During the early twentieth century, African Americans felt that they had been brutally mistreated by their white American counterparts. It was especially Jim Crow a republican and a leader in the congress who sought to frustrate the lives of the Black Americans. Despite the likes of Abraham Lincoln ensuring that all humans are equal and equality is placed on the treatment of all races, Jim Crow brought bills into the congress that brought oppression and torment to the lives of the black a living hell. In the course of this, the Black Americans sought for better environs where their small population could live a life free of slavery and discrimination due to one’s color to skin. The blacks began to migrate from the south and moved up north. Litwack for instance, describes the feelings of the blacks concerning the oppression they were going. One says that every day seemed like a murder to him and he wished to leave Jim Crow town and go to Chicago where he felt it was a better place.
In a period of less than a few years the southern black Americans moved up North to a better life. The numbers of Black minorities in the northern states had increased by almost double. This thus made the Black Americans compare themselves to the Israelites in search of a “Promised Land”. They sought for land where there is little or no effect of the Jim Crow laws that only oppressed their lives. Despite the oppression there were other factors that pushed the Black Americans to cities in the North.
When the First World War began, many white young and a few blacks were recruited into the military. This led to an open of jobs up north. The Black Americans sought to uplift their living standards up north by taking up the open jobs left by the military bound population. In the North, there was an overwhelming of the economy boost. The war that had begun in Europe had created a huge demand on goods relating to war. Therefore there was need for more labor force to ensure the opportunity is taken up by the industries. The War had also limited the number of immigrants from Europe. The European labor force therefore could not be depended upon and thus the need for the black American labor force from the south.
In comparison to the south, the North American industries were offering better wages for the black Americans. In the south African Americans could earn up to a maximum of 2$ per day. However in the North they could earn up o a maximum of 5 dollars per day. There were also unions that had been brought up to fight for the right of a better wage. This was specifically for the black community who were mainly the victims of racial discrimination of wage demands.
This thus showed that the African Americans found a better life standard. The Promised Land was finally in their grasp and the African Americans could enjoy life in America. They had been able to escape from oppression from Jim Crow and still able to enjoy a better lifestyle for themselves and their families.
In the south, the Jim Crow laws had a lot of effect on the lives of the Black minority peoples. Though the slavery of the minority blacks had ended, the Jim Crow era came with laws that led to the oppression in the political field. The black Americans were restricted from voting whereby if the paternal ancestral line three generations back was bound in slavery. They were unable to enforce their right for a leader who could serve them and fight for their civil rights. This thus created a feeling of inferiority among black minority citizens of America. They could not come to terms with the white counterparts. The rules enforced also ensured that there was little or no social class mobility amongst the African Americans in the south.
In the North however, the black Americans were able to make better wages in the industries. Due to lack of the Jim Crow laws, the black minority could enjoy a little freedom unlike in the south. The unions set up in the south ensured that the blacks are well fought for in the industries to earn a better wage. The Blacks in the north could earn nearly double the salary o their counterparts in the south. Due to a lot of influence of European Americans, there was a lot of rationale where the educated black received an opportunity to take work that was previously held by whites. This was unheard of in the South where only the mediocre jobs were left for the blacks whether educated or uneducated.
The implementation of the racial de jure segregation laws popularly known as the Jim Crow laws have had a historic impact to all Americans particularly black Americans across century later after his rise and fall. Jim Crow helped implement the separate but equal federates in the southern states of America in the late 1890. African Americans in the south acquired a different tag and status of living that of racially inferior to their white counter parts. This led a system of serialized social disadvantages for the black population in the south leading to serialization of educational economic and social disadvantages.
The life of every American was determined by the color code. Entry in to all public amenities including buses and trains were equally based on the colour bar. The colour segregation was mostly applicable to the southern states. They were white conservationist. This led to the famous northern exodus and transhumance to the now industrial less conservative states. A majority of the black population could no longer tolerate the life under colour bondage southwards and this led to their mass exit. The southern states though abolished slavery after Abraham Lincoln signed the emancipation for the declaration of independence where it was declared that all men were created equal. This mass exodus affected agricultural production in the south.
The Jim Crow policy required that every black person be treated differently from whites. The Negroes population was overtaxed even given their non participation in non formal employment. Black codes restricted civil rights and civil liberties. The Negroes were not allowed to vote nor participate in active politics. The great exodus was a mass awakening of the civil liberation of the black population. Dr. Ossian in the book Arc of Justice describes the way Negros were being lynched while some were being tormented psychologically but could not receive justice. By 1950s the black population in the northern states was far more alarming (Miller, 2006). The north seemed to provide for jobs and a promising future. Civil liberation groups were formed the most renowned being the christen movement for peace through non violent means lead by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King jr.
Dr. King advocated for more civil liberation and the removal of the colour bar. These led to the assumption that this process was slow and other civil activists like the youthful Malcolm x advocated for more radicalized measures.
This led to the removal of the voting restrictions but latter on the condition that the grandfather effect was applied, where one was not allowed to vote if their grandfather was not free during the emancipation of the declaration of independence and this barred many blacks from voting which led to continuous radical mass protest for equality.
The great migration also had its own effects in the northern states. Educated African Americans acquired jobs and attained class mobility. The over availability of labour of labour in the north also led to its influx due to high competition and majority of the youth and black population turned to crime and drug abuse. The great depression was a big blow to the migration immediately after the First World War. The dream of a better life was not really achieved for the majority of the black population. A new dimension to freedom and liberation was realized, that freedom and liberation meant good jobs and a well organized health care and public policy.
New cultures were achieved in the north. The black panthers which pioneered for a black lifestyle and living were slowing taking shapes in the northern cities. There was continued segregation and integration of the black culture. The blacks who worked mostly casual labourers were indefinitely residentially discriminated and were pilled in large masses in ghettos in the neighborhood and were prevented from purchasing new homes. The city of New York was demographically filled with blacks.
The second exodus which was may be the largest in the USA history saw millions of blacks move northwards in search of jobs and opportunities. This was immediately after the Second World War in which America was an active participant. During this period American civil and liberation movement was felt across all Americans. All these activities lead to a racial divide where more hatred to whites by the black population was achieved. The great exodus northwards did not really bring the achievement or the materialization of the dream of a Promised Land and good life were only but a dream the real and true struggle for liberation continued.
Friedman, L. M. (2002). American law in the 20th century. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Plummer, B. G. (2003). Window on freedom: Race, civil rights, and foreign affairs, 1945-1988. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Miller, S. M. (2006). Race, ethnicity, and gender in early twentieth-century American socialism. New York: Garland.
Noble, P. (2005). Beyond the burning bus: The civil rights revolution in a southern town. Montgomery, AL: New South Books.
Fremon, D. K. (2010). The Jim Crow laws and racism in American history. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.