I think that the Great Migration is an intriguing cultural phenomenon. Historians gave the migration from south to north by Black Americans the Great Migration. I think that giving the movement such solid dates, times, and reasons aren’t helpful for understanding the Great Migration. As the excerpts we read about The Warmth of Other Suns, it clearly stated that it wasn’t a concious movement and many people migrated for their own, personal reasons. The mistreatment of blacks in the south is an exception to this rule. This seems to be an overarching theme and led to blacks fleeing to the north. The south had many laws, such as the Jim Crowe laws that treated blacks as if they weren’t citizens. This was a primary cause but many people had many other problems springing from civil rights. It also wasn’t at a particular time, or a huge one-time event. The Great Migration took place over decades of discontentment of southern civil rights. The Great Migration was an extremely interesting movement which didn’t have an immediate, impact until society until after this important movement.
I think that one of the more amazing things about the Great Migration was the fact that it was not led, but happened because multiple people conducted the same personal choices because of the circumstances. I also think that its odd how this massive migration was never fully reported on. I thought that it was because they didn't want to report on why the blacks where leaving the South, bringing to light the horrible deeds done. In the excerpt, one of the alleged crimes was 'trying to act like a white person', and it made me wonder what they identified a white person would act like. I felt that the multiple ways people created ways to segregate people, from different sets of public places to the rules of the road, was horrible, especially because that generation had 'no personal recollection of slavery' and grew up in an environment that already greatly separated and degraded races. By the time the Great Migration was over, demographics across America had changed, which is one of many conditions that I thought helped people adapt their perspective of 'mixing races'. This profound movement was like a silent revolution that had made little ripples across the country, causing shifts and more diversity across the board.
My reflection is both on think and feel. First I want to start out by saying that I thought the beginning of the excerpt was a great hook. Just short stories about the different people leaving and you find yourself wondering why they were all leaving. You wanted to find out what would happen to them. The book got you to wonder about the characters and want to keep reading, and then they gave you all the information about it. The part in the excerpt that I was most upset about were the Jim Crow laws, or similar laws. I thought that it was extremely unfair and it just made me feel really sad that this is what we thought was right. One of my best friends in the world is black, but if I was born in this time period I never would have gotten the chance to meet her, everyone was segregated. In South Carolina we wouldn't even be able to go up or down a staircase at the same time. This segregation is terrible, but the Great Migration was talking blacks away from the South, and to the North or West, where the separation was nearly as drastic and dangerous.
When I was reading this it made me FEEL, that all the immigrants just could leave their country, all what they have been working on their whole life, and then will risk it all, just because they may have a chance, of having more succeed. But it can also go the other way, and it will end worse for them, and they wont have any support from friends or family.
I wonder what led Americans to segregate the country so dramatically. At one point, "in a North Carolina courthouse, there was a white Bible and a black Bible to swear to tell the truth on". It didn't matter that both Bibles contained the same words;or that both races were human - only one was privileged. But I can hardly believe that the country turned awful enough to reach that point. How could people go along with such absurd rules? Finally, the African Americans left the traditional South, and didn't bother asking anyone's permission when they started their own lives elsewhere. I love that. I think it's the bravest decision in life, to leave without asking because you're starting life for yourself and not anyone else. I wondered who left first, and what the African Americans of that time were thinking when they simply disappeared from plantations. I also wonder if they white people began to question their self-ordained authority and cruelty towards blacks. It was incredible that "They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left". I wonder what they were thinking when one day, quietly, determinedly, they left everything they knew behind for the promise of a better elsewhere. We could all learn something from that.
This excerpt from The Warmth of Other Suns mostly made me think about the extreme change that was going on during on at this time and how incredible it is that it was going on unnoticed. This gigantic movement that had no leader and no set times managed to seep into the lives of an overwhelming amount of men and women. No one really knew who was the first to leave, and I believe it is possible for there not to have been a “first person” because there had been men and women leaving the South for a long time and the real question was, what could be considered the starting point for the Great Migration? It seems like such a great thing, and although it was, there was still incredible hardship to come for the colored people of America at the time. One quote that really stuck out to me was, “A railing divided the stairs onto the train, one side of the railing for white passengers, the other for colored, so the soles of their shoes would not touch the same stair.” It is amazing to think that the white people of this time were so disgusted by colored people that they did not even want the soles of their shoes to touch the same stairs as blacks. This is absurd because even on sidewalks and streets blacks and whites would be walking in the same place at one point or another but I believe this was more of a symbol than anything, a way of showing that whites were of a higher class and more important.
I think The Warmth of Other Suns truly described the hardships and the courage that African Americans had to go through back then, based on the perspectives of the characters as well as the history that was being told in the excerpts. Segregation was one of the horrible things that our country did. But as African Americans began to gain their rights little by little, it as also meant that they have gained their freedom as well. When I read about the Great Migration, it wasn't so clear to me how it started, or how it was created. It felt like the Great Migration was a more of a turning point for African Americans to move from South to North. So I wonder: was the Great Migration created, or did it just happen? As I continued reading, I also wondered how I would act if I was in that time. As a colored person, I think I wouldn't know how act, how to speak, basically the right things to do. I don't think that I would have the courage and bravery to go move from South to North and try to live a good life. Overall, African Americans back then, especially their courage and bravery through the many challenges they faced is still truly a exceptional part in our history.
I think that The Warmth of Other Suns does a really great job showing what the lives of these people was like and really allowing for a more personal connection with some of the characters. I wonder if, when they get out of the South and to wherever they want to go, it'll be what they expect. Will the life they dreamed of exist? I wonder if the fact that they think that this life is real and attainable it will help or hurt them in their future endeavors. The migration does sound a lot like a faceless, leaderless, revolution, one which I believe really made an impact on society, not only their own personal lives, or even the lives of the African Americans who took part in it. It also affected the other African Americans and even the white citizens.
As I read through the excerpt I began to wonder what it was like in other countries. Was the same sort of thing happening at the same time? Earlier? Later? Did it ever happen or did the countries just accept the different ethnic groups. I know we're just covering U.S. history, but it would be interesting to find out even just a little bit about what was going on is Europe or other countries.
Overall, the reading was very fascinating. I look forward to reading more of the book and learning and about the characters, their journeys, lives, and friends.
I found it interesting how the excerpt mentioned that The Great Migration was one of the most unreported story. I was surprised about all of the things African Americans had to go through because of their skin color. At the beginning of the reading, the different stories that were told were very fascinating, and towards the end when the book talks about how mistreated blacks were, is when the feel changed for me. I began to feel empathy towards many people due to the fact that we take freedom for granted now a days. In order for African Americans to have a chance in this society, they needed to face inequality, violence, and several other hardships. They did so much in order to migrate, to provide a better life for not only themselves, but their families and future generations. I wonder what would have happened if they had not migrated? How might have life been different later? This migration was a step towards equality, and it took several years for it to make an impact and show in society. I cannot imagine how someone would be so disgusted by someones skin color, it is completely inhumane. I cannot imagine how life must have been for them. It is interesting to think about because several issues like that are still prominent in todays society. I wonder if the issues going on today won't make an impact until several years later. Although the great migration impacted blacks, in the long run, it also impacted whites in opening their eyes to equality and accepting people.
"Oftentimes just to go away is one of the most aggressive things that another person can do..."-pg. 11
The Warmth of Other Suns made me think and come to a realization of the hard times African American people went through not too long ago. It was incredible to think about the Great Migration, no one was leading the people, it wasn't even really talked about. It was a mutual feeling among the people. It was time for the African Americans to get the rights they deserved, and by doing so it was as if they were getting their freedom all over again, but this time with a bit more respect. The migration wasn't large protest or people speaking out, it was as simple as people going away from one area to somewhere else, yet it made one of the biggest changes. This led to more rights for African Americans, desegregation, and better opportunities. The experts of peoples stories in the reading gave a great insight to what it was like for the people and how they left. They were given a decision to stay and wait, or to leave making a new life for themselves. When the people migrated it was as if they were in a foreign land, no one to turn to, no family to lean on. I wonder if I was put in this situation what decision I would make. It must have been hard to leave not knowing if you would make it, and never being able to return again. This reading make me feel a appalled that white people were so disgusted and cruel to black people. I can't imagine treating a person in such manners, let alone being the person treated that way. The Warmth of Other Suns gave me a great perspective on how difficult and the amount of bravery it took to be a African American during those times.
"This land is first and foremost his handiwork. It was he who brought order out of priemeval wilderness... Whenever one looks in this land, whatever one sees that is the work of man, was erected by the toiling straining bodies of blacks."
This quote is the first thing one reads as the begin the Warmth of Other Suns and it really makes us think of our country as we know it. We can look back on the history of the United States and know that someone built it from bare land, but do we ever think of who? It is this reading that really made me realize how lengthy of a process it took for African Americans to get their well deserved rights. McMillen said it was a "folk movement of incalculable moment." And it truly was, I was surprised at the speed in which the black population grew, from 44,103 people to over 1 million. This time called the Great Migration really was the result of people being fed up with "just getting by" or recieving the "bare minimum". Now this segregation happened in the United States, and it is just mind blowing to me. We live in such a diverse part of the world, for example on any given street you will find different languages, cultures and people all living together in one place. Obviously, this idea is rather new. Imagine the response of the film a Birth of a Nation, that caused even more panic to whites over the idea of a potential revolution or rebellion. But really, what were the blacks rebelling from? Nothing. After years and years of unfair treatment and lack of appreciation they were finally taking a stand.
It amazes me that after being in school for so long, this internal Great Migration was never taught to me and if it was it was gone over very quickly. I think if more people read this passage, they would come to appreciate our country alot more, and like the beginning quote stated, the men and women who built this country and raised its children.
When I was reading the beginning I felt very intrigued and interested in the story because it talked/visually showed the struggles/stories of African Americans leaving there lives to change it. It made you think about what they had to go through to move away from where they were. It talked about how they had to travel by trains and how they would travel from Alabama to California from rural areas to the city life. This whole movement of African Americans leaving to go somewhere else wasn’t just a couple of people it was thousands over years and years and it was known as The Great Migration. I was wondering what the effect was because I understand the cause was that African Americans wanted to leave the rural areas and go to the cities. The effect of The Great Migration drained out most of the rural African American population in the South, and over time African American population in some regions declined.
The Great Migration was inspirational and powerful. It was an amazing feat that worked so effectively probably because of the fact that it was dragged out over 70 years. It started with the slow trickle and gradually the mouth of departure opened wide and poured out the souls into the the surrounding areas out of the South. It is incredible when you see not only one person changing their harmful environment, but an entire group of people standing up and making a change for themselves.
The reading talked about how some of the people who left the South chose not to talk about their experience with their children. Some chose to express it in full detail. What I was not sure about is: which is better? I think it is very important for people (all people involved) to know their history. It is important to learn from mistakes in order to never do them again. However, if the new generations grew up never knowing that there was ever a difference between races, they might not think of their being a difference between races! Children, as they always do, ask why people look different from them, but if society never put the idea in their head that different was bad, even if it is not anymore, then would it be in their head at all? It seems as though human nature is to pick apart differences in everything and to choose hierarchies based on differences-- as that did happen and does happen, but if we teach the new generations to love and appreciate differences and to not notice them as a bad thing... well, I wonder what would happen. :)
It was interesting to see all of these people's lives and how they decide to take it and what they decide to do with it. The story that I connected to the most was Robert Fosters. It made me wonder what life could have been like if they had actually let him do surgery and let him do what he was trained to do, instead of treating him like he wasn't even close to what other surgeons were. It also made me wonder what would have happened if the African Americans wouldn't have decide to make a differences for themselves, even though it said that it was one of the story's that were unreported, it made a huge difference in the long run and it just gets me thinking of that "what if." Over six million black southerners left from were they were, it was kind of strange because it talked about how they were already citizens, so they didn't have to go through Ellis Island, yet they weren't treated as such. The struggle that the African Americans went through, I think, is really shrunken down and I think it's weird that we don't talk about it so much today as much as we should. If African American's didn't have that will power they never would have achieved anything. It's really crazy to think that at one point in history everyone wasn't seen as an equal. It really got me thinking about that time period and if I was in that time would I accept change. Change is something that doesn't come easily in society. It is one of those moments where I stop and actually think and wonder if one day kids in the future will look back to the past and think that we were crazy for not accepting certain things into society. I wonder if whites would have seen African Americans as a positive moment, if that would have changed the outcome of what we have today. African Americans brought music, new talents (poets, singers, musicians, etc.) all these things were later accepted in society, yet I wonder if right from the start if everyone would have been accepting, if that would impacted today to make it better than it already is. I wonder if there was acceptance if the KKK would have even started. It's just crazy to think that whites made African Americans for things that weren't necessarily their faults like robberies and such. We always see WWI associate it sadness, but I wonder, if it hadn't happen this great movement would have never even started and maybe we would still be stuck with the same narrow mind that they had back then.
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