America's Great Migrations
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mapping Great Migrations
Here are more than two dozen interactive maps and charts
Migration is one of the great forces of history. When people move in large numbers they sometimes rearrange not only their own lives but also places they leave and the places they settle. Twentieth century America witnessed a number of consequential migrations, Great Migrations, that helped reshape culture, politics, or economic structures. This project explores several of them, including the Great Migration of African Americans out of the South, the numerically larger diaspora of whites from the same region, and the Dust Bowl migration to California from Oklahoma and neighboring states in the 1930s.

Here are more than a dozen interactive maps and charts that show the dimensions of each of these great migrations, and articles and essays that explore key features. In addition there is a comprehensive bibliography. Most of these materials are from published and unpublished work by James Gregory, Professor of History, University of Washington.

chicago migrantsUpwards of 8 million African Americans left the South during the 20th century, settling mostly in the big cities of the North and West. In doing so they transformed more than their own lives. This Great Migration transformed cities and set the foundations for reconstructions of race, politics, and even the regional balances of the nation. This section includes six interactive maps and charts as well interpretative essays.





More than 22 million whites left the South during the 20th century, vastly outnumbering the 8 African Americans who left. They were joined by nearly 1 million Latinos, mostly Tejanos, who moved west to California and north into the Midwest. This section shows migration patterns and explores the impacts of the southern diaspora. This section includes six interactive maps and tables as well interpretative essays.





The relocation to California of close to 400,000 Oklahomans, Texans, Arkansans, and Missourians during the Great Depression was the most publicized mass migration of that decade. Many faced unexpected difficulties, especially those who headed for California's Central Valley. Their plight caught the attention of journalists, photographers, and became the subject of one of the most celebrated American novels of the century, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Here are three interactive maps as well as detailed accounts and primary sources.






Here are more than a dozen maps and charts that reveal the dimensions of the great migration of African Americans, the broader southern diaspora, the dust bowl migration and other migration sequences.







This is a database of more than 700 books and articles, the most complete bibliography of each of the great migrations.





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