The economic, political and social reasons
behind the Great Migration
I am fed up
With Jim Crow laws,
People who are cruel
Who lynch and run,
Who are scared of me
And me of them.
I pick up my life
And take it away
On a one-way ticket--
Gone up North,
Gone out West,
Economic Reasons for the Great Migration of 1910
- 1913 - 1915: black and white farmers suffered
from an agricultural depression. Prices for agricultural products
dropped. Small farms made little to no profit during these two
- Disastrous floods and the spread of the boll
weevil created further economic misery in the rural
- Exclusion from job opportunities.
- Out of desperation, many black independent
farmers took jobs as tenent farmers or sharecroppers for
established white landowners.
- Black farm families became increasingly poor
and unable to make ends meet.
Political Reasons for the Great Migration of
1910 - 1920
Although black men had gained the right to vote in 1867, southern
states used a number of methods to keep blacks from voting and
having political power.
- Literacy test: some states passed laws
requiring that all voters must pass a literacy test--having a voter
read and explain a passage--before they would be allowed to vote.
Many blacks were illiterate, never having been given an
- A poll tax: required citizens to pay
money to vote. Since most blacks were poor, they could not afford
- A grandfather clause: many southern
states added a grandfather clause to their state constitutions,
which declared that persons who could vote on or before January 1,
l867, or whose father or grandfather could vote, did not have to
take a literacy test or pay a poll tax in order to vote. Without
this clause, many whites would not have been able to vote. With the
clause in place, only blacks were excluded from voting.
Social Reasons for the Great Migration of 1910 -
Blacks were robbed of their dignity and treated as socially
inferior to whites through the passage of Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow
laws discriminated against blacks and kept them apart from the
- Schools, railroad cars, hotels, restaurants,
and other public places--even hospitals--were
- The schools and hospitals established only for
blacks were not equal in quality to those used by
In addition to discrimination and segregation, blacks faced
hostility and violence from some whites.
- Between 1900 and 1914, over 1,000 black people
were murdered by white mobs in the U.S.
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