American History II short answer

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Between the end of the Civil War (1865) and the beginning of the Great Depression (1929), almost two million African Americans moved from the rural South to look for new opportunities. While some moved west, most of this Great Migration, as the large number of African Americans leaving the South was called, moved to the Northeast and Upper Midwest. More than two-thirds of them moved to the following cities: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Indianapolis.

There are “push” and “pull” factors for any migration (the movement of a large number of people). Even though the Civil War had ended and laws were passed to end slavery and protect the right to vote, African Americans still experienced intense racism. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan caused death threats, violence, and lynchings (murder by hanging). According to researchers at the Tuskegee Institute, there were thirty-five hundred lynchings and other murders committed in the South between 1865 and 1900. For African Americans fleeing this violence, northern and midwestern cities offered an opportunity to escape the dangers of the South.

In addition to this “push” out of the South, African Americans were also “pulled” to the cities by job opportunities and the chance to vote (for men, at least). Many African Americans did not have money to move themselves, but factory owners and other businesses helped pay for their moves. Because of racism, African American workers still had the lower-paying jobs in steel mills, mines, construction, and meat packing. In the railroad industry, they often worked as porters or servants. In other businesses, they worked as janitors, waiters, or cooks. African American women, who faced racism and sexism, often worked as maids and domestic servants. Nevertheless, African Americans earned higher wages in the North than they did for the same jobs in the South, and found housing more easily.

However, life in the city was still difficult. African Americans still experienced the higher cost of living in the North, especially in terms of rent and food. As a result, housing was often overcrowded and dirty. They still experienced racism from landlords, bankers and neighbors. So why move to the North, since the economic problems were similar to those in the South? African Americans moved for non-economic gains. In the North they found greater educational opportunities and personal freedom. Similarly, unlike the South where African Americans often experienced violence, life in larger, crowded cities permitted African Americans to move, work, and speak freely.

Directions: Answer the following question.

Discussion Parameters

Your answer should exhibit careful thought and logical reasoning and provide evidence for your position. Each answer should be at least 5-7 long sentences. Use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

1. What is the “push” factor that caused African Americans to leave the South? Do you think they were justifiable to leave the south?

2. What were two non-economic gains from African Americans who moved to Northern cities?

3. Why was life in the city still different for African Americans? Compare and contrast city life to southern life

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