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."
and the 1919 Race Riot
Race Riot Map
SEGREGATED CHICAGO - a land of "missed
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.
- What type of social climate did some Black migrants receive in
- Did the Black migrants expect to find a segregated North?
- Was employment "plentiful" for African Americans as advertised by The
Chicago Defender? Who was in competition for the Chicago jobs?
- What action sparked the Chicago Race Riot of 1919? How long did
it last? Which ethnic groups were involved in the riot?
Promised Land - Unveiled
Fly Away - The
William Lowery speaks about the rivalry with Black