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Competition in the Promised LandBlack Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets$
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Leah Platt Boustan

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150871

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150871.001.0001

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Black Migration from the South in Historical Context

Black Migration from the South in Historical Context

(p.14) Chapter 1 Black Migration from the South in Historical Context
Competition in the Promised Land

Leah Platt Boustan

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains that the mobility of black southerners began increasing in the birth cohorts born immediately after the Civil War. Many of these moves took place within the South. Despite plentiful industrial jobs in the “thousand furnaces” of northern cities at the turn of the twentieth century, the potential wage benefits of settling in the North was dampened by the absence of a migrant network that southern blacks could use to secure employment upon arrival. Large flows of northward migration awaited a period of abnormally high economic returns, which arose during World War I. Circa 1915, northern factories supplying the war effort experienced a surge in labor demand, coupled with a temporary freeze in European immigration, which encouraged northern employers to turn to other sources of labor.

Keywords:   black migration, black southerner mobility, birth cohorts, Civil War, World War I, industrial jobs, southern blacks, employment, northern factories

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