The Great Migration



The Lynching South

The Call North

The Black Church

Goin' up Yonder

The Segregated North

Bronzeville is Born

Goin' Back Home

My Story



The exodus of African Americans resembled the exodus of the biblical children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.   There was a struggle whether to stay in familiarity or escape to the unknown.      Many African American migrants reached the Promised Land to only find covert racism and the unavailability of employment and housing as promised by the Chicago Defender and other counterparts.   They found a segregated Chicago.  They were introduced to tenement housing within the constraints of "The Black Belt.".  They involuntarily competed for survival with European immigrants. 

". . . but it was difficult for African-Americans to find employment outside the South. Northern industrialists were reluctant to hire blacks when they could draw upon a seemingly unending supply of European immigrants. Soon after the outset of World War I, however Northern employers turned their attention Southward as immigration ceased and production orders began pouring in from manufacturers eager to make profits from war production. " (

Tension between the Black migrants and the emigrants flourished as both groups sought employment to support their displaced families.  The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 was evident of the tension.  African Americans who escaped from the horrors of the South were frustrated to find the same injustices in other Northern cities.  Below are pictures of lynching's that occurred in Minnesota.


"On the afternoon of July 27, 1919, Eugene Williams, a black youth, drowned off the 29th Street beach. A stone throwing melee between blacks and whites on the beach prevented the boy from coming ashore safely. After clinging to a railroad tie for a lengthy period, he drowned when he no longer had the strength to hold on. This was the finding of the Cook County Coroner's Office after an inquest was held into the cause of death." (

WHITE Gangs and the 1919 Race Riot

Race Riot Map

SEGREGATED CHICAGO - a land of "missed opportunity"




Students will learn that segregation was evident in northern cities.

Students will learn to compare and contrast the atrocities of the South against the misperceptions of the North.



  1. What type of social climate did some Black migrants receive in Chicago?
  2. Did the Black migrants expect to find a segregated North?
  3. Was employment "plentiful" for African Americans as advertised by The Chicago Defender?  Who was in competition for the Chicago jobs?
  4. What action sparked the Chicago Race Riot of 1919?  How long did it last?  Which ethnic groups were involved in the riot?

Helpful Resources:

The Promised Land - Unveiled

Fly Away - The Great Migration

William Lowery speaks about the rivalry with Black migrants