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Negro Migration during the War   By: (1873-1957)

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[Transcriber's Note: All spellings and hyphenations have been left as in the original, with one exception: Footnote 119, where 'durng' was changed to 'during'.]




In the preparation of this study I have had the encouragement and support of Dr. Robert R. Moton, Principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Alabama, who generously placed at my disposal the facilities of the Institute's Division of Records and Research, directed by Mr. Monroe N. Work, the editor of the Negro Year Book . Mr. Work has cooperated with me in the most thoroughgoing manner. I have also had the support of the National League on Urban Conditions and particularly of the Chicago branch of which Dr. Robert E. Park is President and of which Mr. T. Arnold Hill is Secretary. Mr. Hill placed at my disposal his first assistant, Mr. Charles S. Johnson, graduate student of the University of Chicago, to whom I am greatly indebted. I must also make acknowledgment of my indebtedness to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Incorporated, Washington, D.C., for placing at my disposal the facilities of his organization.

The work of investigation was divided up by assigning Mr. Work to Alabama, Georgia and Florida; Mr. Johnson to Mississippi and to centers in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, while the eastern centers were assigned to Mr. T. Thomas Fortune, Trenton, New Jersey, a former editor of the New York Age , and a publicist and investigator of well known ability. It is upon the reports submitted by these investigators that this study rests. I can not speak too warmly of the enthusiastic and painstaking care with which these men have labored to secure the essential facts with regard to the migration of the negro people from the South.

Emmett J. Scott.

Washington, D.C.,

June 5, 1919.



I Introduction 3

II Causes of the Migration 13

III Stimulation of the Movement 26

IV The Spread of the Movement 38

V The Call of the Self Sufficient North 49

VI The Draining of the Black Belt 59

VII Efforts to Check the Movement 72

VIII Effects of the Movement on the South 86

IX The Situation in St. Louis 95

X Chicago and Its Environs 102

XI The Situation at Points in the Middle West 119

XII The Situation at Points in the East 134

XIII Remedies for Relief by National Organizations 143

XIV Public Opinion Regarding the Migration 152

Bibliography 175

Index 185




Within the brief period of three years following the outbreak of the great war in Europe, more than four hundred thousand negroes suddenly moved north. In extent this movement is without parallel in American history, for it swept on thousands of the blacks from remote regions of the South, depopulated entire communities, drew upon the negro inhabitants of practically every city of the South, and spread from Florida to the western limits of Texas. In character it was not without precedent. In fact, it bears such a significant resemblance to the migration to Kansas in 1879 and the one to Arkansas and Texas in 1888 and 1889 that this of 1916 1917 may be regarded as the same movement with intervals of a number of years.

Strange as it might seem the migration of 1879 first attracted general notice when the accusation was brought that it was a political scheme to transplant thousands of negro voters from their disfranchisement in the South to States where their votes might swell the Republican majority. Just here may be found a striking analogy to one of the current charges brought against the movement nearly forty years later... Continue reading book >>

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