The great migration helped populate the northern industrial cities, and create an industrial revolution in the country that would take it from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy, and one of the industrial leaders of the world, and the migration, with the hoards of cheap black labor, only helped build the foundations of that new prosperity.
These letters and personal recollections make it very clear the north was not the "promised land." There were difficulties there, too. Prices were higher than the south, and so it was difficult for the people to live. There were so many coming north, there were not jobs for everyone, and after World War I it was even worse. What is important about this is that the migrant blacks stayed. They knew that life, no matter how hard, was better in the north, and they knew that they faced better odds of survival and success in the north. Again, this area points out how badly the country treated blacks, even those that had fought in the war. They were reduced to any menial jobs they could find, and there were no social services, so if they starved, or were homeless, that was that. This period also shows that even though they were moving north, they were not always accepted, and they had to fight anger and hatred in the north, too, from people who did not want them to buy houses to people who did not want them in the schools. It indicates that in many ways, life was not better in the north; it was just a little more bearable because of work, and the ability to work.
All of the authors in these works have a very important propose in writing their letters, articles, and memoirs. They want other people to know what they suffered, how much they wanted to better themselves, and how the majority of the country treated them at that time. They do not want people to forget what they went through, and how biased the country was against people of color. The section on the race riots also indicates they were becoming tired of being treated like second-class citizens, and they were ready to stand up for their rights, even if it meant death. It also indicates how the press implicated the blacks in the riots, and vindicated the whites, even if it was not true, and how people believe the "facts" they read in the newspaper. This teaches the student to question facts and look at both sides of the argument to get the real truth, and not to believe everything in print. There are prejudices even in journalism and reporting, as this shows, and it pays to look for alternative viewpoints before a person makes a judgement. This is especially valuable today, when there are so many differing opinions, false information, and intentional lies spread about everything from political candidates to Hollywood stars, and that means Americans still have to be wary of what they read, and they should do more research before they make up their minds.
Each of these documents is a tiny slice of history, and they teach the reader about prejudice, race, and equality in this country. While African-Americans have come a long way, they still face prejudice, and these documents just prove that. For example, Barack Obama is the "first black president of the United States." It would seem by now that his race would not matter, and that his accomplishments would be the main factor in the campaign. Race still matters and that is very clear when viewing these documents. Why? Because even though they are nearly a decade old, a change in the wording or the meaning could certainly apply to the way many people still feel about other races in our society, such as Muslims, Hispanics, and others. So, they prove that while America has come a long way in history, there are still some things that never change, and that is a sad testament to this country's ability to accept others instead of judging them because of their race, religion, or skin color.
Various Authors. "The Journal of Negro History." University of Illinois at Chicago. 2008. 14. Nov.…