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tv   100 Years of African American Migrations  CSPAN  November 28, 2019 10:00am-11:50am EST

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next, on american history tv, a discussion on african-american migration over the past century. panelists analyze the reasons black people have migrated and created their own communities across the u.s. this took place at the association for the study of manner life and history annual conference. >> good evening, everyone. >> good evening. >> all right. i think we got our technical difficulties are finished. and i'd like to welcome you all to the opening. i'd like to welcome you all to the opening 104th meeting and convention of the association. my name is lionel kimble. i'm the vice president of programs here for asala and it is my honor to bring together -- it is my honor to convene this
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plannerry. i think when we were planning the conference, we always like to bring our heavy hitters out. and i think today is one of those occasions in which we have a collection of fine scholars and activists here to address our theme. so what we decided to do is run the plannerry more as a roundtable, as a moderated conversation about issue with the great migration. and i wanted to introduce our panelists and give them an opportunity to speak for a few minutes as far as their own work and their perceptions and ideas about the great migration and then move on into a question and answer followed by a discussion with us and followed by a question answer session with the audience. so i want to introduce our panelists. our first pannestist is joe
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trotter who is a giant eagle professor of history in social justice and past history department chair at cornegy university in pittsburgh. he is also the director and founder of the cornegy center for african-american urban studies in economy. he's currently working on a study of african-american urban since the atlantic slave trade. he's served on the boards and committees of numerous professional organizations such as the organization of american historians and past president of the labor and work class history association, an organization which is near and dear to me as one of my dissertations adviser and one of the founders of it. all right. our next panel list is farah jasmin griffin. she is in the studies department in the william b. ransed for professor of english and comparative literature and african-american studies at columbia university.
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whew. you want to stand? they want to see you. there you go. all right. griffin is of course the author of who set you flowing in african-american migration narrative, beloved sisters and loving friends, letters from rebecca prem miss of royal oaks in maryland and adi brown of hartford, connecticut, 1864 to 1868. her current research is called harlem narrative, women ar tifl artists and politics during world war ii. we next have crystal sanders. she works at penn state university. she's the author of numerous articles and essays who have appeared in a number of outlets such as the journal of southern history. her first book, a chance for change, as started in the black struggles received several awards and was a finalist for the beckman hooks national book
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awards. we also have a dear friend of mine, maurice hobson who san associate professor of african-american studies at georgia state university. his research interests are grounded in the fields of african-american history, 20th century history, comparative labor, african-american studies, urban and rule history, political economy and the like. he's the author of the award-winning book the legends of the black mecca, politics and class and the making of modern atlanta, which is published by university of north carolina press. next we have my dearest friend, my chicago sister, me mean sengstacke-rice. she is founder of the robert sengstacke foundation which happens to run right outside my front door. sthe is also the founder and publisher of brownsville life, a lifestyle publication inspired by the historic arts culture, news and politics in the rich
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historical community of chicagoland. myiti brits myiti brings a special area of expertise because she comes from a famous family who includes the photographer bobby sengstacke. and so without any further ado, i'd like to present -- i want to give the panelists some opening remarks, about ten minutes or so, and then we can move into the -- our conversation. you don't have to. if you like. okay. >> good evening. can you hear me okay? okay. i want to be say thanks for that introduction. this is an exciting moment for me, especially since i'm the senior most horn up here. i'm really getting a great shot in the arm from my young cloo s
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colleagues and the work that they are doing. in some ways when i thought about what i was saying in my opening remakers grks i got exc about where the field is going in the future and where it's been in the past, that i neglected to some of the more personal discussions about how i personally got into the field. but hopefully the question and answer period will give us a chance. so, please, bear with me as i say a few words about this field. indeed, it is a privilege to join this panel on the african-american migration experience. we're not only celebrating a century of african-american migration history in north america, we are celebrating a century of research on the subject. during the early 20th century, they established the intellectual foundation for black migration studies as a
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scholarly field. they carefully documented black migration to rural, small town, and urban america as significant historical phenomena. they also challenged the prevailing racist portrait of black migrants as, quote, shiftless, lazy, and unstable in work and in residence. on the contrary, these founding fathers, so to speak, of black high aggregation studies declared, and i quote, these my grain migrants are not lazy, they are not schiffless, they are not unstable. in no uncertain terms, the founders of black migration studies enlisted their scholarship in the fight against white supremacy both national and transnational. in the years following world war ii, however, a series of urban
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community studies opened a new chapter in black migration research. historian osake and others documented the role of black migration and the rise of racially segregated communities across the urban northeast and midwest. in their view, the great migration nationalized america's race problem. it underscored the need for a nationwide, not just a regional, southern or regional civil rights and social justice movement. it required a nationwide battle to dismantle jim crowe north and south. nonetheless, by the early 1980s, despite nearly 75 years of creative scholarship, our understanding of african-american migration remained incomplete.
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numerous blind spots, gaps, and misconceptions undermined our comprehension of the black migration in historical perspective. few studies considered the impact of black population movements on working class formation. women, gender, intellectual and cultural issues. nonetheless, a large body of historical scholarship transformed the picture of black migration during the closing decades of the 20th century and the opening years of the new millennium. the new scholarship was not limited to historians, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, journalists, and literary and cultural scholars all made distinct contribution to this literature.
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this scholarship made fundamental, conceptual, as well as empirical contribution to knowledge. it accented the complicated intersections of race, class, sexuality were gender, and power relations in the development of african-american migration history. previous generations focus almost exclusively on the heyday of the great migration during the early to mid 20th century. but recent studies at our disposal today not only explore the unfolding post great migration years, but also reach back deep into the 19th, 18th, and 17th centuries in black migration history. but that is not all. current studies cover a broad range of region, things, and
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topical areas. recent topics include most notably the cost of estate, the environment, black childhood and youth, male and female, and deepening layers of african-american political, cultural, intellectual, and community life. at the same time, this scholarship engages a series of burning debates about the origins, causes, and consequences of black migration not only for black people, but also for the nation, its culture and its democratic institutions. in short, we have a century of innovative black migration research at our disposal. indeed, given the richness and diversity of this scholarship, some young scholars just might
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feel that the odyssey is no longer there, so to speak, in migration research. but on the contrary. i believe that the recent outpouring of scholarship brings us to a great crossroads in african-american migration studies. the time seems ripe to set an agenda for the next generation of research. but as we set this agenda, as young people identify and launch fresh new projects on the subject, as they go about this next wave of scholarship, it is my hope as a senior scholar that we would take full advantage of the current moment to craft a variety of new sin that sises. in any case, i'm looking forward
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to a lively discussion about agenda setting for the next generation of african-american migration studies. thank you. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon. >> the great migration continues to be of interest to scholars, students, and also to general readers. and i have to admit that i am always surprised when press and general readers respond to new works about the great migration. it is as if this phenomena gets discovered or rediscovered every ten or 20 years. on npr radio programs and book reviews, popular works, most often popular works, sometimes
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scholarly works, are greeted with a great sense of wonder and astonishment? why didn't i know about this the hosts usually say. it is as if we live in a parallel universe. writers and scholars continue to find the topic to be a rich one, the central importance to understanding black history and american cities. but nonacademic readers and critics seem entirely unfamiliar with the great migration even though it is so shaped contemporary american politics and culture. so shaped the worlds in which they live. the same expressions of surprise that greeted nicholas lehman's the promised land, returned for the warmth of other sons in 2010. in this past spring when the gifted soprano singer and her
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husband composer jason her ran presented two wings, the music of black america at cornegy hall, and in germany, they inspired the same kind of reaction. and a headline in the atlantic read, how art can double as historical corrective. but the couple were the first to say that their incredible production benefited greatly from the rich body of work produced by scholars and creative writers. black artists have been writing migration narratives, singing migration songs, plaining migration series since 1902 when paul lawrence dunbar first published world of the gods and continued to do so as other writers have done just this
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decade. so after all these years, i'm still surprised by their surprise. but having said all of this, i do think that the stories of the migrations that have made black america indeed have made america continue to provide rich material for scholars and continue to expire extraordinary works of art, some of which i hope we get a chance to talk about, which reveal new dimensions of a story that some of us, many of us in this room, but certainly not all of us thought we already knew. thank you. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. >> good after zbloon thank ynoo >> thank you all for not counting it robbery to be with us. i'm glad to have the opportunity to share work from my
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forthcoming book project. i want to begin with a story. in 1949, paul jones, a 20-year-old african-american man, applied for admission to the university of alabama law school. the dean of admission rejected jones' application because the only publicly supported law school in alabama was for white students only. in an attempt to amile rate the situation, the dean encouraged jones to seek legal training outside of alabama with financial assistance from the state. in other words, the state of alabama offered to pay jones to study law anywhere else but in alabama as a way to preserve segregation. jones, however, gave up his dream of studying law because he had no desire to leave the only home and community he had ever known. thousands of other black southerners, however, did use state funds to leave home in
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search of the educations that their home states denied them locally on account of their race. these students' migration stories are hidden in the shadows of the scholarship of the great migration that involved over 6 million african americans in the first three quarters of the 20th century. both migrations, the great one and the lesser known educational one, stemmed from african americans' desires for a better life and the inability to build one in the land of their birth. they both altered black life in america cities north and south. many scholars black education had written about african americans quest for elementary, secondary, and backa laureate education. but black efforts to secure graduate and professional training have been largely overlooked. as late as 1940, only nine black institutions in the south
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offered the masters degree and no black institution conferred the dr. of philosophy degree. rather than provide african americans with the same in-state opportunities for study at public institution thas that we provided to white citizens, they appropriated tax dollars to send black students out of state for graduate training. missouri began these segregation scholarships in 1921. he by 1948, 16 other states had followed suit. usually these jim crowe scholarships cover the differential between the cost of pursuing a course of study at the state's white institutions and the cost of pursuing that same program of study out of state. some states also pay travel expenses. most of these states continued their segregation scholarship
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programs until the 1950s and 1960s der ni 1960s defying the 1938 united states supreme court decision in gaines v. canada in which the court decreed that states had a responsibility to offer white and black citizens in-state education. all too often when i tell people about this project, they say, well, it wasn't that bad since the scholarship recipients studied at some of the best institutions in the country, including harvard, the university of wisconsin, the university of chicago, and columbia university. such a view, i argue, overlooks the emotional and psychological costs of being forced to leave the only land one knew to obtain an education. traveling to or from the jim crowe south was often an experience in public humiliation for black passengers as bus drivers, train conductors, and white passengers degraded
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african americans. along some routes, bathroom facilities did not exist for black travelers who were then forced to relief themselves on the side of the road. moreover, northern institution disease not roll out the proverbial welcome mat for black southerners. as so many in this room have pointed out, historical narratives of the great migration have tended to obscure the entrenched realities of northern racism. those who received out-of-state tuition assistance, routinely faced racial discrimination and social os trasism while studying abroad. at columbia university, black students were not allowed to go to the campus barber shops. at the university of kansas black students were barred from participating in athletics. the rotc, the debate team, the
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campus choir, and the student council. when many of these students at the university of kansas challenged the president, he essentially said, we're letting you in, you're not even kansas citizens so you should be happy that you're here. those who made the best of a bad situation and relocated out of state had to learn the rules of traveling while black to avoid ho hugh humiliation. a black man from winston-salem, north carolina, attended medical school at the university of michigan with the segregation scholarship from the tar heel state. dr. eaton -- i was going to show you a picture of him on the screen but technical difficulties are preventing me from doing that. but i should tell you that dr. eaton recalled making 25 round-trip trips between winston-salem and ann arbor while he was in medical school and he often talked about having to move to the back of the bus when the bus entered the state of virginia. one of the other things many of these scholarship recipients talked about was the financial
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hardship that endured. durham resident charles ray attended the university of southern california for a ph.d in english language and literature. after completing his coursework, ray relocated back to north carolina and only traveled to california when necessary. he traveled to california for a few days in may of 1952 to defend his dissertation before returning home. once back in north carolina, he learned that the university of southern california required candidates for the ph.d degree to appear in person to receive their diplomas. this meant that ray needed to travel to california again, but the stipulations of north carolina's segregation scholarship program only provided recipients with one round-trip fare per academic year. north carolina denied ray's request for assistance to attend
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his mandatory commencement. somehow he came up with the necessary funds and he became the first african american to receive a doctorate in english from usc. he later joined the faculty at north carolina college for negroes where he remained for the next quarter of a century. there are many rich educational migration stories like this one. if i had the time i would tell you more about fred gray, the state of alabama paid for fred gray to go to case western law school in 1951. he receives his law degree in 1954, he becomes a household name one year later he's represents rosa parks in court after she gives up her seat on a montgomery city bus. for the sake of time, i want to close by impression upon all of you why these stories are important, right? why we can't afford to forget them. for one thing, lawmakers decisions to send black graduate student out of state rather than desegregate their flagship institutions or create graduate
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opportunities at public black colleges limited the curricular offerings of black institutions and hindered those schools' ability to achieve regional and national accreditation. crucial funds that were needed for laboratories, libraries, and faculty, the markings of graduate education, were denied black colleges for decades. additionally, these educational migration stories showed the beginning of a long trajectory of the use of public dollars to support segregation. segregation and education, i should say. sharing this history of segregation scholarships complicates the idea that massive resistance to school desegregation first erupted in the wake of the 1954 brown decision. we all know that after brown virginia prince ever receipt county virginia close its schools. they allow officials in that county to use public dollars to fund for white students
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scholarships. and normally they point to this as the beginning of massive resistance or the use of public funds for private education. but we need to look literally decades earlier in the 1920s when virginia and other states used dollars to preserve segregation. now, in this earlier instance, african americans are the beneficiaries. but the aim is the same, to preserve segregation in public education. and i'll close by just saying we really should think about these educational, you know, migration stories to preserve seg ga greg just as evil as violence. like lynching and disenfrays franchisement, we can easily point to segregation as governors or law enforcement officials turning hoses on black children and we can label these actions as racist without difficulty. we must, however, not forget the
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polite forms of racism that were maintained by bureaucracy and designed to preserve the status quo of white superiority and black infear yort. i'll stop there because of time. thank you. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. it's a pleasure to be here this afternoon and thank you to lionel kemab lionel kimble for thin vatation. currently, there are several debates that are centered on the hist historrygraphy. i'd like to offer you something that i've called the black new south. the black new south is a school
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of thought that focuses on the experiences of black people in a post 1965 south challenging trends often overlooked by scholars. it attempts to provide a holistic perspective on the national and international implications of the regions' history, culture, education, politics, health, disparities, religion, and business. a major component of the black new south deals with how civil rights legislation galvanized by white terror in birmingham and selma respectively politically changed the south. it also encounters black reverse migration and the globalization of black cities such as one is atlanta and the immigration to the city from the continent of africa and the rest of the black world which speaks to the larger conversation around the global south. what i'm arguing here is that
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the civil rights legislation coming out of alabama, particularly the civil rights act of 1964, which buttresses the 14th amendment and grants equal protection and due process under the law, citizenship, and the voting rights act of 1965 that comes out of selma, alabama, which buttresses the 15th amendment and grants voting politically changes the american south. and this allows for us to understand 1965 as a watershed moment and how we understand black -- how we can measure black progress in terms of black political empowerment in intellectual politics. as such, the american south, after 1965, was ripe and emerged as a strong hold where the reverse migration could thrive. according to the u.s. census, alabama's black population yielded 27%. arkansas 15.5%. florida, 17%. georgia 31.5%. louisiana 32.5%.
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mississippi, 37.5%. north carolina, 22%. south carolina 28%. tennessee 17%. and texas, 12.5% along with virginia. virginia's black population of 20%. the 1968, it was reported that there was 1,469 black elected officials in the united states. as of 2011, it was reported that there are roughly 10,500, an increase of 700%. as a result of the black new south, growth over this period was especially impressive at the state level. in five southern states, georgia, louisiana, mississippi, south carolina, and texas, the total increase of black-elected officials between 1970 and 2015 was over ten fold.
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at the dawn of the 21st century, mississippi and alabama, states noted for racism and injustices, had more black elected officials at 1,628, than the entire nation had in the 1970s. whereas, in 1970, the ten states with the highest number of black-elected officials collectively have been 821. proving the impact of black political empowerment in electoral politics. i say this to say that as evidence of the black new south, the ten states with the largest number of black-elected officials at the dawning of the 21st century were mississippi, in this order, mississippi, alabama, louisiana, illinois, which is not southern but we'll talk about that a little bit later, georgia, south carolina, arkansas, north carolina, texas, and michigan. all but two of these are the
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result of civil rights act in 1964 and the voting rights act in 1965. and michigan and illinois are known as up south. so as a result of this, i want us to have a serious kind of conversation around this reverse migration. i'm going to give you all much of my research has been centered on the implications of the city and what it means to black people. most of atlanta's -- 1973, a young up-start lawyer decides to run for mayor of the city of atlanta. his name was main order in jackson jr. and he does so without necessarily kissing the rings of the black elite. this creates somewhat of a problem. but one of the things that jackson understood is he understood the american south's changing demographics. this was constant with the nationwide trend that affected
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the whole south. the reverse migration of blacks from the urban north, midwest, and west was leading to a black new south. black migration from the south to the north started after the civil war and heightened during world war i as floods as the bowl weevil devastated southern farming and industrialization in the north attracted black workers. the greatest migration of blacks from the south to the north occurred in the 1960s. by the 1970s, atlanta and other cities were increasingly regarded as a land of opportunity for blacks where entrepreneurship and political ambition flourished. according to the 1971 u.s. census, 108 blacks that had left other parts of the country to settle in the american south. in 1971, it was up from 97,000 -- it was up from 97,000 the previous year. you also have studies that show
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that between the years of 1970 and 1973 we have 247 blacks that moved to the south whereas you had one 66,000 black folk that moved out of the south at the same time. historically, black populations were concentrated in the american south and the exodus of millions of blacks known as the great migration from the 1860s to the 1960s where the majority of the black folks still remained in the american south connect those that migrated them to their remaining kin. by and large, most blacks returning to the south as a result of the black new south were professionals moving to larger urban areas in the south such as atlanta, nashville, memphis, and birmingham. for the most part, returning blacks did not pur seerceive th south as the land free of racial strife, crime, and other social ills. there are with two major factors
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that made the south newly attractive. there was a growing disenchantment -- well air disenchantment with the north's social ills. and second is blacks noticed that changes were taking place in the south social climate as civil rights legislation had knocked down rigid racial policies that marked racial subordination of the old south. by 1974, there were nearly 2,000 black elected officials across the south, including a number of black mayors. this shift in the political climate of the american south was a result of numerous variables of affirmative action, some don't like this, but richard nixon black catalyst agenda. i can unpack that a little bit later. however, the most important aspect of this was the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act in 1965. despite the south's remaining racial problems, such as de facto racial prejudices, a black new south city offered more in terms of private entrepreneurship and the possibility of equal government.
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the urban north had proven not to be the promisedla land hoped for by blacks seeking refuge from jim crowe. one of the things i want to take some time to really discuss right now is the role of historically bla historically black colleges in the america south. particularly the 105 historically black colleges, most of them located in the america south. for other reasons, the american south in general, and a place like atlanta in particular, had always had its share of colonel students from the north and west. many were the children of alumni, but after 1965, the number of northern-born black students rose steadily. many stayed in the city after finishing their college degree which added to black reverse migration -- to the black reverse migration movement. of these transplants, many found the comforting -- found it comforting that they were able to operate in black institutions, not only colleges, but other kinds of black-owned
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and affiliated ventures. also a city like atlanta was also the side of rapid industrial expansion that created jobs for the whole region and open employment opportunities of blacks. the rapid industrial expansion connotes the shift of economic and political importance of the midwest and northeast to the south and west. it emerged in the 1950s and '60s and was coined as the sunbelt boom. this fueled a temperate climate where retirees and others were able to participate in business such as agribusiness, light and heavy manufacturing, tourism, and technological companies. at this time i'm going to close this out because we're going to have an opportunity to discuss more of this in the q&a. thank you for your time. [ applause ] >> hello, everyone.
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and thank you, dr. kimble, for putting this together. and so my name is myiti sengstacke-rice. i'm very honored to be here, first of all, and compelled to continue the work of robert sengstacke abbot. so that's really what has charged me to do the work that i've been doing, the studies that i've been doing. but he was considered the pied piper of the great migration. he had -- he had gone to the world's columbian exposition in 1893 and was really inspired by wales and douglas. and through that, decided that he was going to come back to chicago after he finished his studies at hampton -- at the time it was called hampton institute, hbcu, and my alma mater as well. and so when he went down there -- and by the way, he was
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at the world's columbian exposition raising money for hampton as part of a quart at the time. back then, that's how they used to raise money for the hbcus. and so he came back to chicago in 1905 with fen pennies. he had a law education later in chicago, and then -- but he was told, oh, he's too black to be able to be a lawyer. so he just kept saying, i want to be a defend are er of my peo so his land lady gave him an opportunity to start his newspaper, the chicago defender in 1905. so in 1905, he started to go door to door getting news. and it's interesting because on the newspaper when you see the first newspaper, on one side it says good news. on the other side it said bad
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news. and so he would report on what was going on in the neighborhood. this is in 1905. but this really set the pace and he began -- he was at the right place and the right time. as time went on, by 1910, five years from then he was able to hire his first employee. so he did everything for five years. around 1917, it became apparent that there needed to be something done about all the ills in the south. actually before that. but by 1917, he basically decided that he was going to have what they call the great northern drive. and so he began to have these headlines that said, there's more jobs than there are known fill them, come up north and prosper. and so what he would do, because, you know, they had no way of communicating the way we do today.
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he worked something out with the pullman porters. the pullman porters would have to smuggle the papers on the trains and drop them off in various locations throughout the south. as they dropped them off in various locations throughout the south, somebody would pick them up. say tennessee on a side of a mountain, distribute them throughout the, you know, throughout the south, and back then someone would read from what they would call cover to cover. even the ads. and in there, there were things like you see people actually getting dressed up, being part of social clubs. and so people were getting inspired, they decided, you know what he? we want to come up north. so that wasn't just part of it, because there were what they call the pushes and pulls of the south. there were the -- of the great migration, i should say. so what pushed them out, of course we know was jim crowe. and what pulled them were the things that were happening in the north that what they called -- what they thought
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would be the promised land. of course, it wasn't easy by the time they got up there. but i will say this. it gave them opportunities. so when you came up there, instead of being richard wright the butler, you're richard wright the novelist. you could be zori the folklorist instead of the maid. it changed their whole life. so then what we have bronzeville, i'm going to talk about particularly because that's my -- i have an affinity for bronzeville, that's our neighborhood. but bronzeville was the area that everybody was kind of confined to when they came to chicago. and so we had a certain perimeter we couldn't go past. i know many of you scholars are familiar with the 1919 riot and all that happened there. part of that had to do with that confinement of us not being able to go out of certain boundaries. so now what was -- what was
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bronzeville was also considered the black metropolis or black hollywood. and so people came together and there were thriving businesses. they had no choice but to work together. the dollar went throughout the area a hundred times before it went out. so it was thriving. and that's how it was in many communities like that. so we were grateful for that. and so now what we see happening, because i'm seeing it in my own neighborhood, people are starting to say, i want to go back down south. so i'm just grateful for this conversation because i'm not -- i was one of those people. but, i'm staying there because i feel a responsibility to keep that vision going. we actually have a publication called bronzeville life where we talk about the arts, the culture, and the business in that community. thank you.
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[ applause ] >> so what i want to do now is i have a number of questions i want to present to our panelists just to try to expand on some of the topics and issues that we've discussed thus far. and i think that everyone up here has a particular intellectual and academic activist background, i think. but what binds us altogether is really the study of black movement. so i want to just try to engage in the conversation with the panelist first and then we'll take a while to open it up. i left my watch up stairs. i'm going to ask maurice to keep track of time for me, please i think he knows the schedule. so, for the first thing i want to do is really -- i think we all talked about the great migration in the classroom and i think one of the things that we really do is, with our students,
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is try to frame it. what does the migration mean? so this is largely a pretty standard question. but i want to pose to our panelist, giving your own intellectual, academic, and professional expertise, how would you -- how would we frame the great migration? what are some of the issues that think both our audience and people who are watching this should be aware of? >> in my talk, i talked about how the research on black migration has changed tremendously over the last two to three decades. and so much of that research reflects the way i think we should be thinking about the great migration. when i started out in this field, there was a lot of scholarships that talked about the great migration as if black people had nothing to do with it. you know, they were pushed and pulled by forces beyond their
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control. and almost no one talked about how black people organized their own movement through their families and kinship networks and the way that they strategized about who should go to the north first or the west first and who should follow. these people were very creative and they helped to shape the migration in ways that we hadn't started to understand until the late 20th century and early 21st century. and so i would say that one of the great starting points for us is to recognize that african americans were part of the process. that they were making decisions on their own and they were making d making do under which the conditions they operated. but they not only just made decisions to move, i think another thing that we have to do in framing the migration is to understand that they did not simply land in these northern cities and just stay there as
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workers. they turned their hand to creating something special in those cities. and i'm amazed at how they created a black metropolis. they created black communities. and the more i look at this research that we have at our disposal, the more we learn about how they built these communities in the north, but they had models of community building that they were bringing from the south. in southern cities across the late 19th, early 20th century before the great migration picked up steam, they had already started to build these what they call bbds, black business districts in the south. and so that when they hit chicago and they built a black metropolis, it was not such a puzzle if we understood where these people were coming from. they had already started to build barber shops and beauty shops and insurance companies. and so this notion of building a
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city which something that they were able to creatively carry forward and expand within these northern communities. so that's part of what i would say, it's just give credence, you know, to the very activist role that these migrants were playing. and there was some larger literature that gave some attention to the agency of black migrants, but the first wave of scholarship tended to take the migrants who had political figures in the south or the most educated. but then this new wave of scholarship that came later thought it's a show how much of a grassroots role that people played. and so that becomes an important way, i think, to frame this issue. but we also need to keep in mind that our scholarship on these migrants as agents only gradually brought into perspective women and gender
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dynamics in a way that should have been acknowledged earlier. we tended to talk about black men who went into the factories. the automobile plants, the meat packing plants. and for a while there we neglected that other large component of the black working class who were women working -- many of them were working in factories, but a huge proportion of them were working in household and personal service. but they were contributing to the building of these communities. and on a personal note, i can add this. my mother knew relatives in every part of the country, you know, it's astounding. but we had this kinship network. but as a high school student who wanted to go to college, had no resources and one day i decided i'm just going to go to the military. and so i just didn't go to school one day.
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and my mother took me out to -- i told her i want to go to the u.s. recruiting station. i want to join the u.s. air force. and i don't want to stay another day in this town called newcomers town, which was another way that expected me to a migration experience. but let me give you this anecdote. i had no intention of going to college until i went back to school that next day and i had a coach who met me almost in the hallway, in the doorway and said, you were not in class yesterday. and where were you? >> i said, well, i went to the u.s. air force recruiting station because i want to go into the military as soon as gradation hits. and it was closed. there was nobody there. they had closed for the day and i couldn't enroll. and day and i couldn't enroll. and then he gave me this worried look and said, you're going to the military? he said you caught to go to college if there's any possible
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chance that you can go. and so i told my mother the story when i got home. and she asked me, she said, do you really want to go to college? and i said, of course i'd like to go. and so she said -- she told me, you have an aunt who lives in a town with a big college. it's called evanston, illinois, northwestern used. she had no idea northwestern, even if i could work and go to school, i could hardly afford it. but she asked my aunt and i could live with her for a while and work my way through college. and indeed, i did. i moved there and my aunt, by the way, was a live-in domestic servant. and she literally helped me to get a footing in that town and to eventually graduate. i owe her a lot of credit for
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her to be able to transform my life. these stories should include all these dimensions of agengender, class, and all the other aspects. i think i'll end it there. [ applause ] >> i want to echo everything dr. trotter said. one of the things you mentioned, if we think of the types of institutions, black institutions that come out of the black migration. we think about johnson publishing company, it tells us it is imperative these migrants don't just go and do nothing. they don't sit on their laurels, but they're actively creating black institutions. when i teach the great migration at penn state, i am shocked by the number of students of all races who still subscribe to this idea of a bad south and a good north, right?
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and we know that these migrants, when they get to chicago, when they get to detroit, when they get to new york, they are encountering new forms of racial discrimination. they are still not able to live where they want to live. they're still not able to get the jobs they want to get. and their kids are still going to the worst schools in the cities. i teach the great migration to explain this is a national problem, right? it was a national problem 100 years ago, it's still a national problem today, and it's very dangerous if we make it a regional problem and say this only exists in the south. even as i'm working on this book on educational migration, i mean, the stories of these students, whether they're going to chicago, whether they're going to cambridge, massachusetts, or lawrence canceled, they are treated in ways similar to the ways african-americans are being treated in alabama, mississippi, and north carolina. so as we teach the great migration, we must teach it correctly and teach these students that the a promised land really didn't exist.
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there might have been more opportunities for african-americans in the north, but devils existed there too. [ applause ] >> talk into the mic. can you hear me? we've been talking about the great migration and he haven't discussed it from the perspective of communities that have been displaced. or a serious conversation around the rural to urban migration. it's not just south to north. and so one of the things that we must consider as we understand the ways in which black folk are migrating, is we have to consider urban renewal and gentrification, the displacement, the demonization, the disenfranchisement taking place, how black communities are building and rebuilding.
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this conversation can be centered in rural conversations in terms of the loss of black land ownership. we see a major downturn in this. as a result of these kinds of conversations, we often think about black folk who migrant as those that are being agents of change when the truth of the matter is they are also victims of change as well. so it's just something to consider. >> i think that in terms of framing the great migration for me, i'm a literary scholar up here, is that usually i'm using the work of historians to help students understand the art we're talking about, and the artist tend to emphasize the agencies of the migrants. and i think there's two ways of
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thinking about migration. one, it's the art forms themselves, the ways the artists use the forms they work in, whether it's literature to visual arts to tell that migration story. but also the way the great migration produced contemporary and modern black art, right, that it produced the people who made much of what wedge to think of as the most noinnovative art forms of the 20th century, and that experience is indebted in those forms. in framing the migration for my students, those are the kinds of ways i ask them to think about it. and i think that what we've also seen is people who do work in other art forms beginning to look at how central the migration was. right now i'm thinking of a book by my colleague, kelly jones, called "south of particulat ico
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african-americans in los angeles who participated in the second migration or who were the children of people who participated in the first great migration, and how that transformed even notions of abstract art and what role the migration played in producing those people and the works they created. >> i'll just say that i 100% agree. that is one of the ways that i would frame the migration is talking about the influences on our culture as far as our music, the art. it's very important that they know that. one of the challenges i feel and i'm concerned about is there more people people telling our story -- when i say our story, when you're talking about
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african-americans migrating and the culture and all the influence, to me, it needs to come from african-americans. and so there's a lot more people who are -- and i'm not sure where they might be getting their information from, but there are more and more people telling the story but leaving a lot of holes. so that's my concern. >> before we started this, i was unaware there were so many connections to chicago and illinois. farah, i think you might be -- oh, well. thank you. so i want to move on a little bit because, again, i think a lot of this conversation is framed around teaching. i think i like that we all spend time teaching. i teach the great migration quite a bit and always try to encourage my students to talk about what their migration story is. they want to be part of the
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narrative of being in south carolina, which we've been constantly talking about for the past couple of days, is how so many africans came to this land via charleston, right? the number mentioned yesterday was 80% of the enslaved africans who came to this place of america, came through this port. so what's important to talk about here, and i want to pose another question, was their migration story. when i teach that, i ask my students essentially where your people from. and they really understand where i'm coming from. i was talking about place and space and time. so i want to ask the panelists, right, where was your epiphany to talk about -- most scholars, when we get into a subject and we feel really strongly about --
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we have this epiphany. did you have an epiphany when you got into migration studies and talking about migration? >> epiphany is a strong word for it. but i think there's an accumulated set of experiences that led me to the migration. my parents were actually from alabama, migrated from alabama. it seems i can't talk well. my parents were from alabama. they migrated from the sort of iron or steel, coal region of burmingham into the coal fields of west virginia. and my mother and my father migrated with one child in tow
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during the late 1930s, during the great depression. in west virginia, my father became a coal miner and he worked there until his death in 1957. in that short time when i look back, my mother and father had 14 children during that time. when my father passed away in 1957, i'm just going to share it all. my brother had just written a memoir about medicine, race, and family. and he talks about this experience of the trotter family around his medical condition. he had a congenital heart
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decide. he grew up and lived with it. he decided to write his memoir. in our family in 1957, my father became a homicide victim. and my mother was left with 14 children in a coal field in west virginia. if you know anything about coal fields, women don't get jobs, essentially, in coal fields because there is no supportive domestic household or any other work for women. and so my mother had never worked a day in her life. she was a home-maker. now she got these 14 to deal with. luckily she had only 12 because two had graduated. and so she had to figure out a way to make a living. so she was the real decision-maker in our migration from west virginia coal fields into ohio, a town could
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newcomers town, ohio. so our family shot up the population when we hit that place. but this particular experience i didn't know was going to impact me so forcefully when i started just thinking about research on the african-american experience. this town was called newcomers town and we were the newcomers. believe it or not, we experienced a life of new comers that resembled things i read across cities, around the country, that newcomers are looked down upon. newcomers are made fun of. newcomers are considered people who don't really talk all that well. so our family have had has had to fight that battle of the n newcomers. my mother actually decided to move the family out. we moved to a small town.
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and so all of us in that small town had our own migration after that. i told you that i moved into evanston, illinois. but the real shaper for me in terms of going into migration history is that when i hit evanston, illinois, and got a taste of chicago, i knew i had to understand something about how cities work. and so that was a great turning point. i taught high school for six years, but i never gave up on the idea that somehow i believe i need to go to graduate school, get a deeper understanding of this thing called black urban history. and so that experience, you know -- and then when i was in chicago, the place was exploding all the time. there was violence in the street, martin luther king marching in chicago, and all those things impressed me greatly. so when i went to graduate
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school, that accumulation of experiences really led me to look at milwaukee as a place to look at black migration and to try to understand how black people had become an urban people. [ applause ] >> just to give you a different kind of understanding of chicago, my family is from mississippi and louisiana. if you don't live in manipulates or louisiana, you live in chicago. that was my first big city. that's the city that i understood. we would spend three weeks every summer in chicago, and i hated it because my aunt listed in englewood, 69th and paulinea. we had have red dirt from playing baseball but they assumed we were playing in red clay.
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and they would say you all are from the country and we're better than you all are. and we live so great. but i would look around in the neighborhood and i'd be like, but you don't have a yard and you don't have windows. you don't have a car. we had to take the l train everywhere we'd go. my uncle took us to a white sox game. somebody god goth beat up outside the stadium and then taking us to a cubs game and i was like, this is like a whole different city than the south side. but what happened with that is when i went to graduate school at the university of illinois, i was taking a course with david rot ger called race in the city. during this time the tempest known as hurricane katrina raptured my homeland in a particular way. i said i want to do something on the urbanization or cities in the american south and jest, jokingly. they said to me, there are no cities in the american south.
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what they did is they encouraged me to develop a concept or something that would help me measure how you understand the great migration, and that's how the black new south was founded. that's how i really came to understand that. what i'm saying is that the ways in which i could really measure that, all the credit to dr. james anderson and other professors, dr. amilcar sha babs basis and others is to look at civil rights legislation as a point or as a watershed moment on how we can go by to see a real shift in terms of how we understood things. once i went to graduate school and went to shirks i said this is a cool town, but it wasn't englewood. with that being said, my juke slider is still good. folks from shirks if you want to get down, we can take that up outside. so thank you. [ laughter ]
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>> all right. i want to switch gears a little bit. as historians we're used to talking about the past but i want to take things to the present and pay a bit of attention to what's going on in our cities and really what is the lasting impact of this mass movement of people from the rural south so it urban south, from the our south to the urban north and west. what is the legacy of a great migration in contrary black america? what i mean by that is that oftentimes, most of us who are engaging young people in the classroom, these millennials in the classroom, right, there's these moments in which they express their frustrations of
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having to retwenty the wheel to deal with issues in contemporary life. this is a reject of civil rights studies and rejections of talking about stories of the great migrations. and you hear the frustration in their voice to make sense of this place. and i think i want to talk about how do you think our notions about these urban places, right, what is the role of the great migration in conceptualizing the current urban environment? >> i want to say something about that. very briefly. >> that was a question i wrote for you, actually. >> very briefly. i'm just going to ask you guys. take a look at workers on arrival, a new work i just recently completed. and the big theme of that book is that the great legacy of african-americans in this country is that black people
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helped literally build this nation in terms of infrastructure, building, and riches as well. we were essential to that. one of the things we sometimes overlook is that we didn't build this wealth just through cotton and rice and sugar and all of the agricultural staples. we continue to build through the industrial system the great migration, and the industrialization of america and america becoming a predominantly industrial nation had a lot to do with black people migration and adding their labor to the industrial system. that's a legacy, i think, that we should keep in mind that black people are bequeathed to this nation. my own thinking now is that as we talk about the post-industrial period, i think we're in danger of really minimizing degrees to which
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black people today, poor as they may be in terms of the economy of the new digital age, black people i see working and contributing to this nation every day in the trenches, in restaurants, in medical facilities, in educational facilities, working both at the bottom, middle, and also at the top range. so i think we're still contributors to the wealth of this nation. [ applause ] >> hello? can you hear me? can you hear me? okay. i may have to go up there. can you hear me now? okay. to piggy back off what he's saying, i completely agree. i think we have a responsibility to teach the youth now about what has happened in order to give them an opportunity to see
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what can be done. so i really strongly believe in cultural relevant pedagogy. when you see the the first african-american who had a bank in that chicago area, i was talking about bronzeville. i'm only referring to bronzeville because i know it was all over the united states, but i'm just referring mainly to bronzeville right now as a reference. but when you had people like that and the jones brothers, i don't know if you're aware of the jones brothers, but they are the ones who pretty much invented the lottery, you're talking about the policy kings. what they did, they made quite a bit of money. i mean, millions, and took that money and put it back into the community. so when these students see that, it gives them something, a sense of hope and inspiration and something to look forward to because all they hear about -- a lot of times we get so tired
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of -- when we see movies, we see ourselves as the help and the butler. not to take away from knows amazing movies, but what about the resilience of our people? they need to see that we strive and survive, and not only came up north with nothing and turn around and created something so incredible. and to do that in that time during that jim crow era, why can't that we do now with all that we have? i believe that's the way we should be looking at how we carry on the legacy moving forward. >> i'm not of scholar of urban history. i do black educational history but i do believe there are important implications or lessons we can learn from the educational migrations. quickly, two of them is the curricular or underdevelopment
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of hbcus. years ago when the system was trying to establish a unitary system to integrate the public institutions of the state. the federal government suggested that north carolina put the vet school at north carolina a & "t." the vet school is at north carolina state university. if you know anything about elizabeth city state university and other hbcu in the northeast of north carolina, that school -- the legislature promised to be a pharmacy there and we still don't have one. we see that force, black students, to have to go north for graduate school and it's impacting the offerings at these institutions today. i'll say vouchers, the idea of using them to promote resegregation today, we can trace this idea of using public
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dollars to preserve segregation to these segregation scholarships that originate in the 1920s. >> i want to go back to myiti for one second. i think one of the things i want to unpack from you, your family legacy. we talk about -- i think farah talked about culture and migration. you bring a particular perspective here with your connection to the chicago defender and the bud billiken parade, which is a huge black cultural that event takes place in chicago. do those people who know about the defender that the landscape is changes as far as these two cultural landscapes? >> yes, it has.
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recently the chicago defender announced that they are a digital platform now. it was a really sad day for me. i wasn't particularly in agreement with that because it's just -- i believe that there's still something to be said about having that tangible newspaper to pick up. and now while we still are -- i would say the generation of 40 and up are still around and we're going to be around for a long time. we still want to pick up our newspaper. so that's one of the issues that we had to, you know, deal with recently. and that's why i actually still print. i print. we do digital and print. but also we are carrying ton legacy of the bud billiken parade. it is the second largest african-american parade in the united states.
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it's been that way since, i would say the '30s till today. there's ban change because the climate has changed. teen neighborhood itself has changed. i will tell you right now a house that went for $300,000 five years ago is now going for $1.3 million. i just checked that yesterday on my block. trust me, i don't have $1 million house, i wish i did. but things have changed quite a bit. so what does that say for what i have to do? my responsibility is i'm going to keep this legacy going. i have to embrace the change, but at the same time help those people that are coming into the neighborhood that maybe don't understand or know the history to really get to know what bud billiken means to our community. because it gives -- it's a
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year-round focus that gives kids an opportunity to keep them off the street. they practice year round to get ready for that one day. it means quite a bit, more than we even imagine. it gives businesses who are small an opportunity to showcase what they do, and it gives organizations a chance to show support for the community and for these youth. and so it's always been the back-to-school parade and it represents back to school. it is a challenge to keep something like that going in today's climate because of the crime that's in chicago. and i have to tell you, i fought all the way up until almost a week before the parade with the police department just to have simple things for our kids like not trying to shorten the time of the parade, not trying to -- just stopping us from doing so many different things. but these are the challenges we have that are different from when my grandmother was running the parade.
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>> maurice mentioned in his work on the new black south, he talked about it in his presentation this phenomenon of the reverse migration. and i think it's a very real thing. you know, historically, the great migration from the black perspective, it was about claiming space within a racist society. right? and many many of these urban communities which our ancestors moved into, right, if we look back at what's going on in cities now, we see this phenomenon of gentrification and black depopulation in states. i live in the state of illinois where we're losing 40,000 plus people, black people, a year. when they destroyed and
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deconstructed public housing in the black communities of chicago, entire communities disappeared. i'll give you one example. the state street corridor, for those of us who study the urban landscape, know that's one of the largest continuous public housing development in the united states. 40,000 plus people live there. under the clinton administration, those people disappeared. so where do they go? at the same time we see a black depopulation from urban areas. we see gentrification, right? it's changing these landscapes. we live in bronzeville, which was the old black belt. black people reclaimed this name saying this is a community of people with bronze skill, to take that black belt moniker and change the pejorative to something positive. this question is for maurice. how can we recontextualize this
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migration and what should we know about this phenomenon? >> thank you for the question. one of the things we must truly consider is, of course, you know, historians look at the period between 1965 or 1968 and 1980 as being a second reconstruction. and then you have the emergence of ronald reagan's america. during this time we see the shift from the industrial age to the information age and we see post-industrial conditioning and all these different things. we also see the rise of crack cocaine. we see the hiv aids epidemic. we see the militarization of the police. the money put for the war on drugs that failed public education. i tell my students i'm like a walking unicorn in my
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generation. and i say that because oftentimes a conversation around crack cocaine is centered on urban spaces. but no one talks about how it decimated the piny woods of east texas, the louisiana low country, the mississippi delta, the arkansas delta, the alabama black belt, the georgia black belt. it wiped them out. and then we see the militarization of the police and a lot of the work that you discussed in terms of bill clinton's three strikes rule and how that increased federal populations by 800%, overwhelmingly black males in a state like george, a two-strike rule passed by the governor which increased the state population by 1300%. in a complex city like atlanta, the mayor shift, the population is 60% black, now it's barely 50%. what we begin to see is the catalyst for this attack on black spaces was the
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exploitation of dr. king's legacy presented to the world that ends in the result of atlanta winning the olympic games. as soon as atlanta decides to bid for the olympic games, the whit business elite draw an invisible circle around the city and figure out a way to take back this top real estate. and this today is called the belt line. we are 33 years into a 40-year plan of getting rid of black folk. and so when we have this conversation around migrations and some of the issues that we're facing in terms of -- such as a city like atlanta and the creation of the red police and the showdowns that take place in terms of the violence, the fact that a city of atlanta had the largest cheating scandal in the history of the united states that failed a generation of black students, black children, we are under attack. and it just so happens that atlanta gets the love because of its boosterism, but we have to
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consider these same kind of conversations in places like charlotte, charleston, savannah, burmingham, jackson, new orleans, shreveport. you have to look at these kinds of ways because so much of the attention in terms of under studies has been primarily on the middle east and east coast in terms of migration. but we have to understand this is how things are playing out in terms of the politics. the last thing i'm going to say is a city like atlanta, black folk got excited about the popularity but forgot to perform politically. and now in the bluff near the atlanta university center where you can easily get robbed or shot in particular kinds of ways, they're selling bungalows for $600,000. they're pricing black people out. we have to consider these attacks and figure out a way to fight back. that's where we must educate and organize.
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>> we're coming closer to the q&a. but i want to ask one more question. all right. we want to switch gears again. we want to switch back our academic hats. in your opinion f we were to give advice to this new generation of urban migrations scholars, many of them are in this room, what advice are we going to give them as far as the questions and issues we should consider when we think about migration studies today. yes, for everyone. >> i think that on the cultural front, one of the things that i think still needs to be done, one is to think about the great -- that has emerged in the panel. think about the great migrations as part of a larger system of black movement, right? in terms of our experience in this hemisphere even, right?
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that there are waves of movement, that some of them emphasize our agency and others do not. and that what we're calling the reverse migration, the relationship between people taking advantage of new opportunity as much as people being displaced, many of these migrations have always been about a history of displacement. but on the cultural front, i think it's also what kind of front, what kind of cultural forms emerge when people who are products of these different migrations come together. i mean, one of the things about the great migration in places especially like harlem, is that you have people migrating from the south to the north, class conventional story, but you have people coming from africa and the caribbean. what happens with these encounters in these contexts? what productive things come out of those various histories of migrations is still very rich and there's still a lot of possibility there.
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>> you know, i actually thought that the question would go into a direction of talking about setting an agenda for the next round of research a little bit more than we have so far. my own thinking is that there are at least three areas, and i think some of them have come up here. definitely i think this return migration is going to require a whole lot more work across a whole lot more cities. so that, i think, is going to be a prime idea on the agenda setting for the next generation. you touched on the idea of the transnational immigration of african-american people into the united states. we're going to have to do a lot
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more work, i think, on that dimension of how these new africans are transforming or helping to transform what we call african-american life. the other thing is that gentrification is is also a process of movement in which black people should -- we should capture some of the volition they are exercising in some of these recent disruptive developments that are taking place in african-american life. so i think those are three agenda items that we can definitely, you know, sort of put on the table, promising projects for young people. and of course there's just all kinds of other issues that i think students of the next generation will, you know, discover on their own. but i've got a couple of items that i've started to talk about a little bit that has to do with
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some sort of microscopic items of the new agenda. the barber shops of african-american life and the way they have functioned. i've been talking about this for the last six months, the way in these black barbershops were forced in some cases to cater to white clients o'neal and to exclude black clients. now we have studios showing that black people were beginning to show up in black barbershops to serve white and they were getting incensed that these black bashers who would serve them. there's a story here. in north carolina there was a basher who wouldn't serve black people even in the aftermath of martin luther king's assassination. they had to march around his barbershop to make him, you
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know, sort of give into the idea of serving black people. and so one of these microstory, whelmed need a study of how black businesses became desegregated, especially when you think about a lot of the early black businesses in urban places, they catered to white customers. and these white customers sometimes insisted that they serve only whites. and so how is it that black people eventually begin to gain service and some of these black businesses that previously had not served them. so i think that's another kind of a microitem. there will be a lot of those that students will find on their own. but here's my take. i've been working on these issues for a while, and i'm just astounded at how rich the literature is now, and how we need to make sense of what this
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means. we need good general studies now, scholars should be turning toward trying to understand and put together narrative about black migration in different places. for example, when i started working on these issues, there was very little conceptualizing of black migration in the preindustrial period, the enslavement period. now we have a lot of studies that look at black population movement across the board, fourth migration, voluntarily migration for this period. we need period synthesis that look at the period before the civil war. just take that on and give us the story. also for the industrial period,
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we need good cynthsynthesis alo gender, race, and class line and create stories that allow us to think big about where we are in this field so that's why i wanted to make a plea for synthesis. there's another reason i wanted to do that is because i think synthesis will allow us to not only put together what we know, but it also underline some things that we still don't know. we will discover new agenda by taking up to task of really assessing where things are. and it has implications for how do we get all this rich scholarship to the public, out into the community, make it more accessible. so we do have work to do on that score as well. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> i think our panelists are ready to accept questions from the audience. before we start, i have an announcement to make. i was given this note to inform everyone that at the journal of african-american history reception with wine that's available in the lobby immediately outside the doors and where everyone here has an invitation to attend. so with that, we'll open up the floor for questions. >> testing. first of all, i'd like to thank everybody on the panel for your service and scholarship and all the work that you do. [ applause ]
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i guess if everything comes full circle, much of what we discussed today i lived. i'm in my late 70s now, there's a few of us still around and we would hope you would talk to us the way my grandmother talked to me. mine is a life story of a woman who in the '30s went to the douglas plantation in alabama and asked mr. douglas, could she see a concession of books that made money. he says, no, you haven't made any money, get out of my face. she picked up her seven children, took them to chicago, and then detroit. she said, if we make it to detroit and shirks then we can go back to alabama. in both instances, both families made it. a few changes. detroit side, they left as
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baptist and became catholic to survive. because i was born in chicago, cook county hospital and i went back to alabama, and my grandmother said i'm going to hold your hand all the way down to alabama. i don't want anyone to touch you. i didn't understand that until later because it was segregation. we were well protected in chicago. my uncle opened up a liquor store. there was a post office. and also going back down to alabama, i looked out of the window and i saw people throwing the newspapers out. my last story is one of my own because i used to sell chicago papers in the '40s. hey, lady with the bald head baby, stick your head out the window. [ applause ] >>, oh, my god.
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wait. my father would always tell me that story. that's hilarious. i think that f thank you for sharing that. >> thank you for all of your presentations today. i'm curious about the work that any of you have done in terms of the impact on african-american religious expression in the context of the great migration. as we know, that's a huge -- so many of you -- father divine and all these forms of african-american religious expression. and i'm thinking about, like, the graduate students who have to go away to another state. and the churches that took care of them while they were there. as blacks worked in the industrial space, you know, it was those churches in those
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voluntary organizations and masonic places, cultural forms that supported them why they did that work. does each and every one of you have something in which i can say african-american churches as a cultural institution that supported that we were doing. i'm just wondering if you would like to -- >> i can add something. >> to me, the best work that's been done in the black church was by wallace best. if you're not familiar with his work, check it out. but you're exactly right. many of the students that go north or west for graduate school all talk about two institutions being their saving grace, the church, and then black sororities and fraternities. it was black churches that made sure they had a place to say-to-stay because they could not live on campus.
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there were churches that helped them get jobs so they could have food to eat. they oftentimes mechanics deacons committed to their success and then black sororities and fraternities. oftentimes a black fraternity would pool their resources, buy a house, and then black students are renting in that house. one of the things i found that's been very interesting to me is that at the university kansas, both the graduate chapters bought houses in lawrence, kansas. it was known if you were a black student and you couldn't rent a room at an individual black family's home, then you needed to go talk to these chapter leaders about getting a room in these houses that were provided by the fraternity and is so
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sororiti sororities. >> i would second that about wallace best's book. there's a book by the name of sylvia chan malik. she looks at women in the development of american islam, women of color. black migrants are central to the development of black muslim culture, black muslim religion and communities in cities like chicago, philadelphia, all those places. so you're right there. >> there's a book by a friend of mine, matthew crest ler. he wrote a book on black movement to chicago.
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i'm catholic. my parents are one of the sinners at st. dorothy church. the african-american patrolman's league fighting racism within the chicago police department. one of the fascinating things he talks about that at one point that were more black catholics than there were in louisiana. i thought that was just a phenomenal experience. he's teaching at the college of charleston right now. >> thank you all for such a wonderful panel. i wanted to see if i couldn't kind of disturb the peace a little bit and invite a literary story to take to us task. in many ways, this idea of 1914, 119, one years ago, is just a pivot in our story. it got based on narrative and words.
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we go to the '20s and start talking about the harlem renaissance. aren't these just narratives? what do we gain to keep hold of this migration, the great migration narrative beyond the demographic shifts, what is the individual drive that helps us move , that make us migrate? here you have a totally african world in which this little girl is being savagely repressed, savagely o pressed, yet she's resilient and she pushes her way. they push her out of the black world into the white world under these white men, and you got to learn how to create a life. you got to learn to be more creative and imaginative with these concepts we're taking in
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and moments we're exaggerating, instead say how did she shape the language of african-american history in ways that create this dynamic flow that prepares us to understand the whole of the human experience? please tell me. >> i mean, you said it. there's not much i can say to that except that that's what art does. on the one hand, we've inherited a series of narratives because it happened. it did happen this shift in population and people were seeking freedom, right? but our artists also told us what it looked like, when it meant, what the conventions of it were and they gave meaning to it for us. and then i think they also imagine possibilities that we haven't experienced yet, right? but what you're talking about is exactly what art does. it gives us another set of
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narratives, another way -- i should say, a narrative that allows toungs about our experience in different ways. >> i think we have time for maybe a couple more questions. we have five minutes, so we have time. >> good evening, everyone. first things first, i want to say great job. i wanted to ask this important question. since we talked about the discussion of gent if i case, i wanted to ask everyone if congress passed an anti-gentrification law, what would that look like, and how should it shift? >> wow. is that enough time? that's a dissertation topic there. >> if congress passed an anti-gentrification law, just quickly, they would need to give
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a stimulus package to particular communities to be able to own places so people would not be able to be pushed out. they need reparations. >> reparations, 40 acres, blocks, buildings, all of that. schools. >> yes. >> airplanes. >> hi. thank you for your presentations. i thought dr. trotter was going to go there. he was talking about the transnational migration and that as a trend, something important to look at now. my interest -- i research on african-americans currently living abroad. and i think dr. kimble's question about how you teach or the legacy of the great migration to contemporary life, i was wanting to ask do you envision a way to teach about migration, current migration of african-americans abroad, going
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abroad as a next step or different version or related to the great migration? because i think that's something that not enough people are looking at. >> yeah. i appreciate that question. you know, there is a book about africans and ghana. >> kevin gains. >> kevin gains. i've been thinking about that issue. it's something we really need to take seriously as part of, you know, just the fabric of african-american urban migration history or migration history more generally. soiled say, yes, we should be doing more of that. we should take stock and integrate that into our thinking about black migration. >> also, just to piggy back on that, i'll say it's not new that we see working relationships between africans and african-americans. my next project, if i ever finish this current one, is
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looking at african students that come to hbcus. if we look at the black nationalist leaders, go to lincoln university for their degrees. there's a careen thurgood marshal writes a constitution. this is not new that in 2019 we see african-americans building relationships with africans on the continent. there was a long history of that. it's a history they have understudied. they created this idea that there's a separation between black people here and black people on the continent, but history doesn't bear that out. >> one thing to that is the component of the blacks in the south is the national and international implications. you take an example of someone like ambassador andrew young whose job was to present american capitalism disguised of dr. martin luther king's dream to stave off the soviets from
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south america, caribbean, the continent of africa. in the process of this when he becomes mayor, ronald reagan takes about 90% of all the federal funding out of the city of atlanta. so he has to rely on his relationships with the continent and the black world to really invest in a city like atlanta to really make it a true global city. so in this regard, mayor andrew young at the time, all the oil used for all the fleets for the city of atlanta comes from nigeria. there's some real conversations in terms of the connections, in terms of internshentrepreneursh. we see that in jackson, mississippi, and venezuela. we see that in the conversations in the black belt of alabama where we see bahia, brazil, that's partnering to do this kind of work. >> yeah, one more.
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>> again, thank you all for -- [ inaudible ] >> i've learned a lot, to thank you very much. i just want to say how -- control the narrative. it came up a few months ago. they were talking about the harlem renaissance. the push and bull pul that brought -- here was the harlem renaissance. the negro world -- [ inaudible ] so that was the real sense of the harlem renaissance. others came in later and claimed it. >> i'd like to thank you all for -- i'm sorry. we're short on time. i'd like to thank you all for coming and giving our panelists a round of applause. [ applause ]
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