Question 1. Describe the tensions – between blacks and whites and between newer and more established northern blacks as brought about by the great migration. What challenges did the newcomers face, and how did they seek to address those challenges?
The black exodus from the southern states was primarily meant to better the lives of African Americans just like their white counterparts. The southern part was engraved by poverty, repression, daily social violence, and menacingly cotton-eating beetles; the main troubles that made blacks desperate to leave for greener states of the North. In the North, they would have better paying jobs and get a chance to educate children. However, immigrants would face hostility from both whites and their fellow blacks that had already established themselves in the North. These tensions adversely affected social relationships between the black and white races and would even cost lives of people during inter-racial attacks and fights.
Over-housing emerged to be one of the biggest controversies associated with the great migration. So many blacks moved to the north making most of the districts to be overcrowded hence causing tension between whites and blacks. High population would come along with other social problems such as inferior sewage control, inadequate lighting and police protection giving way for criminality. This caused whites to put a boundary “Black Belt” with violence i.e. attacks and “race bombings” and other obstacles. Consequently, there was outright segregation of blacks and this was enhanced by the long-standing custom of discriminating the black community.Another bone of contention between blacks and whites was job opportunities. One instance that sparked racial violence was the firing of white workers working for Aluminum Ore Company after a prolonged strike and replacing them with 470 black workers in 1917. The white race was raged with fury leading to several weeks of mayhem. The aftermath of the violence was homeless black families, damage of property and loss of lives in both the black and white races.
Black versus black hostility was also eminent during the great migration. Religion, however, was the major platform that gave room for tension in the black community. Here, black natives and newcomers did not concur on the style of worship. The newcomers always felt out of place especially regarding the language barrier. This would later result to the newcomers initiating their own churches that fitted their style of worship. Social class also divided the blacks since the newcomers were poorer compared to most of the black natives who were mainly middle class. Another issue of contention, however, was union membership whereby only the natives had joined and the newcomers snubbed for feeling they were not welcomed by the American Federation of Labor.
Question 2. How did World War 1 bring about social change for both African Americans who fought in the war and those who remained at home?
The World War I happened during the first years of the great migration (1914-1918) hence it ought to affect the social and economic lives of the migrants. Most African American men went out to fight in the war although some remained back to look after the families considering the hostile climate lurking during the warring period. Events during the war evidently show that the fighting catalyzed the social and economic change of the peoples especially due the fact that everyone was desperate for a better life and safer place within the country.
The blacks “therefore” went north in numbers to take up jobs in war industries impacting the social composition of the areas. The black exodus to the north happened in form of a chain whereby a few or one family member will go, make a life and come back to take the rest along with them. This caused a backlash from the white race bigtime; the whites saw that the blacks were outdoing and outnumbering them gradually. Therefore, those who did not go to war would face regular riots with the whites whereby deaths would be the backwash. Yet still, social changes were rapid to most of those who decided to move north; children access to education, better paying jobs; as high as $5 a day compared to south which was as low as $0.75, and religion through new Negro churches.
The men who went to participate in the war did not come back to find a better place either; there was still high tension and racial segregation. After the war and return of the fighters, there was a lot of competition for goods and services almost everywhere. Scarce housing would not accommodate everyone, competition for small number of jobs, and a hostile political atmosphere. The social problems brought about the world war would trigger riots that caused a national crisis. For instance the famous red summer of 1919 saw the authorities carry out campaigns and arrests to stop radicalism and communism.
Question 3. Consider the various intellectual, political, social, and cultural developments that accompanied the rise of a New Negro. What did the efforts of the black social scientists, scholars, artists, writers, and activists who pioneered this movement have in common? What were their goals?
Racial discrimination was a rampant societal ill in the country and it would be more evident as from the beginning of the great migration and after the World War 1. The blacks would face prejudice up to the current world if it were not for the work of the various scientists, artists, writers and activists who initiated various programs and movements to curb the matter. These important ensured that an African American would achieve at least the same level of fairness with the white community. Their efforts would, however, bear fruits due to speedy social and economic development of the New Negro; Access to education, relatively better paying employment, and ability to join labor unions, and get housing indiscriminately.
Signs of social equality were seen after a few years of great migration thanks to campaigns on The Messenger by Owen and Randolph. A commission on Race Relations in Chicago chaired by T. Arnold Hill would analyze the volatile situation of race riots towards enhancing calm co-existence between black and white people. Johnson’s Urban League did great campaigns towards fairness in employment opportunities. A big number of businesses did not want to hire blacks but the Urban League took measures such as campaigning for boycotting those businesses until they hired blacks. Soon African Americans would get employed in those businesses; a boost to curb racial injustices. Housing issue that had increased tension between blacks would later be alleviated through the work of NAACP after it used courts to eliminate housing discrimination.
However, scholarly works by various writers such as Franklin Frazier; The Negro in Chicago, Charles Johnson; Shadow of the Plantation and Growing up in the Black Belt, Du Bois; Black Reconstruction, and Carter G. Woodson; Journal of Negro History and The Negro in Our History. It is pretty clear that all these great writers and other activists were all geared towards achieving one and same goal; ending racial injustices of discrimination and segregation. With these people, America’s long-standing custom of racial discrimination has faded over the years up to the current world where there is democracy and equality.
Question 4. How did the black politicians, activists, wageworkers, authors, and artists seek to address the specific problems that the depression and the new deal posed for African Americans? What were the results of their efforts?
The great depression hit the entire country really hard causing an economic crisis and consequently social crises. During this time, White Americans had prospered compared to African Americans, and the depression made it more difficult for them. The blacks who had remained in the south also felt the pinch really hard since there cotton product would not get to market due to the depression which had gone global. It would, however, be a double trouble for the black community due to increased rates of unemployment i.e. blacks would be the one first to be hired and fired. Engraved in poverty life plus the impact of the depression, life was a mess. However, black leaders as politicians and other activists came forefront to lessen the burden on the black community since initiatives from the federal government apparently benefited the whites.
Mary McLeod Bethune and other black leaders in the civil service at the time made effort to ensure that black youths had the opportunity to get vocational training and jobs. This was directed towards alleviating high unemployment levels engraving the black people. Politics would take a new twist as the number of blacks increased in number creating a significant vote that could not be ignored. Soon, Africans would have representatives in the civil services and federal government increasing gradually since they had significantly impacting voting blocs.
Religious churches also extended their hand to help blacks succumbing to effects of depression by giving food and campaigns that enhanced black involvement in businesses and investments. Another activist was Philip Randolph who always advocated interracial unionism. Philip Randolph wanted social equity and above all equal treatment of workers regardless of race. However, a small following and rank he had made it a drawback as he could not have a bigtime impact. Efforts by most of the parties especially politicians bore fruits though after a long period though all these groups faced various challenges such lack of massive following and also a snub from the federal administration almost entirely comprising the white race