One of the most significant demographic events of the twentieth century was the migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban, industrial North. What caused this mass movement of people? In these two essays, Elizabeth D. Schafer, an agricultural historian, and Christopher W. Schmidt, an historian of African American culture, take two different approaches to this phenomenon... Read More.
Migration, both voluntary and involuntary, is clearly the means through which people of African descent have been dispersed throughout the world. In addition to developments outside of the continent, there have been major redistributions of populations within Africa itself. To briefly consider the latter, the idea of African communities in physical transition runs contrary to popular notions of a continent in which human habitation has been static and uninterrupted for millennia. However, the African landscape has witnessed tremendous change over long periods of time. Read More.
Migration has been a persistent theme throughout African-American history. Africans entered the New World as slaves, unlike European immigrants and their Asian counterparts. With the advent of the Civil War and Emancipation, black population movement took on a voluntary character and slowly converged with that of other groups. Nonetheless, only with the coming of World War I and its aftermath did blacks make a fundamental break with the land and move into cities in growing numbers. The Great Migration of the early twentieth century foreshadowed the transformation of African Americans from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban population. Read More.