The Southern Diaspor The Great Migrations Of Black And White Southerners By James N. Gregory

The Southern Diaspor The Great Migrations Of Black And White Southerners By James N. Gregory

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The Southern Diaspora was one of the largest American population movements among the white and black population. From 1900 to 1970 more than 28 million southerners left their home regions in search of better jobs in the cities and suburbs of the North and the West making “the size of the diaspora is the first revelation” (pg. 13). “The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America” by James N. Gregory shows the migration of black southerners and whites together to see the connections and differences. Gregory’s main argument is that the southern diaspora greatly influenced contributions to religion, music and politics that shaped America.
The reoccurring theme that Gregory covers throughout his book is how the diaspora restructured America by “southernizing” the North and the West communities and bringing light to racial inequalities. There were many factors driving people out of the South including a lack of employment, people seeking higher wages, better farmland, or some other economic improvement. As a result of this mass migration of people the rest of the country outside of the southern states suddenly became immersed in cultures and representation that they had never seen before. The start of the movement focused on African Americans who were motivated by the newspapers because “articles about labor recruiters encouraging African Americans to head north for jobs in steel mills, coal mines, or packinghouses began to appear in the summer of 1916.” (pg. 45) Gregory addresses the hardships faced by both black and white southerners who move north and west and the variations in their struggles for success in the cities. Many times whites were able to find employment and dec...


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...st of the population.” (pg.241) The civil rights era marked a huge turning point for African American’s rights and political involvement because they were able to influence the country into making a change that otherwise would leave us with a very different America today.
This book makes up majority of my knowledge and understanding of urban history. Before reading this book I would have described Southerners moving North in this time as a solely black movement in order to escape their former selves in the South. I also would not have thought about the power that came with the spread of religion, baseball, and music for black and white cultures alike. Altogether “The Southern Diaspora” is a great foundation for future learning as Gregory brings together over 80 years of white and black migration and details how American culture was forever changed by the impact.

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