The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and by James N. Gregory

By James N. Gregory

Among 1900 and the Seventies, twenty million southerners migrated north and west. Weaving jointly for the 1st time the histories of those black and white migrants, James Gregory strains their paths and studies in a finished new research that demonstrates how this nearby diaspora reshaped the USA by way of ''southernizing'' groups and remodeling very important cultural and political associations.

Challenging similar to the migrants as helpless and terrible, Gregory indicates how either black and white southerners used their new atmosphere to develop into brokers of switch. Combining own tales with cultural, political, and demographic research, he argues that the migrants helped create either the trendy civil rights move and glossy conservatism. They spurred adjustments in American faith, significantly smooth evangelical Protestantism, and in pop culture, together with the advance of blues, jazz, and kingdom song.

In a sweeping account that pioneers new understandings of the impression of mass migrations, Gregory recasts the heritage of twentieth-century the US. He demonstrates that the southern diaspora was once an important to modifications within the courting among American areas, within the politics of race and sophistication, and within the roles of faith, the media, and tradition.

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Sample text

Some of the plantations shifted to centralized farm management in the 1930s, and the rest would do so by the 1950s, converting sharecroppers into farm laborers, employed when they were needed to thin and pick cotton. 46 The main route out of the Deep South still led due north to Chicago, Detroit, and other Great Lakes cities, but World War II also opened a new migration geography for African Americans. Now black families from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas and some of their eastern South counterparts turned west, giving the Pacific Coast its first significant black population outside of Los Angeles.

World War II initiated the greatest spatial reorganization of Americans in the nation’s history, and southerners were at the heart of the process. The ramping up of military production that began in 1939 created millions of jobs along the major industrial corridor stretching from New York to Chicago and on the coasts where shipbuilding facilities were concentrated. Over the next five years, millions of Americans moved to those areas to build the planes, tanks, rifles, and ships that the nation needed to fight the war.

35 The South had its own economic problems. The Depression knocked the bottom out of agricultural prices, which in the case of cotton had already been depressed throughout the 1920s. Floods and drought devastated crops in some areas. And many farms were lost to foreclosure or tax default. When the New Deal administration attempted to raise commodity prices starting in 1933 through the Agricultural Adjustment Act program of crop reduction, more rural livelihoods were lost. Landowners took their poorest fields out of production and told sharecroppers and tenants to leave.

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