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The Great Migration - The Promised Land

            After the First World War broke out in the early 1900s, North and West cities faced a shortage of industrial laborers. This called for the greatest migration of half a million blacks out of the South into the North and Midwest. This movement, known as The Great Migration, offered opportunity in the economic, social, environmental, and political forces among black southerners. According to Nell Painter in Creating Black Americans, there are particular factors which drove black southerners to the North. One significant influence of the migration was black newspapers encouraging black Southerners to leave. In particular, one newspaper called the Defender advertised the opportunities awaiting migrants in the North and even set a departure date in order to urge southerners to come to the North (190). As a result of the newspaper's circulation, Painter states "New Negroes were more cosmopolitan consumers of national-even international-news" (190). Through his reference Painter suggests that by this time period, black southerners are now gaining more access to news and opportunity outside their homelands than ever before. In addition, since there were a dense number of blacks living in the North, there was protection from the whites from discrimination, segregation, and lynching. .
             That is to say black southerners felt safer in the North and freer to engage in their black community. More importantly, the major pull factor of The Great Migration was job opportunity. Since there was a departure of thousands of European immigrants and Northern soldiers during the First World War, numerous jobs were available for black southerners. These jobs were often involved in the industry and offered higher wages in comparison to the North. Therefore, black southerners were not only given the opportunity to rise economically, but also politically. In the North, black men were considered political people who even had the rights to vote and hold office (193).

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