Black History Month 2019: Black Migrations


Click for bid opportunitiesBy Cyril Josh Barker, New York Amsterdam News

Editor’s note: New York Amsterdam News is the one of the oldest and most influential black newspapers in the United States. We are reprinting this article from the January 31, 2019, online edition. Please visit to view the many historical photos attached to the article, and to read other news of interest.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History announced the theme for Black History Month 2019 is Black Migrations, focusing on the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities.
African Americans travelingThe theme highlights migration of blacks in all forms from the early decades of the twentieth century when African American migration patterns included relocation from farms to cities. Blacks also moved from the South to the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Focus is also on immigrants from the Caribbean to American cities as well as to migrant labor farms and the emigration of noted African Americans to Africa and to European cities, such as Paris and London, after the end of World War I and World War II.
ASALH officials stated, “Black Migrations equally lends itself to the exploration of the century’s later decades from spatial and social perspectives, with attention to ‘new’ African Americans because of the burgeoning African and Caribbean population in the US; northern African Americans’ return to the South; racial suburbanization; inner-city hyperghettoization; health and environment; civil rights and protest activism; electoral politics; mass incarceration; and dynamic cultural production.”
One of the most prominent examples of black movement is the Great Migration that occurred between 1916 and 1970 in which six million African Americans moved out of the rural southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West. Escaping racial inequality and searching for better opportunity, blacks took their traditions from states such as Mississippi and South Carolina and migrated to northern cities such as New York, Detroit, and Chicago. Specific highlights for this year’s theme include the emergence of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City as a result of black migration, the black urbanization of American cities, and the impact black migration has had on American art and culture.

ASALH was founded in 1915 by Woodson. Under his leadership, the organization presented the first African American History Celebration in 1926. The organization focuses on a specific theme each year.

Other Black History Month Articles

The above and other articles, along with historical photos, can be found here in the New York Amsterdam News digital special section on Black History Month. Featured topics include the Harlem Renaissance, written by Autodidact 17; the Addisleigh Park neighborhood, written by Emile Milne; black migration to California, written by Harry C. Alford; the Great Migration and the black press, written by Erick Johnson; Colorado pioneer Clara Brown, written by Herb Boyd; and Underground Railroad conductor William Lambert, written by Herb Boyd.

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