migration of WWI and the move to the north, another great migration of 30,000 African Americans had taken place in 1879 to Kansas in the west. These migrants were called the Exodusters and were led by Benjamin "Pap" Singleton. The reason for the 'exodus' was to claim and settle lands as provided by the Homestead Act and escape racial segregation and intimidation in the South.

In the years leading up to World War One the African American population were entirely rural. (In the years since 1920 this changed to more than 90% urban city dwellers).

Why did African Americans move from the rural life in the countryside to the urban life in the cities? To seek new job opportunities in the North and leave racism and segregation in the South.

The American Industrial Revolution, and the second period of Industrialization, occured in the latter half of the 19th century when steam power was replaced by electric power and iron was replaced by steel.

Industrialization transformed the United States from an agricultural to an industrial society with  the emergence of mass production techniques in huge factories that required vast numbers of cheap, unskilled labor.

The number of Black Americans employed in the farming industry dropped form 90% to just 50% in less than 50 years.

400,000 African Americans were drafted during the war, and 42,000 African Americans served overseas as combat troops including the famous Harlem Hellfighters.

During WW1 the newly-formed NAACP led the fight against discrimination and segregation and to prevent mistreatment of African Americans in the military.

African Americans in the South were urged to move to the cities of the North by the black northern press.

Robert Sengstacke Abbott (24 November 1870 February 29, 1940), the editor of a major black newspaper the 'Chicago Defender', encouraged African Americans to leave the South and migrate north by providing information about job opportunities during World War I.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 African Americans left the South during World War I to settle in Northern cities which became known as the "Great Migration". Between 750,000 and one million left the South in the 1920s.

Labor shortages during World War I provided African Americans with jobs in the shipbuilding, steel and automotive industries as well as in ammunition and meat packing factories.

African American migrants settled in cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Springfield, St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago

The massive influx of people in the cities led to the squalid conditions and problems of Urbanization in America. The majority of the movement to the cities happened during the early 1900s (America was majority urban by 1921)

African Americans and foreign immigrants formed ethnic enclaves in America's cities where members of minority groups lived - referred to as ghettos.

Prominent African Americans such as Marcus Garvey, A. Philip Randolph and Emmett J. Scott all worked to help people who joined the Great Migration to the north.

Impact: The massive demographic shift of the Great Migration dramatically altered African-American history socially, politically and culturally.

Impact: An increase in black political power for men such as Oscar De Priest and new business opportunities.

Impact: During the 1920s a period of black artistic expression in music and literature emerged led by Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and W. E. B. DuBois. The movement became known as the Harlem Renaissance and ushered in the Jazz Age.

US American History
1913-1928: WW1 & Prohibition

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