The Great Migration: Research Paper

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Byrd 1
Venecia Byrd
Mrs. DeJong
Honors English 10
May 5, 2014

Research: The Great Migration

The Great Migration was the mass migration of more than six million African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North and West from 1916 to 1970. This had a huge impact on urban life in the United States. African Americans were pushed out of the rural areas because of whites.
Millions of African Americans went to cities like Chicago during the Great Migration like Bigger Thomas in Richard Wright 's novel Native Son. African Americans often faced harsh living conditions and racism. African Americans such as Bigger Thomas had the ideal “American Dream”, but could not endure it because of the racial barriers. This mass
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The neighborhood was initially labeled the “Black Belt” or the “Black Ghetto,” but an African American writer suggested calling it “Bronzeville,” a name that many residents found less insulting” (Chicago and the Great Migration).
Chicago did not make more tenements for the new arrivals moving to the area, everyone just crowded into one apartment. There was one room, bathroom, barely a living room, and a small kitchen, sometimes leaving families with little or no water, heat, or light. Chicago did not enforce the Jim Crows Laws, but there was still various methods of segregation through social customs and residential codes. Historian Arnold R. Hirsch explains in The Encyclopedia of Chicago, “the covenants were “rare in Chicago before the 1920s, their widespread use followed the Great Migration of southern blacks.” Restrictive covenants effectively confined African Americans to Bronzeville until courts began striking down the restrictions in the 1940s” (Chicago and the Great Migration). Restrictive covenants were the contractual agreements between property owners to not let African-Americans buy or stay in the apartments. Along with Bigger having to take on economic challenges he had to live in a one room apartment with his mother and two siblings. There was very little to eat and so little space. Bigger slept in a bed with his brother while his mother and sister slept in a bed on
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