The Great Migration
From 1910 to 1970, more than 6 million southern blacks left their rural homes in search of an urban ‘Promised Land’ in the north. The largest migration in American history was caused by the ‘push’ of hardships prevalent in the South–such as segregation, lynching and the economic hopelessness of the sharecropping system–and the ‘pull’ of opportunity in the North. Plentiful industrial jobs, although sometimes menial, often offered wages three times higher than did jobs in the South. Glowing reports from friends and family already in the North inspired increased migration. While racism, housing shortages and crime often greeted the new arrivals, they also found organizations such as the National Urban League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dedicated to improving the lives of black Americans.