Executive Director, American Historical Association
About the Seminar
- Let us begin with the letters:
- Who are these people? What do we know about them?
- Why are they writing these letters? How can we evaluate the letters as sources?
- What might one expect their reaction to be to what they find in the North?
- What is the difference between causes of migration as a historical phenomenon, and the motivations that stimulated men and women to move?
- Why does that difference matter?
- Reading the letters, are “pushes” and “pulls” the best way to conceptualize the impulses for the Great Migration? How do we separate a “push” from a “pull”?
- What would you want to look at in a northern city in 1916 to predict whether black Southerners were likely to find what they were seeking?
- What sources would a historian explore to find out whether black southerners felt that they made the right decision in migrating North?
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- Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration. (excerpts) by James R. Grossman.
- Black Protest and the Great Migration. (excerpts) by Eric Arnesen.
- "The Migration of Negroes," The Crisis, by W. E. B. DuBois
- "We Tho[ugh]t State Street Would Be Heaven Itself" Black Migrants Speak Out.
- "Letters of Negro Migrants," (excerpts), Journal of Negro History.
- map of Chicago Defender circulation, Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration, by James R. Grossman.
- "The Awakening," political cartoon, Chicago Defender.
- "The Making of African American Identity: Vol. III, 1917-1968," from the National Humanities Center's primary source collection.
- The Negro in Chicago (excerpts), A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot, by the Chicago Commission on Race Relations.