Black Boy: The Historical Effects of Migration

Created By: Meghan M. Gabor

SUNY Fredonia


      The history of African Americans begins even before the birth of the United States.  Since this time, African Americans have endured many arduous struggles such as slavery, white oppression, and civil rights.  It is no coincidence then that a majority of these themes are present within Black literature and art.  One dominant theme within this literature has been that of migration, including the external migration from Africa to America, and internally from the south to north.    Following the end of World War I in 1919, almost half a million black Americans migrated from the rural south to industrial cities in search of not only jobs, but also an escape from racial prejudice.  This movement marks the begining of what has been become known as "The Great Migration. "  To develop a deeper understanding  about African American migration, one only has to read such books as Richard  Wright’s Black Boy to understand the cultural and historical  significance of the movement.  This autobiography presents one man’s  unique experience during the Great Migration.  One can attain a thorough  understanding of the African American journey from the years 1890 through 1940 by looking at: how, and to what ends Wright uses the theme of migration, how Wright's migration experience relates with similar patterns in history and other literature, and also how each of these authors' justify their actions and accomplish their desired goals.

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