The Great Migration

After the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, less than eight percent of the African American population lived in the North and Midwest. By the turn of the century, the North still only held approximately ten percent of this population, with the remaining ninety percent still residing in former slave-holding states.
The Great Migration, a term used to describe the immense movement of African Americans to the North, occurred primarily between 1914 and 1950. The reason was simple: to create a better life for themselves and their families by escaping the harsh conditions created by the after effects of the Civil War and the Jim Crow segregation laws, and finding better jobs. The North was a hope of a better, safer life.
Often times African Americans moved together with their families or other groups as opposed to individually. This created a diverse living environment in the North. Neighborhoods became predominantly Black or White. Many cities throughout the North and Midwest saw a great increase in their African American population. New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis were among the industrial cities with the largest influx. In 1927 the Great Mississippi Flood threatened hundreds of African American livelihoods that worked on farms, which forced even more families to migrate to the northern states. The North offered industrial work to support families and a hope of less discrimination.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Classic Food Traditions...

An African American tradition, chitterlings or “chitlins” are described by Denise Wooten as a “labor of love.” Chitlins are meticulously cleaned before being boiled, simmered, and served. Nearly 70 pounds of chitlins may be served for Christmas dinner with the preparation starting as early as October. "It's a horrible, sticky job." Usually cooked 10 pounds at a time, potatoes and other vegetables are boiled with the chitlins to dampen the smell.

Always in an iron skillet, fried chicken is a Sunday favorite and what Friday would be complete without fried catfish?