African Americans From The Pacific Northwest Essay

Decent Essays

1) Why did many African Americans come to the Pacific Northwest? The growth of the African-American population in the Pacific Northwest (including Washington State, Idaho and Oregon) expanded by 309 percent, between 1940-1950. Many simply came for employment, as WWII contract work gave African-Americans the ability to find steady work in shipyards, defense production opportunities, federal employee positions, Boeing Airplane Company (need for Machinists) and many other employment opportunities for the growing Northwest cities. With the presence of the military, many African-Americans were assigned to the local military bases, moving them and their families westward, to a region with great opportunities. Seattle, Tacoma and Portland would see an increase of over 30,000 migrants, changing the demographics of many cities, to one of African-American decent. Portland offered fewer opportunities for blacks, being regarded as less “accepting” of the cultural difference. Many blacks would move to the Tacoma-Seattle area, where growth and prosperity with defense-related jobs were more abundant. The growing surrounding areas were providing a vast amount of available jobs and housing for black buyers, with less discrimination (as witnessed prior on the east coast). 2) What opportunities and obstacles did the Northwest offer African Americans? Prior to WWII, most African Americans (70-90 percent) worked as a domestic servant. The need for manufacture workers, shipyard employees and

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