Try a "google" search, A lot has been written. The following is a brief from Wikipedia.
The Great Migration was the movement of millions of African Americans out of the rural Southern United States from 1914 to 1950. Most moved to large industrial cities, such as New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; and Los Angeles, California, as well as to many smaller industrial cities.
3 Second migration
The blacks moved as individuals or small groups. There was no government assistance. They migrated because of a variety of push and pull factors:
Many African-Americans wanted to avoid the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South and sought refuge in the supposed "Promise Land" of the North where there was thought to be less segregation and discrimination;
A Boll Weevil infestation of the cotton fields of the South in the late 1910s, forced many sharecroppers to search for employment opportunities elsewhere;
The enormous growth of war industries created new job openings for Blacks—not in the factories but in the service jobs that new factory workers vacated;
World War I effectively put a halt to the flow of European immigrants to the emerging industrial centers Northeast and Midwest, causing shortages of workers in the factories;
Anti-immigration legislation after the war similarly resulted in a shortage of workers;
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and its aftermath displaced hundreds of thousands of African-American farm workers;
After 1940, as the U.S. rearmed for World War II (see Homefront-United States-World War II), industrial production in the Northeast, Midwest and West increased rapidly.
The postwar economic boom offered additional opportunities for black workers in northern cities.
The scope of the mass migration is best seen in Detroit. In 1910, the African American population of Detroit was just 6,000, but this jumped to 120,000 by the time of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Other cities, such as Chicago and New York City also experienced enormous surges in their African American population.
Although there was opposition to the movement of African Americans into cities that were predominantly Caucasian (for example, the riots in East Saint Louis, Illinois in 1917 and in Detroit in 1943), the Great Migration provided unprecedented economic and educational opportunities for African Americans. Adults were earning higher wages while their children were presented with better educational opportunities. Furthermore, because of war needs and the rising population of African Americans in the industrial centers, in 1943 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, which banned racial discrimination in the workplace in all industries involved in the war effort and paved the way for the American civil rights movement.
For the first time in the United States, a significant urban African American population existed and cultural activity flourished, as exemplified by Harlem Renaissance. According to writer Alain Locke, the United States was seeing the birth of the "new Negro."
The Great Migration changed race relations in the South, as a leading Black historian explains: [Scott pp 87-94]
Throughout the South there was not only a change in policy as to the method of stopping the migration of the blacks to the North, but a change in the economic policy of the South. Southern business men and planters soon found out that it was impossible to treat the Negro as a serf and began to deal with him as an actual employee entitled to his share of the returns from his labor.... There was, too, a decided change in the attitude of the whole race toward the blacks.... Instead of expressing their indignation at such efforts on the part of the Negroes, the whites listened to them attentively.... White men, for the first time, were talking on the streets with Negroes just as white men talk with each other. The merchants gave their Negro patrons more attention and consideration.... The suspension of harsh treatment was so marked in some places that few negroes neglected to mention it.... The tendency to maltreat the Negroes without cause, the custom of arresting them for petty offenses and the institution of lynching have all been somewhat checked by this change in the attitude of the southern white man towards the Negro.
In the last two decades of the 20th century, a new movement of African Americans within the United States began, and has reached sufficient magnitude to be termed by some as a second Great Migration. Since the early 1980s, large numbers of African Americans have been moving from other parts of the country to large cities in the South, the reverse of the original. These migrants are typically the descendants of those who had left the South in the original Great Migration.
As in the first Great Migration, this movement has been motivated by economic opportunities, this time in booming Southern cities. The primary magnet for the new migrants has been Atlanta, Georgia, although almost all Southern cities have seen a large influx of native-born African Americans. This movement has been heavily driven by the best-educated African Americans. In 2005, most of the African American population fled New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Many moved to cities such as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, while others scattered over the nation.
Arnesen, Eric. Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents (2002).
Grossman, James R. Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration (1991).
Lemann, Nicholas. The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (1992), on the 1940-60 migration.
Scott, Emmett J., Negro Migration during the War (1920).
Sernett, Milton. Bound for the Promised Land: African American Religion and the Great Migration (1997).
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Categories: African-American history | Demographic history of the United States | Great migrations | History of the Midwestern United States