HARLEM RENAISSANCE: The Great Migration and Life in the Inner Cities
THE GREAT MIGRATION BY CLARENCE ROWEClarence Rowe, “The GreatMigration,” Teaching & LearningCleveland , accessed October 17, 2012,http://csudigitalhumanities.org/exhibits
“Fellow Negroes of the South, leaveLetter to the Editor: there. Go North, East, and West—anywhere— to get out of that hell hole. There are betterThe Messenger, March 1920 schools here for your children, higher wages for yourselves, votes if you are twenty-one, betterBlack publications continued to housing and more liberty. All is not rosy here,encourage migration afterWWI, as is evident in this 1920 by any means, but it is Paradise compared witheditorial from the Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi andMessenger, which link s Migration Alabama. Besides, you make it better for thoseto better opportunities fro both you leave behind. Labor becomes scarce, somigrants and those who stay in that the Bourbons of Dixie* are compelled tothe South. It also hints at pay your brothers back home more wages.hardships in the North. Such They will give them more schools andhardships may have been privileges, too, to try to get them to come backresponsible for the resurrection of and, secondly, to try to keep you from leaving.emigration movements in the1920s– most famously, Marcus Stop buying property in the South, to beGarvey’s Back to African burned down and run away from over night.campaign- as new migrants Sell out your stuff quietly, saying nothing to thediscovered that the South did not Negro lackeys, and leave! Come into the land ofhold a monopoly on racism and at least incipient civilization!”economic hardship.
“FellowNegroes of the The relocation of more than 6 South, leave there. Go million African Americans from theNorth, East, an d West— rural South to the cities of theanywhere—to North, Midwest and West fromget out of that hell hole.” 1916 to 1970, had a huge impact on urban life in the United States.
“The South” by Langston HughesThe lazy, laughing SouthWith blood on its mouth.The sunny-faced South, Beast-strong, Idiot-brained.The child-minded SouthScratching in the dead fires ashesFor a Negros bones. Cotton and the moon, Warmth, earth, warmth, The sky, the sun, the stars, The magnolia-scented South.Beautiful, like a woman,Seductive as a dark-eyed whore, Passionate, cruel, Honey-lipped, syphilitic-- That is the South.And I, who am black, would love herBut she spits in my face.And I, who am black,Would give her many rare giftsBut she turns her back upon me. So now I seek the North-- The cold-faced North, For she, they say, Is a kinder mistress,And in her house my childrenMay escape the spell of the South.
Great Migration During the Great Migration, African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting economic, political and social challenges and creating a new black urban culture that would exert enormous influence in the decades to come.“Armistice Day, Lenox Ave. 4 west 134th street, Harlem 1919”
The “New Negro”• African Americans were encouraged to celebrate their heritage and to become "The New Negro," a term coined in 1925 by sociologist and critic Alain LeRoy Locke in his influential book of the same name.• "For the younger generation," Alain Locke wrote in 1925, "is vibrant with a new psychology." This new spirit he described as basically a renewal of "self-respect and self-dependence."
• African Americans were encouraged toAlain Locke’s “New Negro” celebrate their heritage and to become Movement "The New Negro," a term coined in 1925 by sociologist and critic Alain LeRoy Locke in his influential book of the same name. • "For the younger generation," Alain Locke wrote in 1925, "is vibrant with a new psychology." This new spirit he described as basically a renewal of "self-respect and self-dependence.“ • This movement promoted a renewed sense of racial pride, cultural self- expression, economic independence, and progressive politics.
I, too, Sing America by Langston HughesI, too, sing America.I am the darker brother.They send me to eat in the kitchenWhen company comes,But I laugh,And eat well,And grow strong.Tomorrow, Ill be at the tableWhen company comes.Nobodyll dareSay to me,"Eat in the kitchen,"Then.Besides,Theyll see how beautiful I amAnd be ashamed—I, too, am America.
Living Spaces in the CitiesChicago, New York and other cities saw their black populations expandexponentially, migrants were forced to deal with poor working conditions andcompetition for living space, as well as widespread racism and prejudice.
The rent man knocked.He said, Howdy-do?I said, WhatCan I do for you?He said, You knowYour rent is due.I said, Listen,Before Id payId go to HadesAnd rot away!The sink is broke,The water dont run,And you aint done a thingYou promised tove done.Back windows cracked,Kitchen floor squeaks,Theres rats in the cellar,And the attic leaks.He said, Madam,Its not up to me.Im just the agent,Dont you see?I said, Naturally,You pass the buck.If its money you wantYoure out of luck.He said, Madam,I aint pleased!I said, Neither am I.So we agrees!
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?