The Harlem Migration

800 Words4 Pages
Since 1865 when the United States abolished slavery with the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Black population of the US had become a fairly mobile group and gradually started to emigrate from the South to the North of the country. Later on, a rural economy crisis hit the South and World War I broke out in Europe causing a major labor shortage in the North. Consequently, the population shift began to increase leading to the so-called Great Migration in 1915. After World War I, the pace of the migration substantially increased, leading thousands of blacks to settle in many northern cities, such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland. However, the most popular destination was New York, precisely Harlem, which was to become…show more content…
Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. In that period, Washington was considered the voice of the black masses. His message was one of compromise between blacks and whites; he believed that the African American minority had to accept the social separation of the two races, if they wanted to persuade the whites to give them more economic opportunities. He also thought that blacks had to show whites how valuable they were and to this end their literature had to be filled only with great African American characters, not simple and truthful black peasants. In his 1901 autobiography, “Up from slavery”, he narrates his personal experiences and the obstacles he overcame in his life going from being a slave to the position of schoolmaster. To some, by explaining how he succeeded in getting an education and learning manners, Washington tried to convince African Americans to conform to the white world; to others, he did exactly what needed to be done: prioritize the necessity of self-help among African Americans. However, his approach was deeply criticized by one of his disciples, W.E.B. Du Bois. He believed that the most successful way to integrate into the white world was to count on a selected few, the “Talented Tenth”. A group of “highly educated black men” who would write about respectable black people in order to make the white world accept them. Therefore, art had to be
Open Document