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Carnegie Endowment for International Peace



Professor of Political Economy, University of Illinois
Member of Committee of Research of the Endowment

No. 16



Secretary-Treasurer, Howard University,
Washington, D .C .


AMERICAN BRANCH: 35 W est 32hd S m n




2 Jackson P lace , W ashington , D. C.

think that no one more capable than Dr. Emmett J. Scott
could have been found to present to the public a study on the
subject o f this monograph. The topic is one o f great public
importance, and the author is equipped for its treatment both
by his wide knowledge o f the subject and his sympathy with
the viewpoint o f his race.
The problem o f negro labor, its diffusion and its adaptation
to more numerous kinds o f work, are problems not only o f
great public importance but o f great difficulty. Whatever views
one may hold on the general subject o f race relations between
the negroes and the whites in this country, there is no question
that we can not reach safe conclusions without a full knowledge
o f the facts as they appear to both o f the interested parties.
For that reason this presentation by Dr. Scott is a welcome ad­
dition to our information on the subject.
Sympathetically read it w ill. help the whites to understand
better the negro viewpoint, and will help the negroes to appreciate
perhaps more fully the difficulties which appear from the white
viewpoint. This is a field in which Tennyson’s words are pre­
eminently true, that “ Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”
Yet we can not hope ever to attain the necessary wisdom ex­
cepting by an increasing fulness o f knowledge. Therefore I
commend this study to every one who is interested in the ques­
tion for dispassionate reading and consideration.



a v id


in l e y



In the preparation o f this study I have had the encouragement
and support o f Dr. Robert R. Moton, Principal o f the Tuskegee
Normal and Industrial Institute, Alabama, who generously
placed at my disposal the facilities o f the Institute’s Division o f
Records and Research, directed by Mr. Monroe N. W ork, the
editor o f the Negro Year Book. Mr. W ork has cooperated
with me in the most thoroughgoing manner. I have also had
the support o f the National League on Urban Conditions and
particularly o f the Chicago branch o f which Dr. Robert E.
Park is President a n d 'o f which Mr. T. Arnold Hill is Secre­
tary. Mr. Hill placed at my disposal his first assistant, Mr.
Charles S. Johnson, graduate' student o f the University o f
Chicago, to whom I am greatly indebted. I must also make
acknowledgment o f my indebtedness to Dr. Carter G. Woodson,
Director o f the Association for the Study o f Negro Life and
History, Incorporated, Washington, D. C., for placing at my
disposal the facilities o f his organization.
The work o f investigation was divided up by assigning Mr.
W ork to Alabama, Georgia and Florida; Mr. Johnson to Mis­
sissippi and to centers in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and
Indiana, while the eastern centers were assigned to Mr. T.
Thomas Fortune, Trenton, New Jersey, a former editor o f the
New York Age, and a publicist and investigator o f well known
ability. It is upon the reports submitted by these investigators
that this study rests. I can not speak too warmly o f the en­
thusiastic and painstaking care with which these men have
labored to secure the essential facts with regard to the migration
o f the negro people from the South.
E m m e t t J. S c o t t .

a sh in g t o n ,

D . C.,

June 5,1919.








Causes o f the M igration .............................. i ............



Stimulation o f the M ovem en t..................................



The Spread o f the M ovem en t..................................



The Call o f the Self-Sufficient N o r th ........................



The Draining o f the Black B e l t ................................



Efforts to Check the M ovem ent................................



Effects o f the Movement on the S o u th ............... . .



The Situation in St. L o u is ......................................... * 95


Chicago and Its E n v iro n s.........................................



The Situation at Points in the MiddleWest . . . . . .



The Situation at Points in the E a s t .......................



Remedies for Relief by National Organizations ..



Public Opinion Regarding the M ig ra tion ...............


Bibliography.............................................................. ...


Index .................................... ........................................






Within the brief period o f three years following the outbreak
o f the great war in Europe, more than four hundred thousand
negroes suddenly moved north. In extent this movement is
without parallel in American history, for it swept on thousands
o f the blacks from remote regions o f the South, depopulated
entire communities, drew upon the negro inhabitants o f practi­
cally every city o f the South, and spread from Florida to the
western limits o f Texas. In character it was not without prece­
dent. In fact, it bears such a significant resemblance to the
migration to Kansas in 1879 and the one to Arkansas and Texas
in 1888 and 1889 that this o f 1916-1917 may be regarded as
the same movement with intervals o f a number o f years.
Strange as it might seem the migration o f 1879 first attracted
general notice when the accusation was brought that it was a
political scheme to transplant thousands o f negro voters from
their disfranchisement in the South to States where their votes
might swell the Republican majority. Just here may be found
a striking analogy to one o f the current charges brought against
the movement nearly forty years later. The congressional in­
quiry which is responsible for the discovery o f the fundamental
causes o f the movement was occasioned by this charge and suc­
ceeded in proving its baselessness.1
The real causes o f the migration o f 1879 were not far to
seek. The economic cause was the agricultural depression in
the lower Mississippi Valley. But by far the most potent factor
in effecting the movement was the treatment received by negroes
at the hands o f the South. More specifically, as expressed by
the leaders o f the movement and refugees themselves, they were
a long series o f oppression, injustice and violence extending over
1 Congressional Record, 46th Cong., 2d sess., vol. X, p. 104.



a period o f fifteen years; the convict system by which the courts
are permitted to inflict heavy fines for trivial offenses and the
sheriff to hire the convicts to planters on the basis o f peonage;
denial o f political rights; long continued persecution for political
reasons; a system o f cheating by landlords and storekeepers
which rendered it impossible for tenants to make a living, and
the inadequacy o f school facilities.1 Sworn public documents
show that nearly 3,500 persons, most o f whom were negroes,
were killed between 1866 and 1879, and their murderers were
never brought to trial or even arrested. Several massacres o f
negroes occurred in the parishes o f Louisiana. Henry Adams,
traveling throughout the State and taking note o f crime com­
mitted against negroes, said that 683 colored men were whipped,
maimed or murdered within eleven years.*
In the year 1879, therefore, thousands o f negroes from Mis­
sissippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee and North Caro­
lina moved to Kansas. Henry Adams o f Shreveport, Louisiana,
an uneducated negro but a man o f extraordinary talent, organ­
ized that year a colonization council. He had been a soldier
in the United States Army until 1869 when he returned to
his home in Louisiana and found the condition o f negroes in­
tolerable. Together with a number o f other negroes he first
formed a committee which in his own words was intended to
“ look into affairs and see the true condition o f our race, to see
whether it was possible we could stay under a people who
held us in bondage or not.” This committee grew to the enor­
mous size o f five hundred members. One hundred and fifty o f
these members were scattered throughout the South to live and
work among the negroes and report their observations. These
agents quickly reached the conclusion that the treatment the
negroes received was generally unbearable.* Some o f the con­
ditions reported were that land rent was still high; that in the
part o f the country where the committee was organized the
people were still being whipped, some o f them by their former
owners; that they were cheated out o f their crops and that in
1 Atlantic Monthly, L X IV , p. 222; Nation, X X V III, pp. 242, 386.
* Williams, History o f the Negro Race, II, p. 375.
* Atlantic Monthly, L X IV , p. 222.



some parts o f the country where they voted they were being
It was decided about 1877 that all hope and confidence that
conditions could be changed should be abandoned. Members
o f this committee felt that they could no longer remain in the
South, and decided to leave even if they “ had to run away
and go into the woods.” Membership in the council was solicited
with the result that by 1878 there were ninety-eight thousand
persons from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas be­
longing to the colonization council and ready to move.1
About the same time there was another conspicuous figure
working in Tennessee— Benjamin or “ Pap ” Singleton, who
styled himself the father o f the exodus. He began the work
o f inducing negroes to move to the State o f Kansas about 1869,
founded two colonies and carried a total o f 7,432 blacks from
Tennessee. During this time he paid from his own pocket over
$600 for circulars which he distributed throughout the southern
States. “ The advantages o f living in a free State ” were the
inducements offered.1
The movement spread as far east as North Carolina. There
a similar movement was started in 1872 when there were dis­
tributed a number o f circulars from Nebraska telling o f the
United States government and railroad lands which could be
cheaply obtained. This brief excitement subsided, but was re­
vived again by reports o f thousands o f negroes leaving the other
States o f the South for Kansas. Several hundred o f these
migrants from North Carolina were persuaded en route to
change their course and go to Indiana.3
Much excitement characterized the movement. One descrip­
tion o f this exodus says:
. Homeless, penniless and in rags, these poor people were thronging the
wharves o f St. Louis, crowding the steamers on the Mississippi River, hailing
the passing steamers and imploring them for a passage to the land of
freedom, where the rights of citizens are respected and honest toil rewarded
by honest compensation. The newspapers were filled with accounts o f their
1 Williams, History o f the Negro Race, TI, p. 375.
2 W . L. Fleming, “ Pap Singleton, the Moses o f the Colored Exodus,”
American Journal o f Sociology, chapter XV, pp. 61-82.
8 Congressional Record, Senate Reports, 693, part II, 46th Cong., 2d sess.



destitution, and the very air was burdened with the cry o f distress from
a class o f American citizens flying from persecution which they could no
longer endure. Their piteous tales o f outrage, suffering and wrong touched
the hearts o f the more fortunate members o f their race in the North and
West, and aid societies, designed to afford temporary relief and composed
almost wholly o f colored people, were organized in Washington, St. Louis,
Topeka and various other places.1

Men still living, who participated in this movement, tell o f
the long straggling procession o f migrants, stretching to the
length at times o f from tliree to five miles, crossing States on
foot. Churches were opened all along the route to receive
them. Songs were composed, some o f which still linger in the
memory o f survivors. The hardships under which they made
this journey are pathetic. Yet it is estimated that nearly 25,000
negroes left their homes for Kansas.2
The exodus during the W orld War, like both o f these, was
fundamentally economic, though its roots were entangled in the
entire social system o f the South. It was hailed as the “ Exodus
to the Promised Land ” and characterized by the same frenzy
and excitement. Unlike the Kansas movement, it had no con­
spicuous leaders o f the type o f the renowned “ Pap ” Singleton
and Henry Adams. Apparently they were not needed. The
great horde o f restless migrants swung loose from their acknowl­
edged leaders. The very pervasiveness o f the impulse to move
at the first definite call o f the North was sufficient to stir up
and carry away thousands before the excitement subsided.
Despite the apparent suddenness o f this movement, all evi­
dence indicates that it is but the accentuation o f a process
which has been going on for more than fifty years. So silently
indeed has this shifting o f the negro population taken place
that it has quite escaped popular attention. (Following the
decennial revelation o f the census there is a momentary out­
burst o f dismay and apprehension at the manifest trend in the
interstate migration o f negroes. Inquiries into the living stand­
ards o f selected groups o f negroes in large cities antedating the
migration o f 1916-1917 have revealed from year to year an in1 American Journal o f Social Science, X I, pp. 22-35.
* Ibid., p. 23.



creasing number o f persons o f southern birth whose length o f
residence has been surprisingly short. The rapid increase in
the negro population o f the cities o f the North bears eloquent
testimony to this tendency. The total increase in the negro
population between 1900 and 1910 was 11.2 per cent. In
the past fifty years the northern movement has transferred about
4 per cent o f the entire negro population; and the movement
has taken place in spite o f the negro’s economic handicap in
the North. Within the same period Chicago increased her negro
population 46.3 per cent and Columbus, Ohio, 55.3 per cent.
This increase was wholly at the expense o f the South, for the
rural communities o f the North are very sparsely populated
with negroes and the increment accruing from surplus birth over
deaths is almost negligible.1
When any attempt is made to estimate the volume o f this
most recent movement, however, there is introduced a confusing
element, for it can not definitely be separated from a process
which has been in operation since emancipation. Another' diffi­
culty in obtaining reliable estimates is the distribution o f the
colored population over the rural districts. It is next to im­
possible to estimate the numbers leaving the South even on the
basis o f the numbers leaving the cities. The cities are merely
concentration points and they are continually recruiting from
the surrounding rural districts. It might be stated that 2,000
negroes left a certain city. As a matter o f fact, scarcely half
that number were residents o f the city. The others had moved
in because it was easier to leave for the North from a large
city, and there was a greater likelihood o f securing free trans­
portation or traveling with a party o f friends. It is conserva­
tively stated, for example, that Birmingham, Alabama, lost 38,000 negroes. Yet within a period o f three months the negro
population had assumed its usual proportions again.1
Prior to the present migration o f negroes, there was some­
what greater mobility on the part o f the white than on the
part o f the negro population. As for example, according to
1 The Censuses of the United States.
2 Ibid.



the census o f 1910 o f 68,070,294 native whites, 10,366,735 or
15.2 per cent were living in some other division than that in
which they were born. O f 9,746,043 native negroes reported
by the census o f 1910, 963,153 or 9.9 per cent were living
outside the division o f birth.1 Previous to the present migra­
tion, the south Atlantic and the east south central divisions were
the only ones which had suffered a direct loss in population
through the migration o f negroes.2
The census o f 1910 brought out the fact that there had been
considerable migration from the North to the South, as well
as from the South to the North, and from the East to the West.
The number o f persons born in the North and living in the
South (1,449,229) was not very different from the number born
in the South and living in the North (1,527,107). The North,
however, has contributed more than five times as many to the
population o f the West as the South has. The number o f
negroes bom in the South and living in the North in 1910 was
415.533, or a little over two-thirds o f the total number living
in the North. O f the 9,109,153 negroes born in the South,
440.534, or 4.8 per cent, were, in 1910, living outside the South.3
The migration southward it will be noted, has been in recent
years largely into the west south central division, while the
migration northward has been more evenly distributed by divi­
sions, except that a comparatively small number from the South
have gone into the New England States.4
The greater mobility o f whites than o f negroes is shown by
the fact that in 1910, 15 per cent o f the whites and 10 per cent
o f the negroes lived outside o f the States in which they were
bom. This greater mobility o f the whites as compared with
the negroes was due in a large measure to the lack o f oppor­
tunities for large numbers o f negroes to find employment in
the sections outside the South. The W orld W ar changed these
conditions and gave to the negroes o f the United States the
same opportunities for occupations in practically every section
1 Vol. I, census o f 1910, Population, General Report and Analysis, p. 693.
* Ibtd., p. 694.
* Ibid., p. 698.
4 V ol. 1, 1910 census, Population, General Report and Analysis, p. 699.



o f the country, which had heretofore been enjoyed only by the
whites. In 1900, 27,000 negroes born in the North lived in the
South. In 1910, 41,000 negroes born in the North lived in
the South. This indicated that there was beginning to be a
considerable movement o f negroes from the North to the South
because o f the greater opportunities in the South to find em­
ployment in teaching, medicine and business. The migration
conditions brought about by the war have probably changed this
to some extent. Previous to the W orld War, the States having
the greatest gain from negro migration were Arkansas, 105,500,
Pennsylvania, 85,000, Oklahoma, 85,000, Florida, 84,000, New
York, 58,450 and Illinois, 57,500.
The point brought out here indicates that because o f economic
opportunities, Arkansas and Oklahoma, being contiguously situ­
ated in one section o f the South and Florida in another section
o f the South, had received a greater migration o f negroes than
any State in the North.
Dr. William Oscar Scroggs o f Louisiana calls attention to
the tendency o f negroes to move within the South, although,
as he points out, this tendency is not as great as it is for the
whites. On this he says:
The negro shows a tendency, not only to move northward, but also to
move about very freely within the South. In fact, the region registering
the largest net gain o f negroes in 1910 from this interstate movement was
the west south central division (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas)
which showed a gain from this source o f 194,658. The middle Atlantic
division came second with a gain o f 186,384, and the east north central third
with a gain o f 119,649. On the other hand, the south Atlantic States showed
a loss o f 392,827, and the east south central States a loss o f 200,876 from
interstate migration. While the negroes have shown this marked inclination
toward interstate movement, they nevertheless exhibit this tendency in less
degree than do the whites.1

The subjoined tables show the intersectional migration o f
the negro population:
1 Scroggs, “ Interstate Migration o f Negro Population,” Journal o f Pohttcal Economy, December, 1917, p. 1040.



(A s Reported by Census o f 1910)
N um ber B orn


S pecified D ivisio n s a n d L iving I n
T h ese D ivision s

Number Living:
Total Born in
the Division


United S ta te s........
New E n glan d ........
Middle Atlantic . . .
East North Central
West North Central
South Atlantic . . . .
East South Central
West South Central
Mountain ...............
Pacific .....................


N u m ber L iving


United S ta te s........
New England . . . . .
Middle Atlantic . . .
East North Central
West North Central
South Atlantic . . . .
East South Central
West South Central
Mountain ...............
Pacific .....................


Total Living
in the







O ut


Per Cent Liv­
ing Without
the Division
in Which

S pecified D ivision s

Per Cent
Living in
Living in
Born in and
the Division
Living in
Born in Other Born in Other
the Division





M igration N orth


S o u t h , So u t h


N orth


E a st




Born in:

State o f
Birth not
Race and Section
or Born in
of Residence
The North The South The West
sions, etc.
All Races
United States ........ 78,456,380 46,179,002 29,010,255
The N o r t h .......... 44,390,371 42,526,162 1,527,107
The S o u th .......... 28,649,319 1,449,229 27,079,282
5,416,690 2,203,611
The W e s t ...........



United States ........ 68,386,412 45,488,942 19,814,860
The N o r t h .......... 43,319,193 41,891,353 1,110,245
The S o u th ......... 19,821,249 1,407,262 18,326,236
The W e s t ...........
5,245,970 2,190,327





United States ........
The N o r t h ..........
The S o u th .........
The W e s t ...........






N et M igration E astw ard a n d W estward
N orthw ard an d S ou th w ard

an d

Population, 1910

O f For­
O f Na­ eign or
tive Par­ Mixed


Born east and living
west o f the Mis­
sissippi River . . . 5,276,879 4,941,529 3,846,940 1,094,589 331,031
Born west and living
east o f the Mis­
684,773 616,939 417,541
199,398 63,671
sissippi River . . .
Net migration west­
ward across the
Mississippi River 4,592,106 4,324,590 3,429,399
Born North and liv­
ing South ......... 1,449,229 1,407,262 1,156,122
Born South and liv­
ing North ......... 1,527,107 1,110245 944,572
Net migration south­
ward ...................
Net migration north­
ward ..................



895,191 267,360






165.673 415.533





Causes of the Migration
It seems particularly desirable in any study o f the causes o f
the movement to get beneath the usual phraseology on the sub­
ject and find, if possible, the basis o f the dissatisfaction, and
the social, political and economic forces supporting it. It seems
that most o f the causes alleged were present in every section
o f the South, but frequently in a different order o f importance.
The testimony o f the migrants themselves or o f the leading white
and colored men o f the South was in general agreement. The
chief points o f disagreement were as to which causes were
fundamental. The frequency with which the same causes were
given by different groups is an evidence o f their reality.
A most striking feature o f the northern migration was its
individualism. This factor after all, however, was economic.
The motives prompting the thousands o f negroes were not
always the same, not even in the case o f close neighbors. As
a means o f making intelligible these complicating factors it is
necessary to watch the process as it affected the several migrants.
The economic motive stands among the foremost reasons for
the decision o f the group to leave the South. There are several
ways o f arriving at a conclusion regarding the economic forces.
These factors might, for example, be determined by the amount
o f unemployment or the extent o f poverty in a community
as registered by the prosperity. These facts are important, but
may or may not account wholly for individual action. Except
in a few localities o f the South there was no actual misery
and starvation. Nor is it evident that those who left would
have perished from want had they remained. Discontent be­
came more manifest as comparisons were made between the
existing state o f things at home and a much better state o f
things elsewhere. It is possible to note in the appeals o f the




letters a suggestion o f a desire simply to improve their living
standards so long as there was an opportunity. In the case
o f some there is expressed a praiseworthy providence for
their families; and in others may be found an index to the pov­
erty and hopelessness o f their home communities. In this type
o f migration the old order is strangely reversed. Large num­
bers o f negroes have frequently moved around from State to
State and even within the States o f the South in search o f more
remunerative employment A movement to the West or even
about in the South could have proceeded from the same cause,
as in the case o f the migration to Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Among the immediate economic causes o f the migration were
the labor depression in the South in 1914 and 1915 and the
large decrease in foreign immigration resulting from the W orld
War. Then came the cotton boll weevil in the summers o f
1915 and 1916, greatly damaging the cotton crop over consid­
erable area, largely in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia
and Florida, and threatening greatly to unsettle farming con­
ditions in the year 1917.1 There followed then the cotton price
demoralization and the low price o f this product during subse­
quent years. The unusual floods during the summer o f 1915
over large sections in practically the same States further aggra­
vated the situation. The negroes, moreover, were generally dis­
satisfied because o f the continued low wages which obtained
in the South in spite o f the increasing cost o f living. Finally,
there was a decided decrease in foreign immigration. The re­
sult was a great demand in the North for the labor o f the negro
at wages such as he had never received.1
T o understand further the situation in the South at the be­
ginning o f the migration and just prior to it, attention should
be directed to the fact that the practice o f mortgaging the
cotton crop before it is produced made sudden reversals— an
inevitable result o f such misfortune as followed the boll weevil
and the floods. Thousands o f landlords were forced to dismiss
their tenants and close the commissaries from which came the
1 New York Times, September 5, 9, 28, 1916.
2 Ibid., October 18, 28; November 5, 7, 12, 15; December 4, 9, 1916.



daily rations. Some planters in Alabama and Mississippi ad­
vised their tenants to leave and even assisted them. The banks
and merchants refused to extend credit when cotton was no
longer to be had as a security. A s a consequence, a great num­
ber o f tenants were left without productive work, money or
credit. A host o f idle persons thrown suddenly on the labor
market could have no other effect than to create an excess in
the cities to which they flocked, make laborers easily replaceable,
and consequently reduce wages. A southern paper in comment­
ing on this situation declared “ there is nothing for this excess
population to do. These people must live on the workers,
making the workers poorer . . . if there is a tap that will
draw off the idle population, that will be a good thing for the
cities at least.” 1
The circumstances o f unemployment which contributed so
largely to the restless mood in some sections o f the South was
due primarily to a lack o f sufficient capital to support labor
during the lean seasons. This meant, o f course, that the cotton
pests and storms that played havoc with whole sections rendered
helpless all classes o f the population. The usual method o f han­
dling labor, especially on the cotton plantations, was for the
planter to maintain his hands from the commissary during the
fall and early winter in order that they might be convenient
for the starting and cultivation o f a new crop. But with their
last year’s crop lost, their credit gone and the prospects o f a
new crop very shadowy, there was left no other course but to
dismiss the people whom they could not support.
For a long time southern farmers had been importuned to
adopt a more diversified method o f farming to offset the effects
o f unexpected misfortune in the cotton industry and to preserve
the value o f the soil. Following the ravages o f the boll weevil,
the idea gained wide application. The cotton acreage was cut
down and other crops substituted. The cultivation o f cotton
requires about five times as many laborers as the cultivation
o f com and the work is fairly continuous for a few employes
throughout the year. Additional unemployment for negro ten1 Work, Report on Negro Migration from Alabama.



ant farmers was an expected result o f this diversification. The
greatest immediate disadvantage to negro planters and small
farmers resulting from the failure o f the cotton crops was
the lack o f money and credit to sustain them while the corn
and velvet beans were being grown. It was for like reasons
impracticable to attempt to raise stock, for there was no means
o f making a beginning, as a certain amount o f capital was
Despite the fact that food prices began to rise with the war,
wages advanced very slowly. In 1915, wages o f farm laborers
in the South averaged around 75 cents a day. In the towns
the principal opportunities for employment were in the oil mills,
lumber mills, cotton compresses, railroad shops and domestic
service. In the mills and shops the average o f wages ranged
from $1 to $1.50 a day. The wages o f such skilled laborers
as carpenters and bricklayers ranged from $2 to $3.50 a day.
In domestic service women received from $1.50 to $3 per week
and board. Men in domestic service received on an average o f
$5 a week.1
In spite o f these conditions in the South it might appear
strange that not until fifty years after the privilege was granted
negroes to go where they pleased did they begin to make a
sudden rush for the northern States. Stranger still does it seem
that, despite the fairly general agreement among southern negroes
that the North affords greater personal liberty, is less prejudiced
to individuals because o f the color o f their skins, grants to
negroes something nearer to open handed justice, participation
in the government, wider privileges and freer associations, there
should be in 1910 scarcely more than one-tenth o f the negro
population where these reputed advantages are. The North
has been looked upon as the “ Promised Land,” the “ Ark o f
Safety,” the “ House o f Refuge ” for all these years. A com­
mon reason recently advanced by the majority o f southern
negroes for the abandonment o f their homes was the desire to
escape from the oppressive social system o f their section. W hy
have they not escaped before? The answer lies in the very hard
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.



fact that, though the North afforded larger privileges, it would
not support negroes. It was the operation o f an inexorable
economic law, confused with a multitude o f social factors, that
pushed them back to the soil o f the South despite their manifest
desire to leave it.
None o f the causes was more effective than that o f the
opportunity to earn a better living. Wages offered in the North
were double and treble those received in the South. Women
who received $2.50 a week in domestic service could earn from
$2.10 to $2.50 a day and men receiving $1.10 and $1.25 a day
could earn from $2.50 to $3.75 a day in the various industries
in the North.1 An intensive study o f the migration to Pitts1 Attractive advertisements appeared in negro newspapers with wide cir­
culation in the South. These are from the Chicago Defender.
“ Wanted— 10 molders. Must be experienced. $4.50 to $5.50 per day.
Write B. F. R. Defender Office”
“ Wanted—25 girls for dishwashing. Salary $7 a week and board. John
R. Thompson, Restaurant, 314 South State Street. Call between 7 and 8 a.m.
Ask for Mr. Brown.”
“ Wanted—25 young men as bus boys and porters. Salary $8 per week
and board. John R. Thompson, Restaurant, 314 South State Street. Call
between 7 and 8 a.m. Ask for Mr. Brown.”
“ Molders wanted. Good pay, good working conditions. Firms supply
cottages for married men. Apply T. L. Jefferson, 3439 State Street.
“ Ten families and 50 men wanted at once for permanent work in the
Connecticut tobacco fields. Good wages. Inquire National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes, 2303 Seventh Avenue, New York City, New
“ Molders wanted. A large manufacturing concern, ninety miles from
Chicago, is in need o f experienced molders. Wages from $3 to $5.50. Extra
for overtime. Transportation from Chicago only. Apply Chicago League
on Urban Conditions among Negroes. T. Arnold Hill, Executive Secretary,
3719 State Street, Chicago.”
“ Laborers wanted for foundry, warehouse and yard work. Excellent
opportunity to learn trades, paying good money. Start $2.50—$2.75 per day.
Extra for overtime. Transportation advanced from Chicago only. Apply
Chicago League on Urban Conditions among Negroes, 3719 South State
Street. Chicago.”
“ Experienced machinists, foundrymen, pattern makers wanted, for perma­
nent work in Massachusetts. Apply National League on Urban Conditions
among Negroes, 2303 7th Ave., New York City.”
“ 3,000 laborers to work on railroad. Factory hires all race help. More
positions open than men for them.”
“ Men wanted at once. Good steady employment for colored. Thirty
and 39Yz cents per hour. Weekly payments. Good warm sanitary quarters
free. Best commissary privileges. Towns o f Newark and Jersey City.
Fifteen minutes by car line offer cheap and suitable homes for men with
families. For out of town parties o f ten or more cheap transportation will
be arranged. Only reliable men who stay on their job are wanted. Apply



burgh, made by Mr. Abraham Epstein, gives an idea o f the
difference in wages paid in the North and the South. His
findings may be quoted: “ The great mass o f workers get higher
wages here than in the places from which they come. Fifty-six
per cent received less than two dollars a day in the South, while
only five per cent received such wages in Pittsburgh.” Sixtytwo per cent received between $2 and $3 per day in Pittsburgh
as compared with 25 per cent in the South, and 28 per cent
received between $3 and $3.60 in this city as compared with
four per cent in the South.
The inability to educate their children properly because o f
the inadequacy o f school facilities was another cause which has
been universally given for leaving the South.1 The basis for
this frequently voiced complaint is well set forth in the study
o f Negro Education by Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones.2
or write Butterworth Judson Corporation, Box 273, Newark, New Jersey, or
Daniel T. Brantley, 315 West 119th Street, New York City.”
“ $3.60 per day can be made in a steel foundry in Minnesota, by strong,
healthy, steady men. Open only to men living in Chicago. Apply in person.
Chicago League on Urban Conditions among Negroes, 3719 South State
Street, Chicago, Illinois.”
1 An investigator in Mississippi reports the follow ing:
The school population is 60 per cent colored. There are seven white and
two colored schools. The average salaries paid to white assistant teachers
is $75 per month. The average salaries paid to colored assistant teachers is
$32.50 per month. The average number o f pupils taught by white is 30 and
the average number taught by colored is 100.
In the county there are no agricultural high schools or in fact high schools
o f any kind. The whites in the same county have an agricultural high
school o f “ magnificent proportions” and “ excellent facilities,” a literary
high school and about ten consolidated schools.
Negroes complain that the authorities are building white schools in com­
munities where the negro population is five times as great. When they first
sought to establish these consolidated schools, there was a provision that
every one must pay taxes to support them. Negroes who were required to
pay large taxes refused because they were denied the benefits o f the schools.
A law was passed with the provision that the majority o f qualified electors
in a county supervisor’s district might secure one o f these schools on peti­
tion to the Board o f Supervisors and with the understanding that they
would pay taxes. But negroes are not qualified electors and consequently
have no schools.
In Liberty Grove the white school goes to the twelfth grade, with courses
also in music. Automobiles bring the children to school and carry them
back. The negro school in the same community has only one teacher getting
$25 per month and teaching over 200 children. There are two large negro
denominational schools, Jackson College and Campbell College which serve
to supplement the public schools provided by the city.
2 Jones, Negro Education, vol. II, pp. 14, 15, Bulletin, 1916, No. 30 o f the
United States Bureau o f Education.



The inadequacy o f the elementary school system for colored children is
indicated both by the comparisons o f public appropriations already given
and by the fact that the attendance in both public and private schools is
only 58.1 per cent of the children six to fourteen years o f age. The average
length o f the public school term is less than five months in practically all
o f the southern States. Most o f the school buildings, especially those in
the rural districts, are in wretched condition. There is little supervision and
little effort to improve the schools or adapt their efforts to the needs o f
the community. The reports o f the State Departments o f Georgia and
Alabama indicate that 70 per cent o f the colored teachers have third grade
or temporary certificates, representing a preparation less than that usually
given in the first eight elementary grades. Investigations made by super­
visors o f colored schools in other States indicate that the percentage o f
poorly prepared colored teachers is almost as high in the other southern
The supervisor o f white elementary rural schools in one o f the States
recently wrote concerning negro schools: “ I never visit one o f these
(negro) schools without feeling that we are wasting a large part o f this
money and are neglecting a great opportunity. The negro schoolhouses are
miserable beyond all description. They are usually without comfort, equip­
ment, proper lighting or sanitation. Nearly all o f the negroes o f school age
in the district are crowded into these miserable structures during the short
term which the school runs. Most o f the teachers are absolutely untrained
and have been given certificates by the county board, not because they have
passed the examination, but because it is necessary to have some kind o f
negro teacher. Among the negro rural schools which I have visited, I have
found only one in which the highest class knew the multiplication table.”

The treatment which the negroes received at the hands o f
the courts and the guardians o f the peace constituted another
cause o f the migration. Negroes largely distrust the courts
and have to depend on the influence o f their aristocratic white
friends. When a white man assaults a negro he is not pun­
ished. When a white man kills a negro he is usually freed
without extended legal proceedings, but the rule as laid down
by the southern judge is usually that when a negro kills a white
man, whether or not in self-defense, the negro must die. Negro
witnesses count for nothing except when testifying against
members o f their own race. The testimony o f a white man
is conclusive in every instance. In no State o f the South can
a negro woman get a verdict for seduction, nor in most cases
enter a suit against a white man; nor, where a white man is
concerned, is the law o f consent made to apply to a negro girl.



It will be said, however, that such drastic action is not gen­
eral in the South; but throughout the Black Belt the negroes
suffer from arrests and impositions for petty offenses which make
their lives sometimes miserable. The large number o f negroes
owning automobiles is a source o f many conflicts. Many col­
lisions, possibly avoidable, have resulted in wresting from the
negroes concerned excessive damages which go to increase the
returns o f the courts. For example, the chauffeur o f one o f
the most influential negroes in Mississippi collided with a white
man’s car. Although there was sufficient evidence to exonerate
the chauffeur concerned, the owner o f the vehicle was forced
to pay damages and sell his car.1
In the Birmingham district o f Alabama a striking discrimi­
nation is made in the arrests for failure to pay the street tax.
Mr. Henry L. Bad ham, President o f the Bessemer Coal, Iron
and Land Company, said in commenting on the causes o f the
I do not blame the negroes for going away from Birmingham. The
treatment that these unfortunate negroes are receiving from the police is
enough to make them desire to depart. The newspapers have printed articles
about the departure o f the laborers from Birmingham. On one page there
is a story to the effect that something should be done to prevent the exodus
o f the negroes to other cities. And then on the same page there appears
a little paragraph stating that negroes were arrested for failure to pay $2.50
street tax. The injustice o f arresting these negroes for the inability to
have $2.50 ready to turn over into the coffers o f the city is obvious. While
they have been taken into custody, despite their protests that they merely
have not a sufficient amount o f money with which to meet the demand, you
do not see that white men are arrested for the failure to pay the tax.
There is no gainsaying the fact that there are thousands o f men walking the
streets who have not paid a similar sum into the treasury o f the city. The
negroes ought to get a square deal. When he is without funds, you can not
blame him for that. The city police ought to be more reliable, or at least
show no favoritism.2

The fee system in the courts o f the South is one o f the
most effective causes o f the migration. The employers o f labor
fought this system for eight years and finally got it abolished
in Jefferson county, Alabama. Under this system the sheriff
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.
2 Montgomery Advertiser.



received a fee for feeding all prisoners. The greater the num­
ber o f prisoners, the greater would be the income for the sheriff's
office. As a result, it became customary in Jefferson county,
Alabama, to arrest negroes in large numbers. Deputy sheriffs
would go out to mining camps where there were large numbers
o f laborers and bring back fifty or more negroes at a time.
This condition became unbearable both to the employer and
to the employe. Calling attention to the evil o f this fee system,
Dr. W . H. Oates, State Prison Inspector, said in his annual
report for 1 9 1 4 :1
The vile, pernicious, pervading fee system beggars description and my
vocabulary is inadequate to describe its deleterious and baneful effects. It
increases in the management o f our jails greed for the almighty dollar.
Prisoners are arrested because o f the dollar and, shame to say, are fre­
quently kept in captivity for months in steel cages for no other reason than
the almighty dollar.

During the fiscal year ending September 30, 1917, Jefferson
county had 6,000 prisoners as follows:
In jail at the beginning o f the year................................... 328
Incarcerated during the year:
White men ................................ 1,289
Negro men ................................ 3,636
White women .......................... 118
Negro women .......................... 969

.............................. 6,340

The fee bill, according to the sheriff's annual report o f this
department was $37,688.90. As the law provided that for
each prisoner the sheriff shall receive 30 cents a day for feed­
ing, and as a matter o f fact the sheriff fed them for 10 cents
a day, it is clear that he made a net profit o f $25,125.94 during
one fiscal year or at the same rate for his term o f four years,
Another frequent complaint was directed against the accom­
modations for travel. It generally happens that the cars are
crowded because the amount o f space allotted is insufficient, and
1 Annual Report o f the Prison Inspector o f Alabama, 1914.
2 Report of the Sheriff o f Jefferson County, Alabama, 1917.



negroes as a dass are denied accommodation in sleeping and
dining cars. Usually there is but one toilet for both sexes and
the waiting rooms at stations are cut off, unclean and insani­
tary. Then there are numerous petty offenses, which in themsdves appear trifling, but which are spoken o f as being on the
whole considerably annoying. White men are permitted to come
into the negroes’ part o f the coach and entertain the conductor,
newsboy and flagman, all o f whom usually make their headquar­
ters there. The drunkards, the insane and other undesirables
are forced into this comparment among negro women who have
to listen to oaths and vulgar utterances. In stopping at some
points, the trains halt the negro car in muddy and abominably
disagreeable places; the rudeness and incivility o f the public
servants are ever apparent, and at the stations the negroes must
wait at a separate window until every white passenger has pur­
chased a ticket before he is waited on, although he may be de­
layed long enough to miss the train.
Both whites and negroes in mentioning the reasons for the
movement generally give lynching as one o f the most important
causes and state that the fear o f the mob has greatly accelerated
the exodus. Negroes in Florida gave as their reason for going
north the horrible lynchings in Tennessee. The white press
in Georgia maintained that lynchings were driving the negroes
in large numbers from that State. A careful study o f the
movement, however, shows that bad treatment by representa­
tives o f the law caused almost as many negroes to leave the
South as lynchings, for, whereas lynchings were more or less
sporadic, persecutions and mistreatment by representatives o f
the law were trials which all negroes had continually to bear
and from which they were anxious to escape.1
Many o f these causes then have their origin on the one hand
in the attitude which the South assumes toward the negro as
expressed in law and public opinion, and on the other hand
in the feeling o f the negro toward the South because o f the
treatment given him. A ’ negro educator o f Mississippi sought
to explain the situation, saying:

1Work and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World W ar .



Many white men of high intellectual ability and keen discernment have
mistaken the negroes* silence for contentment, his facial expression for
satisfaction at prevailing conditions, and his songs and jovial air for happi­
ness.1 But this is not always so. These are his methods o f bearing trouble
and keeping his soul sweet under seeming wrongs. In the absence of a
spokesman or means of communication with the whites over imagined
grievances, he has brightened his countenance, smiled and sung to ease his
mind. In the midst o f it all he is unable to harmonize with the practices of
daily life the teachings of the Bible which the white Christian placed in
his hands. He finds it difficult to harmonize the fatherhood o f God and
the brotherhood o f man, and his faith is put to the test in the Providence
which enslaved his ancestors, corrupted his blood and placed upon him
stigmas more damaging than to be a leper or convict by making his color
a badge o f infamy and his preordained social position at the bottom o f
human society. So firmly has his status been fixed by this Providence that
neither moral worth, fidelity to trust, love of home, loyalty to country, or
faith in God can raise him to human recognition.
When he remembers that he has been the beast o f burden o f southern
civilization and the foundation o f its luxuriant ease, when he rehearses to
his children that he was the South’s sole dependence when his master was
away repelling hostile armies, and how he worked by day and guarded his
unprotected mistress and her children at night, or accompanied his master
to the swamps o f Virginia and the Carolinas and bound up his wounds or
brought his maimed or dead body home on his shoulders, these children
can not understand the attitude o f the South toward them. They do not
understand why they have not been educated to efficiency and employed to
the best interest o f the South. They do not understand why they have not
been given better living conditions, a more equitable division o f funds appro­
priated for the education o f the youth, nor provisions made for their higher
or professional training, or why so much prejudice is engendered in the
practice o f these professions among their own people. They do not under­
stand why they have been made to toil at starvation wages and to pay
heavy fines and suffer long prison sentences for stealing food and clothing.
They do not understand why no estimate is placed upon negro virtue and
the full rights o f citizenship are denied to negroes o f education, character
and worth. If some mysterious Providence has ordained that they support
themselves and employers by farming, they do not understand why they are
deprived o f agricultural schools. They do not see why mere prejudice
would prevent them from obtaining a square deal when contending for the
1 Mr. Charles S. Johnson reports the following from Mississippi:
“ The police o f most of the cities are rough and indiscriminate in their
treatment o f negroes. At the depot during the summer, on several occa­
sions, negro porters were severely beaten by policemen for trivial reasons.
This, it was said, started a stream o f young men that cleaned the town o f
“ Fee constables made their living from arresting negroes, indiscriminately,
on trivial charges. A white man, to whom a prominent negro physician had
gone for advice on a case concerning his arrest on a charge o f having no
lights on his automobile, said, * If I were a negro, I would rather appear
before a Russian court than come before a court here for trial.’ ”



possessions o f life, liberty and property. They do not understand why
they are not protected from petty peace officers in search o f fees and from
mobs while in the hands o f officers o f the law. Finally, they do not under­
stand why there is so little genuine sympathy and brotherhood between
them and the only people they know—the people whose language and cus­
toms they use, under whose laws they live, whose Bible they read, whose
God they serve. These thoughts possessed the negroes* mind when, twelve
months ago, the boll weevil and rains destroyed the crops in the South
and the European war was calling foreigners from field and factory in the

One should bear in mind that the two generations o f negroes
living in the South are affected differently by the measures o f
control o f the whites, and in many cases respond differently to
treatment received. The older generation o f whites and blacks
avoided much friction by a sort o f mutual understanding. The
children o f colored and white parents come less frequently into
friendly contact and find it difficult to live together on the
terms accepted by their fathers. Negro parents appreciate this
situation but, although admitting that they can tolerate the
position to which they are assigned, they do not welcome such
an arrangement for their children. F or this reason they are
not reluctant to send their sons away from home. Should the
children remain there, they live in a state o f anxiety for their
safety. They would not have them grow up as they, en­
compassed by restraints, and the young men themselves appear
to entertain toward the prevailing system a more aggressive
A woman o f color in Greenville, Mississippi, for example,
had a son in a northern State and was afraid to invite him
home to pay a visit because, as she stated, “ for him to accept
the same abuses to which we, his parents, are accustomed, would
make him much less than the man we would have him be.”
Another negro, a physician, the “ Nestor ” o f his profession,
having practiced in his State over thirty-five years, said:
Sir, I can’t expect my son to accept the treatment under which I have
been brought up. My length o f residence here and the number o f friends
whom I know o f the older and more aristocratic type o f whites will protect
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.



me, but as for him, there is no friendship. Now, as for me, there is no
reason why I should leave. I am making as much money as I could
anywhere else and all o f the white people respect me. But I am just one
out o f a thousand. The younger men have neither my contact nor influence.

A lawyer o f remarkable talent formerly o f Mississippi, now
living with his children in Chicago, who had felt keenly this
humiliation and recognized it as one o f the motives behind his
change o f residence, thus stated the situation:
One peculiar phase o f the white southern prejudice is that no matter
how well liked or popular a colored man be in any community, his son
does not share that popularity unless he enters a field o f endeavor dis­
tinctly lower in the scale than that occupied by his parent. My experience
goes both ways on this subject. My stepfather was a dearly beloved colored
man o f the old school, but when he sent me off to Oberlin College I
returned to find that the community in which I had been beloved as a boy
in attendance at the rude country school looked at me askance. It took
twenty years to overcome the handicap of attempting to occupy a higher
sphere than that to which the community thought it right to assign me.
My experiences were repeated by my son. He was a well liked boy by
the best people in a city o f about twenty-five thousand, because he was my
son and was polite and agreeable. When he went to a nearby Mississippi
college and worked in his summer vacations in a local industrial plant, they
still thought well o f him, but when it was learned that he was being gradu­
ated at Oberlin College, and his picture appeared in a college year book,
among others, my intimate white friends wanted to know the necessity for
so much education and, with a shrug o f the shoulder, they let all mention
of him drop, as if he had offended the most sacred laws o f the community.
This spirit appeared so marked that I did not have him come back to visit
his mother and me during the summer vacation. I have seen the same spirit
in many instances. No man can explain why it is, but it is so.1
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.

Stimulation of the Movement
It is not surprising that the exodus grew so contagious when
viewed in the light o f the numerous factors which played a part
in influencing its extension. Considering the temper o f the
South and its attitude toward any attempt to reduce its labor
supply, it is readily apparent that leaders who openly encour­
aged the exodus would be in personal danger. There were, o f
course, some few who did venture to voice their belief in it,
but they were in most cases speedily silenced. A Methodist
minister was sent to jail because he was said to have been en­
ticing laborers to go north and work for a New York firm,
which would give employment to fifty o f his people. The tactics
adopted by influential persons who favored the movement, there­
fore, were o f necessity covert and very much guarded.
One o f the chief stimuli was discussion. The very fact that
negroes were leaving in large numbers was a disturbing factor.
The talk in the barber shops and grocery stores where men
were wont to assemble soon began to take the form o f reasons
for leaving. There it was the custom to review all the instances
o f mistreatment and injustice which fell to the lot o f the negro
in the South. It was here also that letters from the North were
read and fresh news on the exodus was first given out. In
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, it was stated that for a while there
was no subject o f discussion but the migration. “ The packing
houses in Chicago for a while seemed to be everything,” said
one negro. “ Y ou could not rest in your bed at night for
Chicago.” Chicago came to be so common a word that they
began to call it “ Chi.”
Men went down to talk with the
Chicago porters on the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad which ran




through the town. They asked questions about the weather in
Chicago. The report was that it was the same as in Hattiesburg.1
In every circle the advisability o f leaving was debated. In
the churches the pastors, seeing their flocks leaving, at first
attempted to dissuade them.- The people refused to come to
church. In the church meetings there were verbal clashes on
the matter o f the attitude toward the migration. Some few had
been careful enough to go north and investigate for themselves
and friends. A man learned o f the North through a friend
whose relatives wrote him from that section. He, thereupon,
decided to pay a visit of two weeks, going in August. The
attitude o f the North overwhelmed him. At Fulton, Kentucky,
while he was on the train a white man was sitting in front o f
him. He wanted to ask him a question but hesitated fearing
that he would be rebuffed. He finally addressed the stranger,
who answered him courteously and kindly, calling his attention
to other points o f interest in the North. At Gary, Indiana, he
met a gentleman who said he had been mayor o f Gary for
seven years. He described the Gary school system and prom­
ised him an education for his children. He was assured em­
ployment at $4 a day for eight hours’ work.1
A still more powerful, though insidious factor, was the work
o f public speakers who hid their intentions behind their unique:
method o f presentation. In a lecture on the question o f migra­
tion a speaker, who is a widely known character, made these
So many o f my folks are leaving that I thought I'd go up and see
whether or not they had made a mistake. I found thousands o f old friends
up there making more money than they'd ever made in their lives. I said
to one woman in Chicago, ‘‘ Well, Sister ------, I see you're here.” “ Yes,
Brother ------, I'm here, thank the Lord.” “ Do you find it any colder up
here than it was in Mississippi?” “ Did I understand you correctly to say
cold ? Honey, I mean it’s cold. It is some cold.” “ But you expect to
return, don't y o u ? ” “ Don’t play with me, chile. What am I going to
return for? I should say not. Up here you see when I come out on the
street I walk on nice smooth pavements. Down home I got to walk home
through the mud. Up here at nights it don't matter much about coming
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 Ibid.



home from church. Down home on my street there ain’t a single lamp
post. And say, honey, I got a bath tub! ” 1

He related the instance o f his visit to an automobile plant
where he was met at the door by a “ stalwart, handsome, sixfooter as black as midnight.” He asked his companion the
name o f this “ potentate.” He was told that this man was
an experienced machinist. Every car that passed out o f that
plant must have his O. K. He added further that his salary
was something like $100 a week and that the incident showed
the unlimited chance for expansion in the North. When he
began to enumerate some o f the positions which “ men o f the
race” were holding, the audience became enthusiastic beyond
control. One man in the audience, who had been to Detroit,
could restrain himself no longer and stood up to inform the
audience that there were also colored street car conductors and
motormen and that he had seen them with his own eyes. The
speaker paid no attention to this interruption and the audience
appeared not to notice it, but began to exchange reports among
themselves. The speaker added that he had found negroes in
the North, well dressed and looking like men— for the first time
in their lives—-men who were simply “ bums ” at home. In
excusing the indisposition o f some negroes toward work, he
said, “ H ow in the world can you expect a man to work faith­
fully all day long for fifty cents? ” *
Am ong the important stimuli were the rumors in circulation.
When a community is wrought up, it is less difficult to believe
remarkable tales. T o persons beyond the influence o f this ex­
citement it is somewhat difficult to conceive how the rumor that
the Germans were on their way through Texas to take the
southern States could have been believed. And yet it is re­
ported that this extravagant fiction was taken seriously in some
quarters. On the outskirts o f Meridian, Mississippi, a band o f
gypsies was encamped. The rumor gained circulation that the
Indians were coming back to retake their land lost years ago.
It was further rumored that the United States Government
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
* Ibid.



was beginning a scheme to transport all negroes from the South
to break up the Black Belt. Passed from mouth to mouth, un­
restrainedly these reports became verities.
It was further asserted on the word and honor “ o f one in
position to know ” that the Chicago packing houses needed and
would get fifty thousand negroes before the end o f the year.
One explanation o f the belief that the South was overrun with
labor agents was the fact that every strange face came to be
recognized as a man from the North looking for laborers.
If he denied it, they simply thought he was concealing his iden­
tity from the police, and if he said nothing, his silence was re­
garded as sufficient affirmation. Hundreds o f disappointments
are to be traced to the rumor that a train would leave on a
certain date. Hundreds would come to the station prepared to
leave and, when no agent appeared, purchased their own tickets.
The questions o f wages and privileges were grossly featured.
Some men, on being questioned, supposed that it was possible
for every common laborer to receive from $4 to $10 a day, and
that $50 a week was not an unusual wage. The strength o f this
belief has been remarked by several social agencies in the North
which attempted to supply the immigrants with work. The
actual wages paid, though much in excess o f those they had
been receiving, were often disappointing. Similarly in the mat­
ter o f privilege and “ rights” it was later revealed that un­
bounded liberty was not to be found in the North. The singular
cases o f misconduct, against which the more sober minded
preached, possibly had their root in the beautiful and one-sided
pictures o f the North which came to the South.
The Chicago Defender, a weekly negro newspaper, with its
pronounced radical utterances, its criticism o f the South, its
policy o f retaliation, etc., contributed greatly to the exodus.1
1 Some o f the material prepared by the Defender for consumption in the
South was as follows:
“ Turn a deaf everybody. You see they are not lifting their laws
to help you, are they? Have they stopped their Jim Crow cars? Can you
buy a Pullman sleeper where you wish? Will they give you a square deal
in court yet? When a girl is sent to prison she becomes the mistress o f the
guards and others in authority, and women prisoners are put on the streets
to work—something they don’t do to a white woman. And our leaders



Its influence can be imagined when, after reading the southern
white papers with only occasional references to the negroes
which might be called commendable and numerous articles which
were for the most part distasteful, negroes could read the things
they wanted to hear most, expressed in a manner in which they
would not dare express them. It voiced the unexpressed thoughts
o f many and made accusations for which they themselves would
have been severely handled. Freud’s theory o f the suppressed
wish finds a happy illustration in this rage over the Chicago De­
fender. Expressed in terms o f figures, the circulation o f the
paper at the beginning o f the movement was something like
50,000. In 1918 it had grown to 125,000. It had a large cir­
culation in Mississippi and the supply was usually bought up
on the first day o f its arrival. Copies were passed around until
worn out. One prominent negro asserted that “ negroes grab
the Defender like a hungry mule grabs fodder.” In Gulfport,
Mississippi, a man was regarded “ intelligent ” if he read the
Defender. It was said that in Laurel, Mississippi, old men who
did not know how to read would buy it because it was regarded
as precious.
It was this paper that named the exodus “ The Great Northern
Drive,” and set the date May 15th, announced the arrivals and
took responsibility fo r inducing “ the poor brethren ” from
the South. It was accused o f ruining Hattiesburg, Mississippi,
by promoting this rush to the North. The sale o f this paper
was, therefore, forbidden in several towns in the South. A
correspondent said: “ W hite people are paying more attention
to the race in order to keep them in the South, but the Chicago
Defender has emblazoned upon their minds ‘ Bound for the
Promised Land.’ ”

will tell you the South is the best place for you. Turn a deaf ear to the
scoundrel, and let him stay. Above all, see to it that that jumping-jack
preacher is left in the South, for he means you no good here in the
N orth.. . . Once upon a time we permitted other people to think for us—
today we are thinking and acting for ourselves, with the result that our
‘ friends ’ are getting alarmed at our progress. W e’d like to oblige these
unselfish ( ? ) souls and remain slaves in the South; but to other sections
o f the country we have said, as the song goes, ‘ I hear you calling me,’ and
have boarded the train, singing, ‘ Good-bye, Dixie Land.’ ”



In answer to the warnings o f the South against the rigors of
the northern winters, the Defender said:
To die from the bite o f frost is far more glorious than at the hands o f a
mob. I beg you, my brother, to leave the benighted land. You are a free
man. Show the world that you will not let false leaders lead you. Your neck
has been in the yoke. Will you continue to keep it there because some “ white
folks* nigger * wants you to ? Leave for all quarters of the globe. Get out
o f the South. Your being there in the numbers in which you are gives the
southern politician too strong a hold on your progress. . . . So much has
been said through the white papers in the South abeut the members o f the
race freezing to death in the North. They freeze to death down South
when they don*t take care o f themselves. There is no reason for any human
being staying in the Southland on this bugaboo handed out by the white
If you can freeze to death in the North and be free, why freeze to death
in the South and be a slave, where your mother, sister and daughter are
raped and burned at the stake; where your father, brother and sons are
treated with contempt and hung to a pole, riddled with bullets at the least
mention that he does not like the way he is treated. Come North then, all
you folks, both good and bad. If you don’t behave yourselves up here, the
jails will certainly make you wish you had. For the hard-working man
there is plenty o f work—if you really want it. The Defender says come.1
1 The following clippings are taken from these white papers:
“ Aged Negro Frozen to Death—Albany, Ga., February 8.
‘‘ Yesterday the dead body o f Peter Crowder, an old negro, was found in
an out-of-the-way place where he had been frozen to death during the recent
cold snap "-—
Macon Telegraph.
“ Dies from Exposure—Spartanburg, S. C., February 6.
“ Marshall Jackson, a negro man, who lived on fhe farm o f J. T. Harris
near Campobello, Sunday night froze to death.”—South Carolina State.
“ Negro Frozen to Death in Fireless Gretna Hut.
“ Coldest weather in the last four years claimed a victim Friday night,
when Archie Williams, a negro, was frozen to death in his bed in a little
hut in the outskirts o f Gretna.” —New Orleans Item, February 4.
“ Negro Woman Frozen to Death Monday.
“ Harriet Tolbert, an aged negro woman, was frozen to death in her home
at 18 Garibaldi Street early Monday morning during the severe cold.” —
Atlanta Constitution, February 6.
2 Articles such as the following kept alive the spirit o f the exodus:
“ Tampa, Florida, January 19. J. T. King, supposed to be a race leader,
is using his wits to get on the good side o f the white people by calling a
meeting to urge our people not to migrate north. King has been termed
a ‘ good nigger * by his pernicious activity on the emigration question. Re­
ports have been received here that all who have gone north are at work
and pleased with the splendid conditions in the North. It is known here
that in the North there is a scarcity o f labor; mills and factories are open
to them. People are not paying any attention to King and are packing and
ready to travel north to the ‘ promised land.* *
“ Jackson, Miss., March 23. J. H. Thomas, Birmingham, Alabama, Browns­
ville Colony, has been here several weeks and is very much pleased with



The idea that the South is a bad place, unfit for the habitation
o f colored folk, was duly emphasized. Conditions most dis­
tasteful to negroes were exaggerated and given first prominence.
In this the Defender had a clear field, for the local colored
newspapers dared not make such unrestrained utterances.1 In
the North. He is working at the Pullman Shops, making twice as much as
he did at home. Mr. Thomas says the ‘ exodus' will be greater later on in
the year, that he did not find four feet o f snow or would freeze to death.
He lives at 346 East Thirty-fifth St.”
“ Huntsville, Alabama, January 19. Fifteen families, all members o f the
race, left here today for Pittsburgh, Pa., where they will take positions as
butlers and maids, getting sixty to seventy-five dollars a month against
fifteen and twenty paid here. Most o f them claim that they have letters
from their friends who went early and made good saying that there was
plenty o f work, and this field o f labor is short owing to the vast amount o f
men having gone to Europe and not returned.”
“ Shreveport, La., April 13. The Business Men's League held a meeting
here and the white daily papers reported that it was for the purpose o f
discouraging people from going north. The meeting had no such object. On
the other hand, members o f the race claim that on May 15th they will be
found leaving with the great northern drive.”
“ The northern invasion has already started, much earlier than predicted.
Many members o f the race refused to wait until spring. They have started
despite the snow and cold. Last week thirty-one came here from Hatties­
burg, Mississippi, and said they intended to stay. They were well clothed,
having heavy overcoats and rubber overshoes.”
“ Memphis, Tenn., June 1. Your correspondent took a walk to Central
station Saturday night just to see what was going on, and to his surprise
and delight, he saw gathered there between 1,500 and 2,000 race men and
women. Number 4, due to leave for Chicago at 8:00 o'clock, was held up
twenty minutes so that those people who hadn't purchased tickets might be
taken aboard. It was necessary to add two additional eighty-foot steel
coaches to the Chicago train in order to accommodate the race people, and
at the lowest calculation there were more than 1,200 taken aboard.”
“ St. Louis, Mo., May 11. The Defender propaganda to leave sections of
the South where they find conditions intolerable is receiving a hearty
response. A communication was received by a Defender representative last
week from Houston, Texas, asking for information relative to conditions
in this city and the writer stated a number o f persons were planning to
leave Houston for this city later on. The information was promptly and
cheerfully given.”
“ Tallulah, La., January 19. This time it’s a professor. Heretofore it
has been the preachers who have been paid by the white men o f the South
to tell our people that the North is no place for them. A bigger lie never
was uttered. But now it is a professor. He is licking the white man’s hand
to hold a little $35 job as a backwoods school teacher. He got his name in
the papers (white) as ‘ good nigger.’ Just because this ‘ would-be pro­
fessor’ has been making speeches, asking that our people remain here and
be treated like dogs, they are starting a crusade north, and by Easter there
will not be one left to tell the tale.”
1 “ Forest City, Ark., February 16. David B. Smith (white) is on trial
for life for the brutal murder o f a member of the race, W. H. Win ford,
who refused to be whipped like others. This white man had the habit of
making his ‘ slave’ submit to this sort o f punishment and when Win ford



fact, reading the Chicago Defender provided a very good sub­
stitute for the knowledge which comes through travel. It had
the advantage o f bringing the North to them. Without fear
o f exaggeration it is safe to say its policy was successful in
inciting thousands o f restless negroes to venture north, where
they were assured o f its protection and the championship of their
cause. There are in Chicago migrants who attribute their pres­
ence in the North to its encouraging pictures o f relief from
conditions at home with which they became more and more
dissatisfied, as they read.
The setting o f a definite date was another stimulus. The
great northern drive was scheduled to begin May 15, 1917.
This date, or the week following, singularly corresponds with
the date o f the heaviest rush to the North, the periods o f greatest
temporary congestion and the awakening o f the North to the
presence o f their guests. Letters to the Chicago Defender and
to the social agencies in the North informed them that they
were preparing to come in the great drive. One o f many such
letters received is presented.
April 24, 1917.
M r. R . S. A bbott,

Editor, the Chicago Defender,
I have been reading the Defender for one year or more, and last February
I read about the great northern drive to take place May 15, on Thursday,
and now I can hear so many people speaking o f an excursion to the North
on the 15th o f May for $3. My husband is in the North already working,
and he wants us to come up in May, so I want to know if it is true about
the excursion. I am getting ready and, oh, so many others also, and we
want to know is that true so we can be in the drive. So please answer at
once. W e are getting ready.

This was perhaps the most popular date, but there were others,
o f which August 15 was one. Usually the dates set were for
Wednesday and Saturday nights, following pay days.
refused to stand for it, he was whipped to death with a ‘ black snake* whip.
The trial o f Smith is attracting very little attention. As a matter o f fact,
the white people here think nothing o f it as the dead man is a ‘ nigger/
This very act, coupled with other recent outrages that have been heaped
upon our people, are causing thousands to leave, not waiting for the great
spring movement in May.”



Personal appeals in the form o f letters have a recognized
weight in influencing action. The United States mail was about
the most active and efficient labor agent. The manner in which
the first negroes left made great opportunities for letter writing.
It is to be remembered that the departure o f one person was re­
garded always in the light o f an experiment. The understanding
existed between a man and his friends that he would honestly
inform them o f conditions in the North. Letters were passed
around and read before large groups. A woman from Hatties­
burg is accredited with having sent back a letter which enticed
away over 200 persons. A tailor who had settled in a town
o f white people in the West wrote a letter which was read in
a church. It explained the advantages o f the free schools open
to all, and the privilege to ride and to go where one pleases.
The reading o f the letter brought forth long and loud applause.
A man who had left home, writes back to his friend yet un­
decided :
Mike, old boy, I was promoted on the first o f the month. I was made
first assistant to the head carpenter. When he is out o f place I take every­
thing in charge and was raised to $95 per month. You know I know my
stuff. What's the news generally around H ’burg? I should have been
here twenty years ago. I just begin to feel like a man. It's a great deal
o f pleasure in knowing that you have got some privileges. My children are
going to the same school with the whites and I don't have to humble to
no one. I have registered. Will vote the next election and there isn't any
‘ yes, sir, and no, sir.* It's all yes and no, and no, Sam, and Bill.

The man has long since been joined by his friend.
The pastor o f a Hattiesburg church received a letter from
one o f his members with the extravagant assertion that the
people whose funerals he had preached were in Chicago (mean­
ing Heaven) because they were good Christians. T o give as­
surance on the question o f weather migrants in the North would
mention the fact that they were writing with their coats off.
A fact which strengthened the belief in the almost incredible
wages offered in the North was the money sent back to the
families in the South. A man whose wife had preceded him
wrote that she was making $3.50 a day in charge o f a bluing
works in Chicago, and actually sent home $15 every two weeks.



Another man wrote that he was in Gary working at his trade
making sometimes as much as $7 a day. He sent home $30
every two weeks. Fully one-half, or perhaps even more of
those who left, did so at the solicitation o f friends through
Despite the restraints on loose talk in encouragement of
the exodus, there were other means o f keeping the subject alive.
One method, o f course, was the circulation o f literature from
the North. One o f the most novel schemes was that o f a
negro dentist in a southern town who had printed on the reverse
side o f his business cards quotations from rather positive asser­
tions by northerners on the migration.2 The northern press
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 “ There is no class o f people and no ethical question that will not feel
the effects o f the war. The negroes o f this country who go to France to
fight, or who replace workingmen who go as soldiers will demand, and
justly so, full American rights. The United States can not stand before
the world as the champion o f freedom and democracy and continue to burn
men alive and lynch them without fair trial. The National Association for
the Advancement o f Colored People calls upon this country to ‘ clear her
conscience before she can fight for the world’s good,’ by abolishing lynching
and ceasing all oppression o f negroes. This is a national problem and more
particularly one o f the South. In Europe there are practically no race
distinctions. A negro can mix with white folk as an equal, just as a
Spaniard, for example, does here; even intermarriage is not regarded as
miscegenation. The race problem here is a different matter, however, as
even the more intelligent negroes themselves will acknowledge. The negro
should be assured all the protection and rights that go with American
citizenship, but in this is not involved intermarriage or social equality.”—
Leslie*s Illustrated Weekly, October 13, 1917.
“ The foreign laborer has been called home to bear arms for his country.
The daily death toll and waste and the recently enacted immigration law
make it certain that he will not soon return in great numbers. As a result
a large market exists for the negro laborer in localities in which he would
have been considered an impudent trespasser had he attempted to enter a
few years ago. The history of the world from the days o f Moses to the
present shows that where one race has been subjugated, oppressed or
proscribed by another and exists in large numbers, permanent relief has
come in one or two ways—amalgamation or migration. The thought of
amalgamation is not to be entertained. If conditions in the South for the
colored man are to be permanently improved, many o f those who now live
there should migrate and scatter throughout the North, East and West. I
believe the present opportunity providential.”—Hon. John C. Ashbury, Phila­
delphia Bar.
“ This is the psychological moment to say to the American white govern­
ment from every pulpit and platform and through every newspaper, ‘ Yes,
we are loyal and patriotic. Boston Common, Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, Fort
Pillow, Appomattox, San Juan Hill and Carrizal will testify to our loyalty.
While we love our flag and country, we do not believe in fighting for the
protection o f commerce on the high seas until the powers that be give us
at least some verbal assurance that the property and lives of the members



early welcomed the much needed negro laborers to the North
and leaders o f thought in that section began to upbraid the
South for its antagonistic attitude towards the welfare o f the
negroes, who at last had learned to seek a more congenial home.
A stronger influence than this, though not quite so frequent,
was the returned migrant who was a living example o f the
prosperity o f the North. It was a frequent complaint that
these men were as effective as labor agents in urging negro
laborers to go north. There are reported numerous instances
o f men who came to visit their families and returned with thirty
to forty men. It has been suspected, and with a strong sugges­
tion o f truth, that many o f these were supplied with funds for
the trip by the northern firms which employed them. A woman
whose daughter had gone north had been talking o f her daugh­
ter’s success. The reports were so opposite to the record o f
the girl at home that they were not taken seriously. Soon, how­
ever, the daughter came home with apparently unlimited money
and beautiful clothes, and carried her mother back with her.
This was sufficient. It was remarked afterwards: “ I f she
can make $2.50 a day as lazy as she was, I know I can make
$4.” 1
The labor agents were a very important factor in stimulating
the movement. The number at work in the South appears to
have been greatly exaggerated. Agents were more active in
large cities where their presence was not so conspicuous. It
was difficult to discover because o f the very guarded manner
in which they worked. One, for example, would walk briskly
down the street through a group o f negroes and, without turno f our race are going to be protected on land from Maine to Mississippi.'
Let us have the courage to say to the white American people, ‘ Give us the
same rights which you enjoy, and then we will fight by your side with all
o f our might for every international right on land and sea/ If this kind
o f talk is not loyalty, then I am disloyal; if this is not patriotism, then I
am unpatriotic; if this is treason, then I am a traitor. It is not that I love
Caesar less, but these black Romans more, who have been true to the flag
for two hundred and fifty years. It is infinitely more disgraceful and
outrageous to.hang and burn colored men, boys and women without a trial
m the times o f peace than it is for Germans in times o f war to blow up
ships loaded with mules and molasses.”—Reverend A. Clayton Powell, New
York, N. Y.
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



ing his head, would say in a low tone, “ Anybody want to go
to Chicago, see me.” That was sufficient. Many persons were
found to remark frequently on the strange silence which negroes
cn masse managed to maintain concerning the movement o f the
agents. A white man remarked that it was the first time there
had ever happened anything about which he could not get full
information from some negro. Agents were reported, at one
time or another, in every section from which the migrants
went. When the vigilance o f the authorities restricted their
activities they began working through the mails. Many sections
were flooded with letters from the North to persons whose
names had been obtained from migrants in the North or through
a quiet canvass o f the community by unobstructed solicitors.1
Poems on the migration were also strong stimuli. In some
instances arrests o f persons circulating them were made. A
bit o f poetry which received widespread popularity was one
called “ Bound for the Promised Land.” It was said that this
piece o f poetry was responsible for much trouble. The Chicago
Defender reported on June 1, 1917, that five young men were
arraigned before Judge John E. Schwartz o f Savannah, Georgia,
for reading poetry. The police contended that they were in­
citing riot in the city and over Georgia. Tw o o f the men were
sent for thirty days to Brown Farm, a place not fit for human
beings. Tom Amaca was arrested for having “ Bound for the
Promised Land,” a poem which had been recently published in
the Defender. J. N. Chisholm and A. P. Walker were arrested
there because they were said to be the instigators.2 Another
very popular poem widely circulated was entitled “ Farewell!
W e’re Good and Gone.” It was said that this poem influenced
thousands to go. Other poems on the migration were “ North­
ward Bound,” “ The Land o f Hope ” and “ Negro Migration ”
and “ The Reason W hy.”
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.
2 Ibid.

The Spread of the Movement
In the first communities visited by representatives o f northern
capital, their offers created unprecedented commotion. Drivers
and teamsters left their wagons standing in the street. Workers,
returning home, scrambled aboard the trains for the North
without notifying their employers or their families. The crowds
that blackened the pool rooms and “ hangouts ” faded away
as the trains continued to leave. W ild rumors about the North
crept into circulation and received unquestioning credence.
Songs about Pennsylvania, the spontaneous expression o f anxi­
ety and jo y over the sudden revelation o f a new world, floated
about on the lips o f the children. Homes were thrown on the
market and sold at ruinously low prices.
It was observed that the beginnings in each new community
exhibited the same characteristics. This is due in part to a
pretty universal state o f unrest among negroes throughout the
South. Although the first State entered by representatives o f
northern capital was Florida, their efforts were not confined
to that commonwealth. And again, although the Pennsylvania
and Erie Railroads were the first to import negroes in large
numbers, they were not alone in the field very long. The steel
mills o f the East and the railroads o f the West soon followed—
each selecting States from which egress was easy and con­
venient. The authorities o f the cities o f Florida, when they
began to engage themselves in the suppression o f recruiting
agents, succeeded in scattering them to other fields where their
mere presence, preceded as it was by the news o f their mission
in the South, was sufficient to attract, first, all o f the landless
labor, then to loosen the steady workman wedded to the soil,
and finally to carry away the best o f the working classes. Quite
naturally southeastern Georgia was the second district to feel




the drain o f the exodus. These workers were carried into
Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey for the maintenance
work o f the roads. North Carolina was next entered; then
finally Virginia which had been sending many negroes into
New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for a number o f
Numerous illustrations show the popular state o f mind at
the beginning, when every one was feverish. Men would loudly
decry the folly o f breaking up their homes, the result o f years
o f unrelenting toil, and venturing into the unknown North, and
within less than twenty-four hours, would leave themselves. A
good citizen would talk with another about the apparent in­
sanity o f those negroes who had “ contracted the northern fever.”
They would condemn their acts with their strongest words.
Hardly before another day could pass, one o f the two would
disappear, having imitated the recklessness o f the very people
he had so recently condemned.
One man in telling o f how they acted, asserts “ You could
see a man today and he would be calling the people who were
leaving all kinds o f names; he could even beat you when it
came to calling them fools for going north. The next day
when you met him he wouldn’t talk so loud and the next day
he wouldn’t let you see him. That would be the last o f him,
because, unless you went to the depot, you wouldn’t see him
again. Whenever I saw them shying off from me, I always
knew what they had up their sleeves.” It was “ just naturally
fashionable ” to leave for the North. A man would make up
his mind to go and proceed forthwith to persuade his friends.
If they refused, they no longer had any interests in common.
In talking with a man who had persistently refused to leave,
he declared that he had lost practically every friend he had,
simply because he did not agree with them on “ the northern
question.” For the pastors o f churches it was a most trying
ordeal. They must watch their congregations melt away and
could say nothing. If they spoke in favor o f the movement,
they were in danger o f a clash with the authorities. If they
1 Work, Report on the Migration from Florida.



discouraged it, they were accused o f being bought up to hold
negroes in bondage. If a pastor attempted to persuade negroes
to stay, his congregation and his collection would be cut down
and in some cases his resignation demanded. In some o f the
smaller communities the pastors settled this difficulty by follow­
ing their flock, as was the case o f three who left Hattiesburg,
Mississippi, following their congregations. Tw o lumber com­
panies in Mississippi employed a negro to lecture for the purpose
o f discouraging the exodus. He was handsomely paid, but he
was unheeded. Even now he is held in contempt by his former
The devout and religious saw God in the movement. It was
inspired, they said, else why could so many thousand negroes
all be obsessed at once with the same impulse. There were set
afloat rumors that a great calamity was about to befall the
Southland. In Georgia and Alabama, hundreds believed that
God had cursed the land when he sent droughts and floods and
destructive pests to visit them. The number o f negroes needed
in the North was counted in millions; the wages offered were
fabulous and the letters that came from the vanguard painted
pictures o f a land o f plenty. From some communities a small
group would leave, promising to inform those behind o f the
actual state o f affairs. For a week or more there would follow
a tense period o f “ watchful waiting ” and never ending anxiety,
when Anally there would arrive a card bearing the terse report
“ Everything pritty,” or “ Home ain’t nothing like this.” On
this assurance, a reckless disposition o f household effects would
The towns quite naturally were the flrst to feel the effect.
There, the pass rider— the labor agent— could move about more
freely. People lived in closer contact and news circulated more
rapidly; the papers came in regularly and the negroes themselves
could see those leaving. On market days when the country folk
reached town they got their flrst impulse from the commotion.
Young country boys failed to return to quiet isolation, and
sturdy sensible farmers whose whole lives had been spent on
1W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.



the farm, could not resist the temptation. As they returned
they informed their neighbors, saying: “ They are leaving town
by the thousands,” or “ Man, colored folks are leaving in droves
for the North.” There are cases o f men who left their fields
half plowed and journeyed to the city and thence to the North.
In other communities, the beginning would be a timid dribble
to the larger cities or directly to the North.1
The state o f mind o f the community under the influence o f the
first effects o f the “ fever ” is illustrated in authenticated ac­
counts o f persons who witnessed the exodus from different cities:
The most interesting thing is how these people left. They were selling
out everything they had or in a manner giving it away; selling their homes,
mules, horses, cows, and everything about them but their trunks. All
around in the country, people who were so old they could not very well get
about were leaving. Some left with six to eight very small children and
babies half clothed, no shoes on their feet, hungry, not anything to eat and
not even a cent over their train fare. Some would go to the station and
wait there three or four days for an agent who was carrying them on passes.
Others o f this city would go in clubs o f fifty and a hundred at a time in
order to get reduced rates. They usually left on Wednesday and Saturday
nights. One Wednesday night I went to the station to see a friend o f mine
who was leaving. I could not get in the station, there were so many people
turning like bees in a hive. Officers would go up and down the tracks
trying to keep the people back. One old lady and man had gotten on the
train. They were patting their feet and singing and a man standing nearby
asked, “ Uncle, where are you goin g ?” The old man replied, “ Well, son,
I’m gwine to the promised land.” 2
1 The Chicago Defender, 1916, 1917.
2 “ Whether he knew what he was going for or not,” says one, “ he did
not take time to consider. The slogan was ‘ going north/ Some never
questioned the whys or wherefores but went; led as if, by some mysterious
unseen hand which was compelling them on, they just couldn’t stay. One
old negro when asked why he was leaving, replied: ‘ I don’t know why or
where I'm going, but I'm on my way.’ The northern fever was just simply
contagious; they couldn’t help themselves. So far as I know, and I think
I am about right, this fever started in and around the vicinity o f Bessemer,
Alabama. One little village, especially, there was owmed by a white man
from my home who had gone there the year before carrying some negroes
with him. The negroes started leaving this village so fast that he wouldn’t
allow any more tickets to be sold in this village, but the negroes only
scoffed at this. They left the plantations at night and went to other villages
for tickets. The fever had now begun and, like all other contagious diseases,
it soon spread. 1 arrived home on May 4 and found my native town all
in a bustle. Now, what was it all about? The next club for the North was
leaving on May 18. The second-hand furniture store and junk shop were
practically overflowing. People were selling out valuable furniture such as
whole bedroom sets for only $2. One family that I knew myself sold a



“ When the laboring man got paid off,” said a Jackson, Mis­
sissippi, man, “ he bought himself a suit of overalls and a
paper valise and disappeared.” Even the young married women
refused to wait any longer than the time required to save rail­
road fare. It’s strange that when a negro got a notion to leave
and he could not sell or give away, he simply locked up his
house and left the key with his neighbor. Families with $1,000
worth o f furniture have been known to sell it for $150. A’ negro
in Jackson was buying a $1,000 house, on which he had paid
$700. When the “ fever ” struck the town, he sold it for $100
and left.
There was related this instance o f a number o f negro laborers:
On a plantation in south Georgia, where fifteen or more families were
farming as tenants, there had been a great deal o f confusion and suffering
among the people because o f the lack o f sufficient food and clothing. There
were the Joneses, a family o f nine, the Harrisons, a family of ten, and the
Battles, a family o f six. N o family on the place had an allowance o f more
than $25 per month for food and clothing. When this allowance gave out,
nothing could be gotten until the next month and the tenants dared not
leave their farms to work elsewhere. The owner o f this plantation lived
in town ten miles away and only visited the farm about once a week. Much
to his surprise, on one o f his weekly visits, he found all the homes and
farms deserted except one. On that were two old men, Uncle Ben and
Uncle Joe, who had been left behind because they were unable to secure
passes. Uncle Ben and Uncle Joe sorrowfully told the landlord all that had
beautiful expensive home for only $100. Tn fact people almost gave away
their houses and furnishings. Finally, the night for the club to leave came
and the crowds at the train were so large that the policemen had to just
force them back in order to allow the people to get on and off. After the
train was filled with as many people as it could hold, the old engine gave
one or two puffs and pulled out, bound for the promised land.”
“ A very close neighbor o f ours,” says one, “ left for the North. He
had a very small family. He left because his youngest son, who had been
north a few months, came home with a considerable amount o f money
which he had saved while on his trip. The father made haste and sold all
he had. His son got him a pass. He said it was far better for him to be
in the North where he could stand up like a man and demand his rights;
so he is there. His daughter Mary remained at home for some time after
the family had gone. She finally wrote her father to send her a pass, which
he did. She had a small boy that was given her. She was not able to
take him and care for him as she would like. Her next door neighbor, a
very fine woman who had no children, wanted a child so Mary gave it to
her. T o secure better wages and more freedom his oldest son went to
East St. Louis and remained there until June. Then he left for Chicago.
This family sold their chickens and rented their cattle to some o f the people
ui that community.” —W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during
the World War.



happened, emphasizing the fact that they were the only ones who had
remained loyal to him. Then they told him their needs. The landlord,
thinking that the old negroes were so faithful, rewarded them with a good
sum o f money and left with the assurance that they would see to the crops
being worked. No sooner had the landlord left than these old men with
grips packed and with the money they had received, boarded the train to
join their companions in the North.1

As an example o f the irresistible force which characterized
the movement, one old negro made the remark: “ I sorter wanted
to go myself. I didn’t know just where I wanted to go. I just
wanted to git away with the rest o f them.” A woman in speak­
ing o f the torture o f solitude which she experienced after the
first wave passed over her town, said: “ Y ou could go out on
the street and count on your fingers all the colored people you
saw during the entire day. Now and then a disconsolate look­
ing Italian storekeeper would come out in the street, look up
and down and walk back. It was a sad looking place, and so
quiet it gave you the shivers.” 2
In the heat o f the excitement families left carrying members
dangerously ill. There is reported one interesting ease o f a
family with one o f its members sick with pneumonia. As soon
as the woman was able to sit up, she was carried away. At
St. Louis it was found necessary to stop because o f her con­
dition. Finding that she could not recover, they proceeded to
Chicago, where she died. Several o f the migrants have seen
fit to make heroes o f themselves by declining to return to the
South even on the advice o f a physician. Thus, a certain min­
ister is said to have refused to be sent home when his physician
had told him there was a possible chance for recovery in his
home in the South. He said that he preferred to die and be
buried in the North.
By the summer o f 1916, the exodus from Florida had grown
to such ungovernable bounds that the more stable classes o f
negroes became unsettled. A body, representing the influential
colored citizens o f the State, wrote the editor o f the New
York A g e : 8
1 W ork and Johnson, Report on the Migration during the World War.
2 Ibid.
8 The New York Age, August 16, 1916.



J acksonville , F l a ., August 10, 1916.
To the Editor o f the A g e :
To be brief, I beg to state that the ( ------------) o f this city, in a regular
meeting, voted last Monday that I write your paper asking advice on the
subject o f migration which is large and really alarming to the people of
this State, for thousands o f people (colored) are leaving this State, going
to Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and New Jersey, where it is stated
they are wanted as laborers in various pursuits. In your mind and to
your knowledge, do you think it is the best thing for them to do, and are
they bettering condition financially,morally and religiously; even in man­
hood, citizenship, etc. O u r ------------ has been asked by the white and colored
people here to speak in an advisory way, but we decided to remain silent
until we can hear from reliable sources in the North and East, and you
have been designated as one o f the
best. So to speak, our city isin a tur­
moil—in suspense. You have doubtless heard o f the great exodus o f negroes
to the North, and we presume you have given it some thought, and even
investigated it. Please give the benefit o f your findings and reasons for
your conclusion.
Thanking you in advance for a prompt and full reply to the correspond­
ing secretary,
Yours truly,

Corresponding Secretary.

Caught up in the wave o f enthusiasm that swept over the
South, these migrants could not resist the impulse to leave. The
economic loss resulting from their reckless departure expressed
in terms o f dollars and cents is another story, and probably
can never be even approximately estimated. What seems o f
most interest here is that they were in the frame o f mind for
leaving. They left as though they were fleeing some curse; they
were willing to make almost any sacrifice to obtain a railroad
ticket and they left with the intention o f staying. What has
been described, o f course, can not be construed to apply to
every one who left. There were those o f the business and
professional classes who were promoted by other motives than
those which impelled the masses o f migrants. There were, for
example, migrants who in the South had held positions o f rela­
tively high standing by virtue o f the fact that there do exist
two institutional standards, the white and the black. Measured
by the requirements o f the latter, they stood high in the respect
o f the community, but when removed to the North they suffered
in the rank o f their occupation. A college president or even



a school teacher had little opportunity in their respective fields
in the North. They had, therefore, migrated because deserted
by their neighbors they were left with a prospect o f a diminishing
social importance.
Professional men followed their practice. In Chicago there
are at least six lawyers from Mississippi, with practically the
same clientele. A t the height o f the exodus, one o f these came
to Chicago and secured admission to the bar in order that he
might be in a position to move quickly if his practice were too
severely cut down. Several physicians o f the State have re­
marked that they would now be in the East or the North if
reciprocity with the State o f Mississippi were possible.1 Busi­
ness men have been reported to have moved North for the sole
purpose o f collecting debts. Others are cooler and more calcu­
lating in preparing to leave. One pharmacist, for instance, plans
to move within the next five years. It is true that some o f
those who came in the movement would have come even if no
one else had decided to migrate. The influence o f the general
state o f mind, however, on the great majority is o f most con­
cern in determining the forces behind the exodus.
Possibly the numbers to leave the South would have been
considerably smaller had there not been existent so universal
a readiness to respond to a call in almost any direction. The
causes o f this state o f mind are stated elsewhere. What is im­
portant here is the behavior o f the persons leaving which ex­
erted such a compelling influence on their neighbors. The ac­
tions are illustrative not only o f the contagion o f the movement,
but o f the fundamental emotions o f the negroes who formed
the exodus. Thus it was, for example, that the movement was
called the “ exodus ” from its suggestive resemblance to the
flight o f the Israelites from Egypt, The Promised Land, Cross­
ing over Jordan (the Ohio R iver), and Beulah Land. At times
demonstrations took on a rather spectacular aspect, as when a
party o f 147 from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, while crossing the
Ohio River, held solemn ceremonies. These migrants knelt
down and prayed; the men stopped their watches and, amid
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



tears o f joy, sang the familiar songs o f deliverance, “ I done
come out o f the Land o f Egypt with the good news.” The songs
following in order were “ Beulah Land ” and “ Dwelling in
Beulah Land.”
One woman o f the party declared that she
could detect an actual difference in the atmosphere beyond the
Ohio River, explaining that it was much lighter and that she
could get her breath more easily.1
The general direction o f the spread o f the movement was
from east to west. While efforts were being made to check
the exodus from Florida, the good citizens o f Texas were first
beginning to note a stir o f unrest in their sections. On the
other hand, the march o f the boll weevil, that stripped the cotton
fields o f the South, was from west to east. Where there was
wide unemployment, depression and poverty as a result o f the
great floods in Alabama, the cutting down o f the cane area
in Louisiana, the boll weevil in Mississippi, there were to be
found thousands who needed no other inducement save the
prospect o f a good job. Indeed, it is alleged by some negroes
that the myriads o f labor agents who were said to be operating
in the South were creatures o f the imagination o f an affrighted
Southland; that but few were actually offering positions in the
North; but their success was due to the overpowering desire
on the part o f the negroes to go.2
In September o f 1916 a Georgia correspondent o f the Atlanta
Constitution wrote:
F or the past two or three weeks I have been receiving two or more letters
daily from people in all sections o f Georgia asking my advice as to the
advisability o f the colored people leaving the State in large numbers, as
they have been leaving for the past six months. I think it is a mistake for
our people to sell and practically give their earnings o f years just on a
hearsay that they will be given larger salaries and great advantages in some
other part o f the country.

It will be remembered that the State o f South Carolina was
not immediately affected. It was not until the discussions bear­
ing on the negro’ s insecurity and economic state, which accom1 Johnson. Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 Work, Report on the Migration from Alabama.



panied the exodus in justification o f it, had begun to be em­
phasized as the cause o f the movement that a great exodus
took place in the State. The principal occasion here was the
unfortunate lynching o f Anthony Crawford. A negro news­
paper with a correspondent in Abbeville said:
The lynching o f Anthony Crawford has caused men and women o f this
State to get up and bodily leave it. The lynching o f Mr. Crawford was
unwarranted and uncalled for and his treatment was such a disgrace that
respectable people are leaving daily. When they begin to leave in the next
few weeks like they have planned, this section will go almost into hysterics
as some sections of Georgia and Alabama are doing because they are leaving
for the North to better their industrial condition. Crawford is said to
have been worth $100,000 in property. His wife and five sons have been
ordered to leave. W ord comes that neighbors are beginning to leave and
the number the first o f the week reached 1,000. The cry now is—“ Go
north, where there is some humanity, some justice and fairness.” White
people have accelerated the movement for the race to move, north.

This, however, accounts principally for the spread o f the
movement as accomplished by northern capital which, hitting
the South in spots, made it possible for a wider dissemination
o f knowledge concerning the North, and actually placed in the
North persons with numerous personal connections at home.
The husbands and fathers who preceded their families could
and did command that they follow, and they in turn influenced
their neighbors. It appears that those who came on free trans­
portation were largely men who had no permanent interests or
who could afford to venture into strange fields. This indis­
criminate method o f many o f the transporting agencies un­
doubtedly made it possible for a great number o f indigent and
thriftless negroes simply to change the scene o f their inaction.
Yet it is unquestionably true that quite a large proportion o f
those who went North in this fashion were men honestly seek­
ing remunerative employment, or persons who left through sheer
desperation. In the second stage o f the movement the club
organizations, special parties and chartered cars did most per­
haps to depopulate little communities and drain the towns and
This is easily to be accounted for. The free trains, carrying



mainly men, were uncertain. They were operated for brief
periods in towns, but were in such ill favor with the police
that passengers were not safe. The clubs or special parties were
worked up by a leader, who was often a woman o f influence.
She sought her friends and a convenient date was appointed
Arrangements could also be made with friends in the North
to receive them. The effectiveness o f this method is seen in
the fact that neighbor was soliciting neighbor and friend per­
suading friend. Women in some o f the northern cities, join­
ing these clubs, assert that no persuasion was needed; that if a
family found that it could .not leave with the first groups, it
felt desolate and willing to resort to any extremes and sacrifices
to get the necessary fare. One woman in a little town in
Mississippi, from which over half o f the negro population had
dribbled away, said: “ I f I stay here any longer, I’ll go wild.
Every time I go home I have to pass house after house o f all
m y friends who are in the North and prospering. I’ve been
trying to hold on here and keep my little property. There ain’t
enough people here I now know to give me a decent burial.”

The Call of the Self-Sufficient North
A surviving custom o f servitude has consigned the mass o f
negroes to the lower pursuits o f labor. Even at this it would
be possible to live, for there would be work. In the North,
however, such employment has been monopolized by foreign
immigrants clearing Ellis Island at the rate o f more than a
million a year. The usurpation here brought no clash, for the
number o f negroes in the North scarcely equalled a year’s immi­
gration. From the ranks o f unskilled labor, accordingly, they
were effectively debarred, being used occasionally, and to their
own detriment, as strike breakers and forced to receive smaller
wages and to make more enemies. From the field o f skilled labor
they have been similarly debarred by the labor unions.
. The labor unions have felt that they had a good case against
the negro workman. The complaints most commonly made
are that he could be too easily used as a strike breaker and that
he lacked interest in the trade union movement. As a matter
o f fact, both are true. An explanation o f this attitude at the
same time brings out another barrier opposed by the North to
the free access o f negroes to trades. Considerable wavering
has characterized the attitude o f the trade unions toward negro
labor. The complexity o f their organization makes it difficult
to place any responsibility directly for their shortcomings. The
fact remains, however, that despite the declaration o f the con­
stitution o f the federated body that no distinction shall be made
on account o f sex, color or creed, negroes have been systemati­
cally debarred from membership in a great number o f labor
bodies. Even where there has been no express prohibition in
the constitution o f local organizations the disposition to exclude
them has been just as effective. Refused membership, they have
easily become strike breakers. The indifference on the part o f




negroes to the labor movement, however, may well be attributed
also to ignorance o f its benefits. In a number o f cases sep­
arate organizations have been granted them.
W ith the foreign immigration silently crowding him back
into the South, the labor unions, the prejudices o f his white
fellow workman and the paucity o f his number making him
ineffective as a competitor, driving him from the door o f the
factory and workshop, the negro workman, whatever his quali­
fications, was prior to 1914 forced to enter the field o f domestic
service in the North and farming in the South. The conditions
o f livelihood in both sections kept him rigidly restricted to this
limited economic sphere. In 1910 the total number o f negroes
ten years o f age and over gainfully occupied in the United States
was 5,192,535 or 71 per cent o f the total number o f negroes
ten years o f age and over. O f this number 2,848,258 or 55.2
per cent were farmers and 1,122,182 or 21.4 per cent were
domestic servants. Out o f nearly five hundred occupations listed
in the census o f 1910 three-fourths o f the negro working popu­
lation were limited to two. In the manufacturing and mechani­
cal pursuits throughout the entire United States there were em­
ployed scarcely a half million or 12.1 per cent of the working
Statistics o f labor conditions in certain northern cities sup­
port this conclusion. In New York City in 1910, o f the negroes
ten years o f age and over gainfully occupied there were 33,110
males and 26,352 females. O f the males there were engaged
in domestic and personal service 16,724 or 47.6 per cent o f the
total number o f males. O f the 26,352 females there were in
domestic service 24,647 or 93.5 per cent o f the total number.
In the occupations which require any degree o f skill and utilize
the training o f acquired trades, the percentage was exceedingly
low. F or example, in the manufacturing and mechanical pur­
suits where there were the benefits o f labor organizations and
higher pay, there were but 4,504 negro males, or 13.6 per cent
o f the total number gainfully employed. The per cent o f col­
ored women in this line was considerably less. Taken together
with the 1,993 dressmakers working outside o f factories it was



but 8.3 per cent o f the total number o f females. This line o f
work, however, as all who are familiar with the manner in
which it is done will recognize, is but another form o f domestic
service. Exclusive o f this number the per cent drops to a figure
a trifle over one per cent.
Chicago, as another typical northern city, shows practically
the same limitations on negro labor. In 1910 there were gain­
fully employed in this city 27,317 negroes. O f this total 61.8
per cent were engaged in domestic service. The negro women,
o f course, contributed a larger share to this proportion, theirs
being 83.8 per cent o f the females ten years o f age and over
gainfully employed. In the manufacturing and mechanical pur­
suits there were engaged 3,466 males and 1,038 females, or
18.7 and 1.1 per cent respectively.1
Detroit, viewed in the light o f its tremendous increase, shows
some o f the widest differences. In 1910 there were 3,310
negroes o f working age profitably employed. O f this number
there were but 410 males and 74 females engaged in the manu­
facturing and mechanical pursuits. Forty-six o f the total female
working population were engaged in domestic service. Limited
to a few occupations, the negroes naturally encountered there
intense competition with the usual result o f low wages and
numerous other abuses. Whenever they entered new fields, as
for instance those designated by the census as trade and trans­
portation, they were generally compelled to accept wages below
the standard to obtain such employment.
There appears to have been a slow but steady progress
throughout the North toward the accession o f negroes to new
lines o f occupation. This change was forced, unquestionably,
by the necessity for seeking new fields even at an economic loss.
From the lines o f work in which negroes for a long time have
held unquestioned prestige, the competition o f other nationalities
has removed them. It is difficult now to find a barber shop
operated by a negro in the business district o f any northern
city. The most dangerous competitor o f the negro in northern
industry has been the immigrant, who, unconscious o f his subtle
1 These facts appear in the United States Census Reports.



inhibition on the negro’s industrial development, crowded him
out o f employment in the North and fairly well succeeded in
holding him in the South. After fifty years o f European immi­
gration the foreign born increased from two million to over
thirteen million and only five per cent o f them have settled in
the South. Indeed, the yearly increase in foreign immigration
equalled the entire negro population o f the North.
The competition in the North has, therefore, been in con­
sequence bitter and unrelenting. Swedes and Germans have
replaced negroes in some cities as janitors. Austrians, French­
men and Germans have ousted them from the hotels, and Greeks
have almost monopolized the bootblacking business. The decline
in the domestic service quota o f the working negro population,
when there has been a decline, seems to have been forced. The
figures o f the United States census strengthen the belief that the
W orld W ar has accomplished one o f two things: It has either
hastened the process o f opening up larger fields or it has pre­
vented a serious economic situation which doubtless would have
followed the complete supplanting o f negroes by foreigners in
practically all lines.
Before the war the immigration o f foreigners from Europe
was proceeding at the enormous rate o f over a million a year.
This influx was so completely checked by the war that the margin
o f arrivals over departures for the first three years following
the beginning o f hostilities was the smallest in fifty years. The
following is a statement taken from reports o f the Bureau o f
Foreign Immigration.

....................................................................................... 1,197,892
...................................................................................... 1,218,480
....................................................................................... 295,403

The decrease o f over 900,000 immigrants, on whom the in­
dustries o f the North depended, caused a grave situation. It
must be remembered also that o f the 295,403 arrivals in 1917,



there were included 32,346 English, 24,405 French and 13,350
Scotch who furnish but a small quota o f the laboring classes.
There were also 16,438 Mexicans who came over the border,
and who, for the most part, live and work in the Southwest.
The type o f immigration which kept prime the labor market
o f the North and Northwest came in through Ellis Island. O f
these, Mr. Frederick C. Howe, Commissioner o f Immigration,
said that “ only enough have come to balance those who have
left.” He adds further that “ As a result, there has been a
great shortage o f labor in many o f our industrial sections that
may last as long as the war.”
With the establishment o f new industries to meet the needs
o f the war, the erection o f munitions plants for the manufacture
o f war materials and the enlargement o f already existing indus­
tries to meet the abnormally large demand for materials here
and in Europe, there came a shifting in the existing labor
supply in the North. There was a rush to the higher paid
positions in the munitions plants. This, together with the ad­
vancement o f the white men to higher positions nearly depleted
the ranks o f common labor. The companies employing foreign
labor for railroad construction work and in the steel mills o f
Pennsylvania, the tobacco fields o f Connecticut, the packing
houses, foundries and automobile plants o f the Northwest, found
it imperative to seek for labor in home fields. The Department
o f Labor, in the effort to relieve this shortage, through its em­
ployment service, at first assisted the migration northward. It
later withdrew its assistance when its attention was called to the
growing magnitude o f the movement and its possible effect
on the South.
Deserted by the Department o f Labor, certain northern em­
ployers undertook to translate their desires into action in 1915,
when the anxieties o f the New England tobacco planters were
felt in the New York labor market. These planters at first rushed
to New York and promiscuously gathered up 200 girls o f the
worst type, who straightway proceeded to demoralize Hart­
ford. The blunder was speedily detected and the employers
came back to New York, seeking some agency which might



assist them in the solution o f their problem. Importuned for
help, the National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes
supplied these planters with respectable southern blacks who
met this unusual demand for labor in Connecticut. Later, more­
over, it appeared that on the threshold o f an unusually promis­
ing year the Poles, Lithuanians and Czechs, formerly employed
in the fields, were dwindling in number and there was not at
hand the usual supply from which their workers were recruited.
A' large number o f these foreigners had been called back to their
fatherland to engage in the W orld War.
In January o f 1916, therefore, the tobacco growers o f Con­
necticut met in conference to give this question serious consider­
ation. Mr. Floyd, the Manager o f the Continental Tobacco Cor­
poration, offered a solution for this difficult problem through
the further importation o f negro labor. The response to this
suggestion was not immediate, because New England had never
had large experience with negro labor. An intense interest in
the experiment, however, was aroused through a number o f
men with connections in the South. It was decided that the
National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes, with
headquarters in New York City, should further assist in secur­
ing laborers. Because o f the seasonal character o f the work,
an effort was made to get students from the southern schools
by advancing transportation. The New York News, a negro
weekly, says o f this conference:
Thus was born, right in the heart o f Yankee Land, the first significant
move to supplant foreign labor with native labor, a step which has resulted
in one o f the biggest upheavals in the North incident to the European war,
which has already been a boon to the colored American, improving his
economic status and putting thousands o f dollars into his pockets.1

The employers o f the North felt justified in bringing about a
more equitable distribution o f the available labor supply in
America. Discussing the labor situation before a conference
in New York, Mr. E. J. Traily, Jr., o f the Erie Railroad said:
The Erie Railroad has employed a large number o f the negro migrants
and we are still in need o f more because o f the abnormal state o f labor

1 The New York News.



conditions in this part o f the country. It is altogether unfair that the
southern States should enforce laws prohibiting the moving o f labor from
their borders, when there are railroads all over this country that would
pay good wages to these laborers. I know o f one railroad company last
year, which never had a colored man in the service, that was offering large
wages and scouring every place for colored help. At the same time the
South had and still has a surplus o f colored labor and would not permit
it to be moved. These conditions actually exist, and I know it. I am
interested in this thing not alone from the personal side o f it, but due to
the fact o f my association with the Erie Railroad. I believe that the
best thing that this body can do, in my judgment, is to pass resolutions
demanding that the United States Emigration Bureau carry out the act
passed by Congress empowering the Labor Department to place unoccupied
men o f other parts o f the country where labor is needed.1

Early in the summer o f 1916, the Pennsylvania and Erie
Railroads promiscuously picked up trainloads o f negroes from
Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Pensacola, Florida. They were
at first grouped in camps. The promise o f a long free ride
to the North met with instant favor, and wild excitement en­
sued as the news circulated. Carloads o f negroes began to pour,
into Pennsylvania. When they had once touched northern soil
and discovered that still higher wages were being offered by
other concerns, many deserted the companies responsible for
their presence in the North. Some drifted to the steel works
o f the same State; others left for points nearby. Letters written
home brought news o f still more enticing fields, and succeeded
in stimulating the movement. O f the 12,000 negroes brought
into Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Railroad, less than 2,000
remained with the company.2
It will no doubt be interesting to know exactly where these
negroes settled in the North. For the purpose o f understanding
this distribution the North may well be divided according to
the two main lines followed by the migrants in leaving the
South. The South and middle Atlantic States sent the majority
o f their migrants directly up the Atlantic coast while the south
central States fed the Northwest. There is, o f course, no hard
line o f separation for these two streams. Laborers were sought
1 New York Age, January 30, 1917; Christian Recorder, Philadelphia, Feb­
ruary 2, 1917.
* Ibid.



in fields most accessible to the centers o f industry, but individual
choice as displayed in the extent o f voluntary migration carried
them everywhere.
The New England States, which were probably the first to
attract this labor, were Connecticut and Massachusetts. The
tobacco fields o f Connecticut with Hartford as a center received
the first negro laborers as mentioned above. Before a year
had passed there were over 3,000 southern negroes in the city
o f Hartford. Massachusetts had its new war plants which
served as an attraction. Holyoke received considerable adver­
tisement through the National League on Urban Conditions
among Negroes, and as a result secured a number directly
from the South. Boston, which has always stood as a symbol
o f hope for those who sought relief from southern conditions,
has not, however, at any time afforded any great variety o f occu­
pations for the peasant class o f negroes. The receptions staged
by the negro leaders o f that city were stimulated apparently
more by the sentimental causes o f the movement than any other
consideration. Although there existed in Boston, the type o f
industries which required great numbers o f men, barriers pre­
vented negroes in large numbers from entering them and as
a result there was no great influx o f migrants from the South.
The places mentioned above are, o f course, only those which
received large numbers. Scattered all over this section o f the
country were thousands o f individuals who, seeking more profit­
able employment, broke loose from the crowd congregating at
favorite points. New Y ork State with New York City as its
center has received a considerable number. New York City,
however, has been principally a rerouting point. In fact, many
o f those who subsequently went to New England first went to
New York City. The State o f New York recruited its labor
here. There came to New Y ork probably no less than 75,000
negroes, a large portion o f whom stopped in New York City,
although Albany, Poughkeepsie, Buffalo and smaller cities re­
ceived their share.
New Jersey, because o f the great number o f its industrial
plants, was rapidly filled. Newark alone augmented its colored



population within a little over a year by one hundred per cent.
The attractions in this State were the munitions plants, brick
yards and wire factories. The principal cities here that might
be mentioned are Newark, Trenton and Jersey City, although
the migration to the last two cities hardly compares in volume
to that o f Newark. Delaware, bordering New Jersey, received
a few.1 Washington, the Capital City and the gateway to the
North, already containing the largest negro population o f any
city in the country was in the path o f the migration and had
its increase o f population accelerated by the war. A considerable
number o f southern negroes found work there, principally in
domestic service. Pennsylvania, the first northern State to
begin wholesale importation o f labor from the South, is the
seat o f the country’ s largest steel plants and is the terminal o f
three o f the country’s greatest railroad systems. Pittsburgh
received perhaps the largest number; Philadelphia and Harris­
burg followed in order. The numerous little industrial centers
dotting the State fed from the supply furnished by the railroads.2
The migration to the Northwest was more extensive. Ohio,
the State o f vital historical association for negroes, was gener­
ously visited. Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron and
Youngstown were popular centers. The coal mines, factories
and iron works were most in need o f men, and obtained them
without any great difficulty. Indiana, still probably remembered
as the delicate spot in the inquiry following a similar migration
thirty-nine years ago, with its very highly developed industries
caught the flood proceeding up the Mississippi valley. Indianap­
olis was a popular point although not a satisfactory one for
the migrants, who pretty generally left it for better fields. Gary
and Indiana Harbor, more properly satellite cities o f Chicago,
developed an almost entirely new negro population.
Missouri, a border State, has one city with a considerably
augmented negro population. The size o f the new population
o f St. Louis can be accounted for by the fact that geographically
it is the first city o f the North. East St. Louis, recently made
1 Fortune, Report on Negro Migration to the East.
* Ibid.



notorious by the reception which it accorded its newcomers, is
surrounded by a number o f satellite towns, all o f which made
bids for labor from the South and received it. Not a few
negro laborers went to Kansas City from which many were re­
routed to other points. Nebraska received a large number o f
migrants as a direct result o f self-advertisement. Omaha was
the city which invited them and received the bulk o f immigra­
tion to that State.
Illinois, the one State known throughout the South because
o f Chicago, received probably the heaviest quota o f any. Located
as it is in the center o f industry for the Middle West and known
to negroes as a “ fair ” State, it received through Chicago as
many at least as the entire State o f Pennsylvania. Chicago is
the center o f a cluster o f industrial towns. It has served as a
point o f distribution through its numerous employment agencies
for the territory northwest and northeast. Michigan has one
large city, Detroit, which has recently increased its population
one hundred per cent because o f its number o f highly developed
industries which have supplied employment for its rapidly in­
creasing population.1
The eastern cities which made efforts through various means
to augment their labor supply were Pittsburgh, Philadelphia,
Newark, New York City and Hartford. It is manifestly im­
possible to get reliable figures on the volume o f increase in the
negro population o f any o f these cities. All that is available
is in the form o f estimates which can not be too confidently
relied upon. Estimates based on the average number o f arrivals
from the South per day, the increase in the school population
and the opinions o f social agencies which have engaged them­
selves in adjusting the newcomers to their new homes appear
to agree in the main.
1 These estimates are based upon the reports o f investigators sent to make
a study o f the condition o f the migrants.

The Draining of the Black Belt
In order better to understand the migration movement, a
special study o f it was made for five adjoining States, Georgia,
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, from which came
more than half o f all migrants. The negro population o f these
five States was 4,115,299, which was almost half o f the negro
population o f the South. In the particular sections o f these
States where the migration was the heaviest, the one crop sys­
tem, cotton, was general. As a result o f the cotton price demor­
alization resulting from the war, the labor depression, the rav­
ages o f the cotton boll weevil, and in some regions unusual
floods, as already stated, there was in this section o f the South
an exceptionally large amount o f surplus labor. The several
trunk line railroads directly connecting this section with the
northern industrial centers made the transportation o f this labor
an easy matter.
In 1915, the labor depression in Georgia was critical and
work at remunerative wages was scarce. In Atlanta strong
pressure was brought to bear to have the negroes employed in
cleaning the streets replaced by whites who were out o f work.
It was reported that the organized charities o f Macon, in dealing
with the question o f the unemployed, urged whites employing
negroes to discharge the blacks and hire whites. Mr. Bridges
Smith, the mayor o f the city, bitterly opposed this suggestion.
When the 1915 cotton crop began to ripen it was proposed to
compel the unemployed negroes in the towns to go to the fields
and pick cotton. Commenting editorially on this, the Atlanta
Constitution said:
The problem o f the unemployed in Albany, Georgia, is being dealt with
practically. All negroes who have not regular employment are offered
it in the cotton fields, the immense crop requiring more labor than the




plantations ordinarily have. If the unemployed refuse the opportunity, the
order " move on ” and out o f the community is given by the chief o f police,
and the order must be obeyed. Though the government is taking up very
systematically the problem o f the unemployed, its solving will be slow, and
the government aid for a long time will have to be supplementary to work
in this direction, initiated in communities, municipalities and States, where
the problem o f the unemployed is usually complex.1

In the course o f time, when the negroes did leave, they
departed in such large numbers that their going caused alarm.
Because they left at night the number o f negroes going north
from the immediate vicinity was not generally realized. One
night nearly fifty o f Tifton boarded northbound passenger trains,
which already carried, it is said, some three hundred negroes.
Labor agents had been very active in that section all fall, but
so cleverly had they done their work that officers had not been
able to get a line on them. For several weeks, the daily exodus,
it is said, had ranged from ten to twenty-five.2
Columbus was an assembling point for migrants going from
east Alabama and west Georgia. Railroad tickets would be
bought from local stations to Columbus, and there the tickets
o r transportation for the North, mainly to Chicago, would be
secured. Americus was in many respects similarly affected,
having had many o f its important industries thereby paralyzed.
Albany, a railroad center, became another assembling point for
migrants from another area. Although difficulties would be
experienced in leaving the smaller places directly for the North,
it was easy to purchase a ticket to Albany and later depart from
that town. The result was that Albany was the point o f de­
parture for several thousand negroes, o f whom a very large
percentage did not come from the towns or Dougherty county
in which Albany is situated.*
1 Atlanta Constitution, August 28, 1915.
2 Ibid., December 13, 1916.
8 A leading colored physician o f Albany in commenting on the exodus
said: “ A considerable number went from town and county. The number
was not near so great, however, as from other counties.” He was o f the
opinion that not more than eight or ten families had left. He said that his
practice had not been affected. Individuals came in from other sections
and took the place o f those who went away. He was o f the opinion that
the fever was about over. This was due to the shortage o f labor created
by the draft, the increase in wages and better treatment, particularly the



A negro minister, well acquainted with the situation in south­
west Georgia, was o f the opinion that the greatest number had
gone from Thomas and Mitchell counties and the towns o f
Pelham and Thomasville. Valdosta, with a population o f about
8,000 equally divided between the races became a clearing house
for many migrants from southern Georgia. The pastor o f one
o f the leading churches said that he lost twenty per cent o f his
members. The industrial insurance companies reported a twenty
per cent loss in membership.1 Waycross,2 a railroad center in
latter. Tenants on plantations were receiving better treatment than they
formerly received. Some plantation owners as an inducement to their
tenants were furnishing each with a cow and a sow. Farm labor which was
formerly paid $8 to $12 per month, now received from $20 to $30 per month.
He said he knew o f one plantation owner who was paying his hands $1.25
per day. This doctor said he was reliably informed that many negroes had
left Lee and Calhoun counties and the whites had to go in the fields and
plow. As a result o f the exodus, the white and colored men of Albany
had got closer together. He had recently been elected a member o f the
Albany Chamber o f Commerce, and he understood that about twelve colored
men had been invited to become members o f the Chamber to assist in
working for the development of the county.
One o f the colored druggists in Georgia said that Albany was a central
point, and that a great many came from Cuthbert, Arlington, Leary and
Calhoun, Early and Miller counties to Albany as a starting point for the
North. Many went from Albany to Chicago and Philadelphia, but he was
of the opinion that the largest number had gone to New Jersey. Migration
has been affected by the draft and new opportunities opening up in the
South. He said that whites became alarmed and called a meeting and
invited some colored persons to consult with them.—Work, Report on
Migration from Georgia.
1 “ The migration of negroes from this city to the North set in again
this week, after a comparative lull of two months. A party o f twelve left
here yesterday for Jersey City, while twenty others are expected to leave
shortly. Many women are going with the men, in some cases leaving their
children. Stories of suffering from cold, brought back by negroes during
this winter, checked the movement considerably. Several hundred negroes
will leave here this spring.”—Atlanta Constitution, March 26, 1917.
2 A report from there, in the Savannah Morning News, o f December 3,
1916, said: “ Hundreds of negroes in this section recently have been fleeced
by white men posing as agents of large employment bureaus and industrial
companies in the eastern States. The most recent instance o f the easy
marks is reported from Coffee county, but it is in line with what has been
happening in other counties. The so-called agent collects a registration fee,
giving in return for the money, usually one or two dollars, a card which is
said to entitle the bearer to a position at such and such a plant. The negroes
get on the train on the date specified, the agent meeting them at the station.
He tells them he will have a party ticket for the entire number and to tell
the conductor to collect their fares from him. The negroes o f course leave
home for the point where they think they will be given work, and apparently
are a happy lot. But when ticket collecting time comes there is another
story to tell.
“ Thirty-seven negroes the other day boarded a northbound train at
Douglas for Pittsburgh. The agent was on hand to check each one and



the wire grass section o f the State, with a population o f 7,700
whites and 6,700 negroes, suffered greatly from the migration.
Hundreds o f negroes in this section were induced by the em­
ployment bureaus and industrial companies in eastern States
to abandon their homes. From Brunswick, one o f the two prin­
cipal seaports in Georgia, went 1,000 negroes, the chief occu­
pation o f whom was stevedoring. Savannah, another important
seaport on the south Atlantic coast, with a population o f about
70,000, saw the migration attain unusually large proportions,
so as to cause almost a panic and to lead to drastic measures
to check it.
The migration was from all sections o f Florida. The heaviest
movements were from west Florida, from Tampa and Jackson­
ville. Capitola early reported that a considerable number o f
negroes left that vicinity, some going north, a few to Jack­
sonville and others to south Florida to work on the truck farms
and in the phosphate mines. A large number o f them migrated
from Tallahassee to Connecticut to work in the tobacco fields.
Owing to the depredations o f the boll weevil, many others went
north. Most o f the migration in west Florida, however, was
rural as there are very few large towns in that section. Yet,
although they had no such assembling points as there were in
other parts o f the South, about thirty or thirty-five per cent
o f the labor left. In north central Florida near Apalachicola
fifteen or twenty per cent o f the labor left. In middle Florida
around Ocala and Gainesville probably twenty to twenty-five
per cent o f the laborers left, chiefly because o f the low wages.
The stretch o f territory between Pensacola and Jacksonville was
said to be one o f the most neglected sections in the South, the
migration being largely o f farm tenants with a considerable
number o f farm owners. There were cases o f the migration
o f a whole community including the pastor o f the church.1
then he got aboard, or so the negroes thought. A few miles from Douglas
the conductor found he had thirty-seven ticketless passengers And none
o f the negroes had the Money to pay the fare to Pittsburgh. The train was
stopped, and the negroes returned home, wiser and vowing they were ‘ done
with leaving home.’ Quite a number o f negroes have come to Waycross to
meet agents and go north. Before coming .here the negroes o f course had
1 W ork, Report on the Migration from Florida.



Live Oak, a small town in Sewanee county, experienced the
same upheaval, losing a large proportion o f its colored popula­
tion. Dunnelon, a small town in the southern part o f Marion
county, soon found itself in the same situation. Lakeland, in
Polk county, lost about one-third o f its negroes. Not less than
one-fourth of. the black population o f Orlando was swept into
this movement. Probably half o f the negroes o f Palatka, Miami
and De Land, migrated as indicated by schools and churches,
the membership o f which decreased one-half. From 3,000 to
5.000 negroes migrated from Tampa and Hillsboro county.
Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, with a population o f
about 35,000 negroes, lost about 6,000 or 8,000 o f its own black
population and served as an assembling point for 14,000 or
15.000 others who went to the North.1
By September, 1916, the movement in Alabama was well
under way. In Selma there was made the complaint that a new
scheme was being used to entice negroes away. Instead o f ad­
vertising in Alabama papers, the schemes o f the labor agents
were proclaimed through papers published in other States and
circulated in Alabama. As a result there was a steady migration
o f negroes from Alabama to the North and to points in Tennes­
see and Arkansas where conditions were more inviting and
wages higher. Estimates appear to indicate, however, that Ala­
bama, through the migration, lost a larger proportion o f her
negro population than did any one o f the other southern
From Eufaula in the eastern part o f the State it was re­
ported in September that trains leaving there on Sundays in
1916 were packed with negroes going north, that hundreds left,
joining crowds from Clayton, Clio and Ozark. There seemed
to be a “ free ride ” every Sunday and many were giving up
lucrative positions there to go. The majority o f these negroes,
however, went from the country where they had had a dis­
astrous experience with the crops o f the year 1916 on account
o f the July floods.8 By October the exodus from Dallas county
1 Work, Report on the Migration front Florida.
2 Work, Report on the Migration from Alabama.
3 Montgomery ( Alabama) Advertiser, September 27, 1916.



had reached such alarming proportions that farmers and business
men were devising means to stop it.
Bullock county, with a working population o f 15,000 negroes,
lost about one-third and in addition about 1,500 non-workers.
The reports o f churches as to the loss o f membership at certain
points justify this conclusion. Hardly any o f the churches
escaped without a serious loss and the percentage in most cases
Was from twenty-five to seventy per cent.1 It seemed that these
intolerable conditions did not obtain in Union Springs. A c­
cording to persons living in Kingston, the wealthiest and the
most prosperous negroes o f the district migrated. In October,
1916, some o f the first large groups left Mobile, Alabama, for
the Northwest. The report says: “ T w o trainloads o f negroes
were sent over the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to work
in the railroad yards and on the tracks in the West. Thousands
more are expected to leave during the next month.”
As soon as the exodus got well under way, Birmingham be­
came one o f the chief assembling points in the South for the
migrants and was one o f the chief stations on the way north.
Thousands came from the flood and boll weevil districts to
Birmingham. The records o f the negro industrial insurance
companies showed the effects o f the migration both from and
to Birmingham. The Atlanta Mutual Insurance Company lost
500 o f its members and added 2,000. Its debit for November,
1916, was $502.25; for November, 1917, it was $740. The
business o f the Union Central Relief Association was greatly
affected by the migration. The company in 1916 lost heavily.
In 1917 it cleared some money.
The State o f Mississippi, with a larger percentage o f negroes
than any other State in the Union, naturally lost a large num­
ber o f its working population. There has been in progress
1 The investigator had been in Union Springs on a Saturday before there
was a migration. The crowds on the streets were so great that it was difficult
for one to pass. On Saturday, November 17, 1917, the investigator was
again in Union Springs. It was an ideal autumn day. Good crops had been
made in the county. Especially high prices were being paid for all sorts o f
farm produce. The market season was on. Court was in session. The
streets, however, had about the crowds to be found on some days, other
than Saturday, before the migration began.



for a number o f years a movement from the hill counties o f the
State o f Mississippi to the Delta, and from the Delta to Arkan­
sas. The interstate migration has resulted from the land poverty
o f the hill country and from intimidation o f the “ poor whites ”
particularly in Amite, Lincoln, Franklin and Wilkinson counties.
In 1908 when the floods and boll weevil worked such general
havoc in the southwestern corner o f the State, labor agents
from the Delta went down and carried away thousands o f fam­
ilies. It is estimated that more than 8,000 negroes left Adams
county during the first two years o f the boll weevil period.
Census figures for 1910 show that the southwestern counties
suffered a loss o f 18,000 negroes. The migration o f recent
years to adjacent States has been principally to Arkansas.1
Jackson, the capital o f Mississippi, seriously felt the migra­
tion. The majority o f the “ lower middle class ” o f negroes,
twenty-five per cent o f the business men and fully one-third o f
the professional men left the city— in all between 2,000 and
5,000. Tw o o f the largest churches lost their pastors and about
200 o f each o f their memberships. Other churches suffered a
decrease o f forty per cent in their communicants. Two-thirds
o f the remaining families in Jackson are part families with rel­
atives who have recently migrated to the North.
For years the negroes o f Greenville have been unsettled and
dissatisfied to the extent o f leaving. Negroes came from Leland
to Greenville to start for the North. This condition has ob­
tained there ever since the W orld’s Fair in Chicago, when
families first learned to go to that section whenever oppor­
tunities for establishment were offered them. Although the
negroes from Greenville are usually prosperous, during this
exodus they have mortgaged their property or placed it in the
hands o f friends on leaving for the North. Statistics indicate
1 The reasons back o f this, as obtained from migrants themselves, are
that, except in the town o f Mound Bayou, negroes have not been encouraged
to own property or rent, but to work on shares; in Arkansas it is possible
to buy good land cheaply and on reasonable terms; inducements are offered
by Arkansas in the form of better treatment and schools; there are no such
‘ excessive" taxes as are required in the Mississippi Delta to protect them
from the overflows; the boll weevil has not yet seriously affected that
State, and a small farmer may be fairly independent in Arkansas.



that in the early part o f the movement at least 1,000 left the
immediate vicinity o f Greenville and since that time others have
continued to go in large numbers.1
Greenwood, with a population evenly balanced between the
white and black, had passed through the unusual crisis o f bad
crops and the invasion o f the boll weevil. The migration from
this point, therefore, was at first a relief to the city rather than
a loss. The negroes, in the beginning, therefore, moved into
the Delta and out to Arkansas until the call for laborers in the
North. The migration from this point to the North reached
its height in the winter and spring o f 1916 and 1917. The
migrants would say that they were going to Memphis, but when
you next heard from them, they would be in Chicago, St. Louis
or Detroit. The police at the Illinois Central depot had been
handling men roughly. When they were rude to one, ten or
twelve left. Young men usually left on night trains. Next day
their friends would say, “ Ten left last night,” or, “ Twelve left
last night” In this manner the stream started. Friends would
notify others o f the time and place o f special trains. The type
o f negro leaving is indicated in the decline in the church mem­
bership. Over 300 o f those who left were actively connected
with some church. During the summer o f 1917, 100 houses
1 The lumber mills and the local corporations provide a great part o f
the work for laborers in the city. Wages last year ranged from $125 to
$1.50 a day. Wages at present are $1.75 and $2 a day. Cotton picking last
year brought 60 and 75 cents a hundred; at present $2 is paid for every
hundred pounds picked.
The city has enacted “ move o n ” lawsintending
to get rid o f drones. The police, it is said, could not distinguish drones
from “ all negroes.”
It was further complained that the police deputies and sheriffs are too
free with the use o f their clubs and guns when a negro is involved. It
was related that D r .------, practising 47 years in Greenville, Mississippi, was
driving his buggy in a crowded street on circus day when he was com­
manded by a policeman to drive to one side and let a man pass. He replied
that he could not because he himself was jammed. He was commanded
again and then dragged from the buggy, clubbed and haledinto the police
court and fined. The officer who arrested him swore that he had given
frequent trouble, which was untrue according to reliable testimony and his
own statement. This incident is also told:
A policeman's friend needed a cook. The policeman drove by a negro
home and, seeing a woman on the porch, told her to get in the buggy. No
questions were permitted. She was carried to his friend’s home and told
to work. The woman prepared one meal and left the city for the North.—
Johnson. Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



stood vacant in the town and over 300 were abandoned in the
McShein addition. As the crops were gathered people moved
in from the country, from the southern part o f the State and
from the “ hills ” generally to take the places o f those who had
left for the North.
There was no concerted movement from Clarksdale, a town
with a population o f about 400 whites and 600 blacks; but
families appeared to slip away because o f the restlessness and
uneasiness in evidence everywhere. From the rural district
around there was considerable migration to Arkansas, but con­
siderable numbers were influenced to leave for Buffalo and
Chicago. Mound Bayou lost some o f its population also to
Arkansas and the North, as they could buy land cheaper in
the former and find more lucrative employment in the latter.
Natchez did not suffer a serious loss o f population until the
invasion o f the boll weevil and the floods.
Hattiesburg, a large lumber center, was at the beginning o f
the exodus, almost depopulated. Some o f the first migrants
went to Pennsylvania but the larger number went to Chicago.
It became a rallying point for many negroes who assembled
there ostensibly to go to New Orleans, at which place they
easily provided for their transportation to Chicago and other
points in the North. From Laurel in Jones county, a large
sawmill district, it is estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000
negroes moved north. About 3,000 left Meridian for Chicago,
St. Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Indianola, a town with a num­
ber o f negro independent enterprises, also became upset by this
movement, losing a considerable number o f progressive families.
Gulfport, a coast town a short distance from New Orleans, lost
about one-third o f its negro population. About 45 families
left Bobo for Arkansas, and 15 families went to the North.
Johnstown, Mississippi, lost 150 o f its 400 negroes.1
The owners o f turpentine industries and lumber plants in
southeastern Mississippi were especially affected by the exodus.
In Hinds, Copiah, Lincoln, Rankin, Newton and Lake counties,
many white residents rather than suffer their crops to be lost,
•Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



worked in the fields. It was reported that numbers o f these
whites were leaving for the Delta and for Kentucky, Tennessee
and Arkansas. Firms there attempted to look in the North
that they might send for the negroes whom they had pre­
viously employed, promising them an advance in wages.
A t the same, time the Illinois Central Railroad was carrying
from New Orleans and other parts o f Louisiana thousands into
Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. At the Illinois Central Railroad
station in that city, the agent had been having his hands full
taking names o f colored laborers wanting and waiting to go
North. About the first o f April, 1917, there came also the
reports from New Orleans that 300 negro laborers left there
on the Southern Pacific steamer for New York, and 500 more
left later on another o f the same company’s steamships bound
also for New York, it was said, to work for the company.
Thousands thus left for the North and West and East, the
number reaching over 1,200.
It is an interesting fact that this migration from the South
followed the path marked out by the Underground Railroad
o f antebellum days. Negroes from the rural districts moved
first to the nearest village or town, then to the city. On the
plantations it was not regarded safe to arrange for transporta­
tion to the North through receiving and sending letters. On
the other hand, in the towns and cities there was more security
in meeting labor agents. The result o f it was that cities like
New Orleans, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Savannah and Mem­
phis became concentration points. From these cities migrants
were rerouted along the lines most in favor.
The principal difference between this course and the Under­
ground Railroad was that in the later movement the southern­
most States contributed the largest numbers. This perhaps is
due in part to the selection o f Florida and Georgia by the first
concerns offering the inducement o f free transportation, and
at the same time it accounts for the very general and intimate
knowledge o f the movement by the people in States through
which they were forced to pass. In Hattiesburg, Mississippi,
for example, the first intimation o f a great movement o f negroes



to the North came through reports that thousands o f negroes
were leaving Florida for the North. T o the negroes o f Florida,
South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia the North means Penn­
sylvania, New Jersey, New York and New England. The route
is more direct, and it is this section o f the northern expanse
o f the United States that gets widest advertisement through
tourists, and passengers and porters on the Atlantic coast
steamers. The northern newspapers with the greatest circula­
tion are from Pennsylvania and New York, and the New York
colored weeklies are widely read. Reports from all o f these
south Atlantic States indicate that comparatively few persons
ventured into the Northwest when a better known country lay
before them.
The Pennsylvania Railroad, one o f the first to import laborers .
in large numbers, reports that o f the 12,000 persons brought
to Pennsylvania over its road, all but 2,000 were from Florida
and Georgia. The tendency was to continue along the first
definite path. Each member o f the vanguard controlled a small
group o f friends at home, if only the members o f his immediate
family. Letters sent back, representing that section o f the North
and giving directions concerning the route best known, easily
influenced the next groups to join their friends rather than
explore new fields. In fact, it is evident throughout the move­
ment that the most congested points in the North when the
migration reached its height, were those favorite cities to which
the first group had gone.1 An intensive study o f a group o f 77
families from the South, selected at random in Chicago, showed
but one family from Florida and no representation at all from
North and South Carolina. A tabulation o f figures and facts
from 500 applications for work by the Chicago League on
Urban Conditions among Negroes gives but a few persons
from North Carolina, twelve from South Carolina and one
from Virginia. The largest number, 102t came from Georgia.
Applicants for work in New York from the south Atlantic
States are overwhelming.2
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 Ibid.



For the east and west south central States, the Northwest
was more accessible and better known. St. Louis and Cin­
cinnati are the nearest northern cities to the South and excur­
sions have frequently been run there from New Orleans, through
the State o f Mississippi. There are in St. Louis, as in other
more northern cities, little communities o f negroes from the
different sections o f the South. The mail order and clothing
houses o f Chicago have advertised this city throughout the
South. The convenience o f transportation makes the Northwest
a popular destination for migrants from Mississippi, Alabama,
Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee. The Illinois Central Railroad
runs directly to New Orleans through Tennessee and Mississippi.
There were other incidental factors which determined the
course o f the movement Free trains from different sections
broke new paths by overcoming the obstacles o f funds for trans­
portation. N o questions were asked o f the passengers, and, in
some instances, as many as were disposed to leave were carried.
When once they had advanced beyond the Mason and Dixon
line, many fearing that fees for transportation would be de­
ducted from subsequent pay, if they were in the employ o f
the parties who, as they understood, were advancing their fares,
deserted the train at almost any point that looked attractive.
Employment could be easily secured and at good wages. Many
o f these unexpected and premature destinations became the
nucleuses for small colonies whose growth was stimulated and
assisted by the United States postal service.

W h e re M ig r a n t s w ent
Where M ig r a n t s Cam e f r o m
W h ere M ig ra tio n W as //e a s ie s t

Efforts to Check the Movement
■ The departure o f the first negroes usually elicited no concern
from the authorities. It was assumed that their actions were
merely expressions o f the negro’ s “ love for travel,” and that
they would soon return. When, however, they did not return
and hosts o f others followed, the white South became deeply
concerned and endeavored to check the movement. Throughout
the exodus drastic legislation and force were employed. In
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia laws were passed
in an effort to suppress the activities o f labor agents. Licenses
were made prohibitively high; labor agents were arrested and
heavily fined. In some cases their coming was penalized to
prohibit their operations entirely and they frequently suffered
physical injury.
In Florida labor recruiting early assumed a serious aspect.
Precaution was, therefore, taken to impede the progress o f the
work o f labor agents among negroes, at first by moral suasion
and then by actual force. The cities and towns o f this State
enacted measures requiring a very high license o f labor agents,
imposing in case o f failure to comply with these regulations, a
penalty o f imprisonment. For example, in Tampa when these
operations were brought to the attention o f the authorities,
Joe Robinson, a negro officer, was detailed to investigate the
matter. He discovered that one Joyce and another negro named
Alex Reeves were implicated in the movement. These men
were charged with having collected $7 from each o f several
hundred negroes who wanted to go to Pennsylvania. A meet­
ing among the negroes o f Tampa was then held to secure pledges
o f assistance for the negro officer, then making an effort to
prevent the exodus. Being under the impression that the ig­
norant members o f their race were being imposed upon by




agents from without, many o f these leading negroes pledged
themselves to assist in the suppression o f it.1
In Jacksonville, where the labor agents flourished, the City
Council passed an ordinance requiring that migration agents
should pay $1,000 license to recruit labor sent out o f the State
under penalty o f $600 fine and 60 days in jail. Several police
detectives were assigned the task o f arresting those who were
said to be spreading false reports among negroes there to the
effect that special trains were ready on various specified dates
to take them to points in the North. When, therefore, large
crowds o f negroes gathered near the Union Depot in Jack­
sonville, awaiting the so-called special train, they were handled
rather roughly by the police when it was shown that they had
not purchased tickets and there was no one to vouch for their
The same condition with respect to the apparent necessity
for prohibitive measures obtained in Georgia. The local gov­
ernments early took action to prevent the drain o f the labor
population to northern States through the operation o f labor
agents. It was soon observed, however, that these agents worked
out their schemes so clandestinely that it was impossible to
check the movement by such measures. Fearing that the general
unrest among the negroes o f the city and the efforts that were
being put forth on the part o f the authorities to keep them
from being transported from Macon to the North, might result
in a riot with which the city authorities would not be able
to cope, Chief o f Police George S. Riley recommended to the
civil service commission that forty magazine rifles be purchased
for the police department.2 At that time the police had only
their pistols and clubs. It was said that surliness then existed
among certain negroes and the police wanted to be able to cope
with any situation that might arise. The City Council, there­
after, raised the license fee for labor agents to $25,000, requir­
ing also that such an agent be recommended by ten local min­
isters, ten manufacturers and twenty-five business men. The
1 Work, Report on the Migration from Florida.
* Atlantic Constitution, November 1, 1916.



police o f Macon were very active in running down labor agents
violating this law.
Americus was honeycombed and carefully watched and
searched for persons inducing negroes to migrate, as there was
a large exodus o f negroes from this city to the tobacco fields
o f Connecticut. Negroes attempting to leave were arrested and
held to see if by legal measures they could be deterred from
going North. The officers in charge o f this raid were armed
with State warrants charging misdemeanors and assisted by a
formidable array o f policemen and deputy sheriffs. Negroes
were roughly taken from the trains and crowded into the prisons
to await trial for these so-called misdemeanors. Although the
majority o f them were set free after their trains had left the
city, the leaders in most cases suffered humiliation at the hands
o f the officers o f the law.1
A t Thomasville, a white man and a negro were arrested,
charged with the usual crime o f being labor agents. Much ex­
citement followed. Fearing serious results, the colored ministers
o f this city endeavored to stop the exodus. A committee o f
their most prominent citizens met with the mayor and discussed
the matter freely. They arranged for a large mass meeting o f
white and colored citizens who undertook to cooperate in bring­
ing the exodus to an end. The white citizens o f Waycross ex­
perienced the same trouble with labor agents, but had much
difficulty in finding out exactly who they were and how they
contrived to make such inroads on the population.1
The situation became more critical in Savannah, one o f the
largest assembling points for migrants in the South. When the
loss o f labor became so serious and ordinary efforts to check
it failed, more drastic measures were resorted to. On the thir­
teenth o f August, for example, when there spread through the
city the rumor that two special trains would leave for the North,
there followed great commotion among the negroes, who, already
much disturbed by the agitation for and against the movement,
were easily induced to start for the North. When, at about five
1 Work, Report on the Migration from Georgia.
2 Ibid.



o ’clock that morning, 2,000 negroes assembled at the station
for this purpose, the county police, augmented by a detachment
o f city officers, appeared at the station and attempted to clear
the tracks; but the crowd being so large the officers finally found
their task impossible, for as they would clear one section o f the
tracks the crowd would surge to another. The crowd was
extremely orderly and good natured and the two arrests that
were made were for minor offenses. As these trains failed to
move according to orders, over 300 o f this group paid their
own fares and proceeded to the North.1
A few days later Savannah reached a crisis in the labor move­
ment agitation, when over 100 negroes were placed under arrest
at the Union Depot and sent to the police barracks. Several
patrol wagon loads o f police arrived at the station and imme­
diately a cordon was formed by the police around all negroes
in the lobby and every exit from the station was guarded. By
this unusual sight many persons were attracted to the station
and excitement ran high. Many negroes were arrested with
a view to finding out the leaders o f the movement, but upon
failure to discover the facts in the case the lieutenant in charge
ordered the men in custody to be incarcerated on charges o f
T o show how groundless these charges were, one need but
to note the character o f some o f the persons arrested. Four
carpenters from Lumpkin, Georgia, had just arrived and were
waiting for a contractor for whom they had agreed to work a
short distance from the city. Another young man entered the
station to purchase a ticket to Burroughs, Georgia, to see rela­
tives, but he was not only incarcerated but had to give a bond
o f $100 for his appearance next morning. Another young man,
working for the Pullman Company, entered the depot to cash
a check for $11 when he was arrested, sent to jail and searched.
Still another, a middle-aged man o f most pleasing appearance,
had just arrived from Jacksonville, Florida, and was waiting
in the station until the time to proceed by boat that afternoon
to New York. On one occasion, J. H. Butler, manager o f the
1 Work, Report on the Migration from Georgia.



Savannah Tribune, a negro newspaper, was arrested charged
with violation o f the city and State law o f sending labor out
o f the city. H e was obliged to give bond o f $400 to appear
in court the next day. At the same time seventeen college boys
who were waiting at a New Y ork steamer dock were also appre­
hended. The trial o f the men before the recorder proved farcical,
not a single one o f the hundred or more prisoners being required
to testify. A fter the chief o f the detective force and several
police lieutenants had testified, Recorder Schwartz ordered the
men all released, but not before he had taken occasion to upbraid
the police force for the unnecessarily large number o f arrests.1
Alabama was equally alive to the need to suppress the migra­
tion propaganda among negroes. T o this end the Montgomery
City Commission on September 19, 1916, passed an ordinance
to the effect that any person who would entice, persuade or
influence any laborer or other person to leave the city o f Mont­
gomery for the purpose o f being employed at any other place
as a laborer must on conviction be fined not less than one nor
more than one hundred dollars, or may be sentenced to hard
labor for the city, for not more than six months, one or both
in the discretion o f the court The other ordinance provided
that any person, firm or corporation who published, printed or
wrote or delivered or distributed or posted or caused to be
published, printed or written or delivered or distributed or
posted, any advertisement, letter, newspaper, pamphlet, hand­
bill or other writing, for the purpose o f enticing, persuading
or influencing any laborer or other person to leave the city o f
Montgomery for the purpose o f being employed at any other
place as a laborer must on conviction be fined not less than
one hundred dollars, or may be sentenced to hard labor for
the city for not more than six months, one or both in the dis­
cretion o f the court. Labor agents and other leaders both white
and black were arrested throughout the State in accordance with
the usual custom o f preferring technical charges.*
The treatment of the movement in Mississippi was no ex­
1 Work, Report on the Migration from Georgia.
* W ork, Report on the Migration from Alabama.



ception to the rule. At Jackson, the “ pass riders/' as they were
called, were so molested by the police that they were finally
driven from the town. In the same town the citizens were
reported to have forced the railroads to discontinue the use o f
passes on the threat o f damaging their interests and influencing
decisions in court cases. Negroes were secretly enticed away,
however, after they had been dispersed from the railway sta­
tions and imprisoned when in the act o f boarding the trains.
The police interfered at one time with negroes leaving, espe­
cially when it was suspected that they were leaving on passes.
T o circumvent this, negroes would go two or three stations
below Jackson where there were no policemen and board the
trains. It was the unanimous opinion o f whites and blacks
who observed the almost frantic efforts to leave the town, that
any attempt to hinder by intimidation or by making it difficult
to leave, simply served to make them more determined to leave.1
At Greenville, Mississippi, trains were stopped. Negroes were
dragged therefrom and others were prevented from boarding
them. Strangers were searched for evidence that might con­
vict them as labor agents. It is also reported that local authori­
ties were reprimanded for interfering with interstate commerce.
At Greenwood there was much complaint against the brutality
o f the police, whose efforts to intimidate negroes carried them
beyond bounds. A chartered car carrying fifty men and women
was sidetracked at Brookhaven for three days. The man con­
ducting the passengers was arrested, but when no charge was
brought against him, he was released.1
A Hattiesburg, Mississippi, ticket agent attempted on the ad­
vice o f citizens to interfere with negroes leaving by refusing
to sell tickets. Some one called the attention o f the general
superintendent to the matter. Thereafter the man was courteous
and even assisted the migrants. Police arrested one or two men
at the station, and, according to one o f the men, made the
crowd so angry that they swore they would not stop until all
had gone. There are cited further instances o f letters to plan­
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 Ibid.



tation hands which were detained and telegrams which were
delayed. A t Meridian, Mississippi, a trainload o f negroes en
route to the North was held up by the chief o f police on a
technical charge. It is said that the United States marshal
arrested him and placed him under heavy bond for delaying the
train. The federal authorities were importuned to stop the
movement. They withdrew the assistance o f the Employment
Department, but admitted that they could not stop the interstate
One remarked, however, “ It will scarcely be possible, to make
a sectional issue o f these Columbus convictions, as the charge
o f ‘ enticing away o f labor ’ in that country is aimed at certain
Arkansas planters who carried away several carloads o f negroes
to work on their places, leaving the Mississippi employers with­
out the labor to gather or grow their crops. It can not, there­
fore, be interpreted as an attempt to keep the negro in semi­
slavery in the South and prevent him from going to work at
better wages in the northern munition factories; it is only an
effort to protect Mississippi employers from Arkansas planters.” 2
The alarm felt over the exodus prompted the mayor o f New
Orleans to telegraph the president o f the Illinois Central Rail­
road, asking that his road stop carrying negroes to the North.
The latter replied that he had viewed with much concern the
heavy exodus o f negro labor from the South during the past
year, and, because o f his very important interest in that section,
it was not to his advantage to encourage it, but as common
carriers, they could not refuse to sell tickets or to provide the
necessary transportation. It seemed to him that as long as their
friends and kinsmen who had preceded them to the North and
East were receiving a high scale o f wages, the South would
have to look for continued movement.*
A fter having enforced these drastic measures without securing
satisfactory results, and having seen that any attempt to hold
the negroes by force resulted apparently in an increased deter­
mination to leave, there was resort to the policy o f frightening
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.
2 Times Picayune, New Orleans, October 1, 1916.
3 Work, Report on the Migration from Louisiana.



the negroes away from the North by circulating rumors as to
the misfortunes to be experienced there. Negroes were then
warned against the rigors o f the northern winter and the death
rate from pneumonia and tuberculosis. Social workers in the
North reported frequent cases o f men with simple colds who
actually believed that they had developed “ consumption.”
Speakers who wished to discourage the exodus reported “ exact ”
figures on the death rate o f the migrants in the North that were
astounding. As, for example, it was said by one Reverend
Mr. Parks that there were 2,000 o f them sick in Philadelphia.
The editor o f a leading white paper in Jackson, Mississippi,
made the remark that he feared that the result o f the first
winter’s experience in the North would prove serious to the
South, in so far as it would remove the bugbear o f the northern
climate. The returned migrants were encouraged to speak in
disparagement o f the North and to give wide publicity to their
utterances, emphasizing incidents o f suffering reported through
the press.
When such efforts as these failed, however, the disconcerted
planters and business men o f the South resorted to another
plan. Reconciliation and persuasion were tried. Meetings were
held and speakers were secured and advised what to say. In
cities and communities where contact on this plane had been
^infrequent, it was a bit difficult to approach the subject. The
press of Georgia gave much space to the discussion o f the
movement and what ought to be done to stop it. The consensus
o f opinion o f the white papers in the State was that the negro
had not been fairly treated, and that better treatment would
be one o f the most effective means o f checking the migration.
Mob violence, it was pointed out, was one o f the chief causes
o f the exodus.1
The Tifton (Georgia) Gasette commenting on the causes
They have allowed negroes to be lynched, five at a time, on nothing
stronger than suspicion; they have allowed whole sections to be depopulated
o f them (notably in several north Georgia counties) ; they have allowed

1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



them to be whitecapped and to be whipped, and their homes burned, with
only the weakest and most spasmodic efforts to apprehend or punish those
guilty—when any efforts were made at all. Loss o f much o f the State’s .
best labor is one o f the prices Georgia is paying for unchecked mob activity
against negroes often charged only with ordinary crimes. Current dis­
patches from Albany, Georgia, in the center o f the section apparently most
affected, and where efforts are being made to stop the exodus by spreading
correct information among the negroes, say that the heaviest migration o f
negroes has been from those counties in which there have been the worst
outbreaks against negroes. It is developed by investigation that where there
have been lynchings, the negroes have been most eager to believe what the
emigration agents have told them o f plots for the removal or extermination
o f the race. Comparatively few negroes have left Dougherty county, which
is considered significant in view o f the fact that this is one o f the counties
in southwest Georgia in which a lynching has never occurred.

A t Thomasville, Georgia, a mass meeting o f colored citizens
o f the town with many from the country was held at the court
house and addresses were made by several prominent white
men, as well as by several colored with a view to taking some
steps in regard to the exodus o f negroes from this section to
the North and West. The whole sentiment o f the meeting was
very amicable, the negroes applauding enthusiastically the
speeches o f the white men and the advice given by them. Reso­
lutions were drawn up by a committee expressing the desire
that the people o f the two races continue to live together as
they have done l.i the past and that steps be taken to adjust any
difference between them.1
A fter a conference o f three days at Waycross, Georgia, the
negroes came to a decision as to the best manner in which to
present their cause to the white people with a view to securing
their cooperation towards the improvement o f conditions in
the South to make that section more habitable. “ There are
four things o f which our people complain,” they said, “ and
this conference urges our white friends to secure for us these
things with all possible speed. First, more protection at the
hands o f the law. W e ask that the law o f the State, made
and enforced by white men, should be made to apply with exact
justice to both races. W e have no sympathy for criminals,
but we ask that the innocent shall be protected to the fullest
1 Atlanta Constitution, June 1, 1917.



extent o f the law. Second, that more liberal provisions be made
for the education o f our people.” They commended Governor
Dorsey for his courageous recommendation in his inaugural
address that an agricultural school should be established for
negroes in some center in southern Georgia, and asked their
friends everywhere to urge the members o f the legislature from
the various counties to put Governor Dorsey's noble sentiments
into law. These memorialists felt, too, that as far as possible,
wages should be in keeping with the cost o f living, and that the
white people generally should take an interest in the general
welfare o f the negroes.1
Tuskegee Institute was also quick to offer a remedy for the
migration. In the latter part o f September, 1916, the institu­
tion made a strong effort to persuade the negro farmers to
remain on the land instead o f going to the cities. Conferences
were held with the bankers o f Tuskegee and with many planters
o f Macon county and a method o f dealing with the situation
was worked out. This method embraced a number o f helpful
suggestions as to how to solve their many perplexing problems.2
1 1. D. Davis served as president o f the conference and J. B. Ellis as
secretary. Former Superior Court Judge T. A. Parker and V. L. Stanton,
president o f the Chamber o f Commerce, were among the prominent white
people who attended. It was the sense o f the conference that the colored
people as a rafce should do all in their power in the present crisis to assist
the government and, above all else, to help themselves by conserving food.
The president o f the conference said the colored people had to work harder
than ever before with so many problems confronting their country. “ It is
no time for loafing,” he said, “ we must work early and late, and make our
work count/—Savannah Morning News, July 18, 1917.
2 The suggestions were: to encourage the farmer to plant peanuts, soy
beans, velvet beans and cotton as cash crops; to create a cash market for
such crops named above as at present have no cash market; to encourage
tenants to grow fall and winter gardens and to plant at least five acres
o f oats to the plow, seed being furnished when necessary; to stipulate, in
making tenant contracts for another year, that cotton stalks be plowed
under in the fall, that special methods of combating the boll weevil be used.
T o advance no more than $25 to the plow, and, in every case possible, to
refrain from any advance; to encourage land holders to rent land for part
of the crops grown; to urge the exercise of leniency on unpaid notes and
mortgages due from thrifty and industrious farmers so as to give them a
chance to recover from the boll weevil conditions and storm losses; to create
a market lasting all year for such crops as hay, cow-peas, sweet potatoes,
poultry and live stock; to urge everybody to build fences and make pastures
so as to grow more live stock and to produce more nearly all o f the supplies
used on the farm ; to carry on a food campaign in the country, devoting
the first Sunday in October to the work o f urging the people to plant gardens
and sow oats, and to organize a Farmers’ Loan Association in Macon



A t the twenty-sixth annual negro conference at Tuskegee In­
stitute, the institution took that occasion to send through certain
declarations a message to the negroes o f the South. These decla­
rations recited the distress and suffering impelling the negroes
to migrate, expressing the appreciation o f the necessity to do
something to better their condition by embracing the new oppor­
tunities offered them in the North. On the other hand, this in­
stitution felt that there were many permanent opportunities for
the masses o f the colored people in the South, which is now
entering upon a great era o f development. Among these are
the millions o f acres o f land yet to be cultivated, cities to be
built, railroads to be extended and mines to be worked. These
memorialists considered it o f still greater importance to the
negro that in the South they have acquired land, buildings, etc.,
valued at about five hundred million dollars. The negroes were,
therefore, urged to stay on the soil which they owned.
Addressing a word to the white people o f the South, the con­
ference said that the disposition o f so many o f the blacks to
leave is not because they do not love the Southland but because
they believe that in the North they will not only have more
opportunity to get more money but that they will get better
treatment, better protection under the law and better school
facilities for their children. The conference urged, therefore,
that the southern white people avail themselves o f their greatest
opportunity to cooperate with the blacks in the various com­
munities and have a thordbgh understanding as to working for
the common welfare o f all. The delegates believed that the
time had come for the best element o f the whites and blacks
to unite to protect the interests o f both races to the end that
more effective work may be done in the upbuilding o f a greater
In the same way the people o f Mississippi soon discovered
that any attempt forcibly to hold negroes resulted apparently
in an increased determination to leave. N or was it sufficient
county to work with the Farmers’ Loan Bank being established by the
United States Government.
1 Report o f the Twenty-sixth Annual Negro Conference at Tuskesee



to warn the negroes against the rigors o f the northern winter
and the death rate from pneumonia and tuberculosis. In Green­
wood, Mississippi, the difficulty was circumvented by using the
Red Cross and the food conservation meetings as a forum for
the discussion o f the movement. This was the first time that
the negroes and whites o f Greenwood had met to discuss matters
o f mutual welfare. Bishop W . P. Thirkield o f New Orleans
addressed a body o f negroes and whites on the movement. He
suggested that whites get representative colored persons together
and find the cause. H e also suggested a remedy through better
treatment, more wages and more cooperation between the races.
Negro ministers stated that they were offered sums o f money
by bankers, planters and merchants to speak in discouragement
o f the movement. Some spoke, and others, by far the greater
number, seem to have remained neutral.1
It was found necessary to increase wages from ten to twentyfive per cent and in some cases as much as 100 per cent to
hold labor. The reasons for migration given by negroes were
sought. In almost all cases the chief complaint was about treat­
ment. An effort was made to meet this by calling conferences
and by giving publicity to the launching o f a campaign to make
unfair settlements and other such grievances unpopular. Thus,
in Bolivar county, Mississippi, a meeting was called, ostensibly
to look after the economic welfare o f the Delta country, but
in reality to develop sonle plan for holding labor. A subcom­
mittee o f seventeen men was appointed to look into the labor
situation. There were twelve white men and five negroes. The
subcommittee met and reported to the body that the present
labor shortage was due to the migration, and that the migration
was due to a feeling o f insecurity before the law, the unrestrained
action o f mobs, unfair methods o f yearly settlement on farms
and inadequate school facilities. As a result o f the report, it
was agreed to make an appropriation o f $25,000 towards an
agricultural high school, as a step towards showing an interest
in the negroes o f Bolivar county and thus give them reasons
for remaining. A campaign was started to make unpopular
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



the practice among fanners of robbing negroes of the returns
from their labor, and a general effort was made by a few of
the leading men behind the movement to create “ a better feel­
ing ” between the races.1
Wide publicity was given to the experiment in plantation
government, and the policy was accepted by a number of planters
as opportunistic action. Thus, one Mr. Abbott of Natchez,
Mississippi, told the planters of his section that good treatment,
adequate and sympathetic oversight are the important factors
in any effort to hold labor. He made a trip to his farm every
week, endeavoring to educate his tenants in modes of right
living. Every man on his place had a bank account and was
apparently satisfied. This example was presented with the state­
ment that where these methods had been used, few had left.
One planter purchased twenty-eight Ford automobiles to sell
on easy'terms to his tenants with the hope of contenting them.
The newspapers published numerous letters from southern
negro leaders urging negroes to consider well their step, assert­
ing that the South is the best place for them and that the
southern white man knows them and will in consequence be
more lenient with their shortcomings. The papers further urged
an increase in wages and better treatment. Wherever possible,
there were published articles which pointed to the material pros­
perity of negroes in the South. For example, a writer of Green­
ville, said of negroes’ loyalty in 1917:
The prosperity as well as the patriotism o f the negro farmer has been
shown in the purchase o f Liberty Bonds in the Delta. Many colored farm
laborers subscribed for bonds. Every family on the place o f Planter C. D.
Walcott, near Hollandale, took a bond, while one negro, Boley Cox, a
renter, bought bonds to the amount o f $1,000 and gave his check for the
total amount out o f the savings o f this year from his crop and still has
cotton to sell. There are negro families on Delta plantations making more
money this year than the salary o f the governor o f the State.

When migrants could be induced to talk freely, they com­
plained also against the treatment in the courts. Some of the
cities consequently are known to have suspended their raids
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



and arrests on petty charges. In some instances the attempts
at pacification reached almost incredible bounds. For example,
a negro missed connection with his train through the fault
o f the railroad. His white frie'nd advised him to bring suit.
This he did and urged as his principal grievance that he was
stranded in a strange town and was forced to sleep in quarters
wholly at the mercy o f bed bugs. It is said that he was awarded
damages to the extent o f $800. A Jackson, Mississippi, daily
paper that had been running a column o f humorous incidents
about negroes taken from the daily court sessions, which was
very distasteful to the colored people o f the city, discontinued
it. Such methods as these have been the only ones to prove
effective in bringing about an appreciable stem in the tide.
With the advent o f the United States Government constructing
cantonments and establishing manufacturing plants in the South,
the millions thus diverted to that section have caused such an
increase in wages that the movement has been decidedly checked.

Effects of the Movement on the South
The first changes wrought by this migration were unusually
startling. Homes found themselves without servants, factories
could not operate because o f the lack o f labor, farmers were
unable to secure laborers to harvest their crops. Streets in towns
and cities once crowded assumed the aspect o f deserted thorough­
fares, houses in congested districts became empty, churches,
lodges and societies suffered such a large loss o f membership
that they had to close up or undergo reorganization.
Probably the most striking change was the unusual increase
in wages. The wages for common labor in Thomasville, Georgia,
increased almost certainly 100 per cent. In Valdosta there was
a general increase in the town and county o f about 50 per cent,
in Brunswick and Savannah the same condition obtained. The
common laborer who had formerly received 80 cents a day
earned thereafter $1.50 to $1.75. Farm hands working for
from $10 to $15 per month were advanced to $20 or $35 per
month. Brick masons who had received 50 cents per hour
thereafter earned 6216 cents and 70 cents per hour. In Savan­
nah common laborers paid as high as $2 per day were advanced
to $3. A t the sugar refinery the rates were for women, 15 to
22 cents per hour, men, 22 to 30 cents per hour. In the more
skilled lines o f work, the wages were for carpenters, $4 to $3
per day, painters, $2.50 to $4 per day, and bricklayers $4 to
$5 per day.
The increase in the Birmingham district may be studied
as a type o f the changes effected in the industrial centers o f
the South, as Birmingham is a great coal mining center and,
With the exception o f Pittsburgh, is the greatest iron ore dis­
trict in the United States. On November 6, 1917, the average
daily wage earnings o f forty-five men was $5.49. On Novem86



ber 10, 1917, the average for seventy-five men was $5.30. One
man was earning $10 a day, two $9 to $10 a day, five $8 to $9,
six $7» to $8, ten $6 to $7, fourteen $5 to $6, thirty-two $4 to
$5, nine $3 to $4, and six under $3. In the other coal and
iron ore sections the earnings had been similarly increased.1
In Mississippi, largely a farming section, wages did not in­
crease to the extent that they did in Alabama, but some increase
was necessary to induce the negroes to remain on the planta­
tions and towns to keep the industries going. In Greenville
wages increased at first about ten per cent but this did not
suffice to stop the migration, for, because o f the scarcity o f
labor, factories and stores had to employ white porters, drug­
gists had to deliver their own packages and firms had to resort
to employing negro women. On the farms much of the crop
was lost on account o f the scarcity o f labor. In Greenwood
wages o f common laborers increased from $1 and $1.25 to $1.75
per day. Clarksdale was also compelled to offer laborers more
remuneration. Vicksburg found it necessary to increase the
wages o f negroes from $1.25 to $2 per day. There were laborers
on steamboats who received $75 to $100 per month.
At Leland 500 to 1,000 men received $1.75 per day. The
oil mills o f Indianola raised the wages o f the negroes from
$1.50 to $2 per day. At Laurel the average daily wage was
raised from $1.35 to $1.65, the maximum wage being $2. Wages
increased at Meridian from 90 cents and $1.25 to $1.50 and
$1.75 per day. The wholesale houses increased the compensa­
tion o f their employes from $10 to $12 per week. From $1.10
in Hattiesburg the daily wage was raised to $1.75 and $2 per
day. Wages in Jackson increased from $1 and $1.25 to $1.35
and $1.50 per day. In Natchez there was an increase o f 25
per cent. On the whole, throughout the State there was an
increase o f from 10 to 30 per cent and in some instances o f
as much as 100 per cent.1
Throughout the South there was not only a change in policy
as to the method o f stopping the migration o f the blacks to

1 Work, Report on the Migration from Alabama.
2 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



the North, but a change in the economic policy o f the South.
Southern business men and planters soon found out that it was
impossible to treat the negro as a serf and began to deal with
him as an actual employe entitled to his share o f the returns
from his labor. It was evident that it would be very much
better to have the negroes as coworkers in a common cause
than to have them abandon their occupations in the South, leav•ing their employers no opportunity to secure to themselves ade­
quate income to keep them above want.
A more difficult change o f attitude was that o f the labor
unions. They had for years been antagonistic to the negroes
and had begun to drive them from many o f the higher pursuits
o f labor which they had even from the days o f slavery monopo­
lized. The skilled negro laborer has gradually seen his chances
grow less and less as the labor organizations have invaded the
South. In the end, however, the trade unions have been com­
pelled to yield, although complete economic freedom o f the negro
in the South is still a matter o f prospect.
There was, too, a decided change in the attitude o f the whole
race toward the blacks. The white people could be more easily
reached, and very soon there was brought about a better under­
standing between the races. Cities gave attention to the im­
provement o f the sanitary condition o f the negro sections, which
had so long been neglected; negroes were invited to take part
in the clean-up week; the Women’s Health League called special
meetings o f colored women, conferred with them and urged them
to organize community clubs. Committees o f leading negroes
dared to take up with their employers the questions o f better
accommodations and better treatment o f negro labor. Members
o f these committees went before -chambers o f commerce to set
forth their claims. Others dared boldly to explain to them that
the negroes were leaving the South because they had not been
given the treatment which should be accorded men.
Instead o f expressing their indignation at such efforts on
the part o f the negroes, the whites listened to them attentively.
Accordingly, joint meetings o f the whites and blacks were held
to hear frank statements o f the case from speakers o f both



races. One of the most interesting o f these meetings was the
one held in Birmingham, Alabama. The negroes addressing
the audience frankly declared that it was impossible to bring
back from the North the migrants who were making good there,
but that the immediate problem requiring solution was how to
hold in the South those who had not gone. These negroes made
it clear that it was impossible for negro leaders through the
pulpit and press to check the movement, but that only through
a change in the attitude o f the whites to the blacks could the
latter be made to feel that the Southland is safe for them.
Here we see the coming to pass o f a thing long desired by
those interested in the welfare o f the South and long rejected
by those who have always prized the peculiar interest o f one
race more highly than the welfare o f all. White men, for the
first time, were talking on the streets with negroes just as white
men talk with each other. The merchants gave their negro
patrons more attention and consideration. A' prominent white
man said, “ I have never seen such changes as have come about
within the last four months. I know o f white men and negroes
who have not dared to speak to one another on the streets to
converse freely.,, The suspension o f harsh treatment was so
marked in some places that few negroes neglected to mention it.
In Greenwood and Jackson, Mississippi, the police were in­
structed to curtail their practices o f beating negroes. Several
court cases in which negroes were involved terminated favorably
for them. There followed directly after the exodus an attempt
at more even handed justice, or at least some conciliatory meas­
ures were adopted. The authorities at Laurel, Mississippi, were
cautioned to treat negroes better, so as to prevent their leaving.
There is cited the case o f a negro arrested on an ambiguous
charge. He was assigned to the county chain gang and put
to work on the roads. At this time the treatment in the courts
was being urged by negroes as a reason for leaving. This
negro’ s case was discussed. He was sent back from the county
roads alone for a shovel. He did not return; and his feturn
was not expected.1
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



Conferences o f negroes and whites in Mississippi emphasized
the necessity o f cooperation between the races for their common
good. The whites said, to quote a negro laborer, “ W e must
just get together.” A negro said: “ The dominant race is just
a bit less dominant at present.” “ W e are getting more con­
sideration and appreciation,” said another. From another quar­
ter came the remark that “ instead o f the old proverbial accu­
sation— shiftless and unreliable— negro labor is being heralded
as ‘ the only dependable labor extant, etc.’ ” 1 A general re­
view o f the results made it clear that there was a disposition
on the part o f the white population to give some measure o f
those benefits, the denial o f which was alleged as the cause
o f the exodus. For those who remained conditions were much
more tolerable, although there appeared to persist a feeling o f
apprehension that these concessions would be retracted as soon
as normal times returned. Some were o f the opinion that the
exodus was o f more assistance to those negroes who stayed be­
hind than to those who went away.
A s a matter o f fact, the white people in the South began
to direct attention to serious work o f reconstruction to make
that section inviting to the negro. Bolivar county, Mississippi,
as a direct result o f the recommendation o f the labor committee,
made an appropriation o f $25,000 toward an agricultural high
school, the first o f its kind in the State. The school boards
o f Coahoma and Adams counties have appointed Jeanes Founda­
tion Supervisors and, in Coahoma county, promised a farm
demonstration agent. They also made repairs on the school
buildings in towns, and prominent whites have expressed a
willingness to duplicate every dollar negroes raise for rural
school improvements. A large planter in the Big Creek neigh­
borhood has raised, together with his tenants, $1,000 for schools
and the superintendent o f schools has gone over the county
urging planters to give land for negro schools. T w o other large
planters, whose tenants number into the hundreds, have made
repairs on the schoolhouses on their plantations. The Mississippi
Council o f Defense passed a resolution calling upon the State
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration from Mississippi.



to put a farm demonstrator and home economics agent to work
in rural communities to make living conditions better in the
effort to induce the people to stay.
This upheaval in the South, according to an investigator, will
be helpful to all.
The decrease in the black population in those communities where the
negroes outnumber the whites will remove the fear o f negro domination.
Many o f the expensive precautions which the southern people have taken
to keep the negroes down, much o f the terrorism incited to restrain the
blacks from self-assertion will no longer be considered necessary; for,
having the excess in numbers on their side, the whites will finally rest
assured that the negroes may be encouraged without any apprehension that
they may develop enough power to subjugate or embarrass their former
The negroes, too, are very much in demand in the South and the intelli­
gent whites will gladly give them larger opportunities to attach them to
that section, knowing that the blacks, once conscious o f their power to move
freely throughout the country wherever they may improve their condition,
will never endure hardships like those formerly inflicted upon the race.
The South is already learning that the negro is the most desirable labor for
that section, that the persecution o f negroes not only drives them out but
makes the employment o f labor such a problem that the South will not be
an attractive section for capital. It will, therefore, be considered the duty
of business men to secure protection to the negroes lest their ill treatment
force them to migrate to the extent o f bringing about a stagnation o f
The exodus has driven home the truth that the prosperity o f the South
is at the mercy of the negro. Dependent on cheap labor, which the bull­
dozing whites will not readily furnish, the wealthy southerners must finally
reach the position o f regarding themselves and the negroes as having a
community o f interests which each must promote. “ Nature itself in those
States,” Douglass said, “ came to the rescue o f the negro. He had labor,
the South wanted it, and must have it or perish. Since he was free he
could then give it, or withhold it ; use it where he was, or take it elsewhere,
as he pleased. His labor made him a slave and his labor could, if he would,
make him free, comfortable and independent. It is more to him than either
fire, sword, ballot boxes or bayonets. It touches the heart o f the South
through its pocket.” Knowing that the negro has this silent weapon to be
used against his employer or the community, the South is already giving
the race better educational facilities, better railway accommodations, and
will eventually, if the advocacy o f certain southern newspapers be heeded,
grant them political privileges. Wages in the South, therefore, have risen
even in the extreme southwestern States, where there is an opportunity to
import Mexican labor. Reduced to this extremity, the southern aristocrats
have begun to lose some of their race prejudice, which has not hitherto
yielded to reason or philanthropy.



Southern men are telling their neighbors that their section must abandon
the policy o f treating the negroes as a problem and construct a program
for recognition rather than for repression. Meetings are, therefore, being
held to find out what the negroes want and what may be done to keep them
contented. They are told that the negro must be elevated, not exploited;
that to make the South what it must needs be, the cooperation o f all is
needed to train and equip the men o f all races for efficiency. The aim of
all then must be to reform or get rid o f the unfair proprietors who do not
give their tenants a fair division o f the returns from their labor. To
this end the best whites and blacks are urged to come together to find a
working basis for a systematic effort in the interest o f all.1

Another evidence o f the beneficent effects o f the decrease in
the population in the Black Belt o f the South is the interest now
almost generally manifested in the improvement o f the negro
quarters in southern cities. For a number o f years science has
made an appeal in behalf o f the thoroughly clean city, knowing
that since the germ does not draw the color line, a city can not
be kept clean as long as a substantial portion o f its citizens are
crowded into one o f its oldest and least desirable parts, neglected
by the city and avoided by the whites. Doing now what science
has hitherto failed to accomplish, this peculiar economic need
o f the negro in the South has brought about unusual changes
in the appearance o f southern cities. Darkened portions o f ur­
ban districts have been lighted; streets in need o f improvement
have been paved; the water, light and gas systems have been
extended to negro quarters and play grounds and parks have
been provided for their amusement.
N o less important has been the effect o f the migration on
the southern land tenure and the credit system, the very heart
o f the trouble in that section. For generations the negroes have
borne it grievously that it has been difficult to obtain land for
cultivation other than by paying exorbitant rents or giving their
landlords an unusually large share o f the crops. They have
been further handicapped by the necessity o f depending on such
landlords to supply them with food and clothing at such ex­
orbitant prices that their portion o f the return from their labor
has been usually exhausted before harvesting the crops. Cheated
thus in the making o f their contracts and in purchasing necessi-

1 Woodson, A Century o f Negro Migration, pp. 183-186.



ties, they have been but the prey o f sharks and harpies bent
upon keeping them in a state scarcely better than that o f slavery.
Southerners o f foresight have, therefore, severely ’'criticized
this custom and, in a measure, have contributed to its decline.
The press and the pulpit o f the South are now urging the planters
to abolish this system that the negroes may enjoy the fruits of
their own labor. It is largely because o f these urgent appeals
in behalf o f fair play, during the economic upheaval, that this
legalized robbery is losing its hold in the South.
Recently welfare work among negroes has become a matter
o f much concern to the industries o f the South in view o f the
exceptional efforts made along this line in the North. At the
very beginning o f the migration the National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes pointed out that firms wishing to
retain negro laborers and to have them become efficient must
give special attention to welfare work.1 A considerable number
o f firms employing negro laborers in the North have used the
services o f negro welfare workers. Their duties have been
to work with the men, study and interpret their wants and stand
as a medium between the employer and his negro workmen.
It has, therefore, come to be recognized in certain industrial cen­
ters in the South that money expended for this purpose is a
good investment. Firms employing negro laborers in any con­
siderable numbers have found out that they must be dealt with
on the same general basis as white laborers. Among the in­
dustries in the South now looking out for their negro laborers
in this respect are the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry
Dock Company, the American Cast Iron Pipe Company o f Bir­
mingham and the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company.
These efforts take the form which usually characterize the
operations of social workers. The laborers are cared for through
the Y. M. C. A., the Y. W . C. A., the National Urban League
1 At the National Conference, “ The Problems o f the Employment Man­
ager in Industry ” held at Rochester, New York, in May, 1918, considerable
time was given to this question. In discussing psychology in the employ­
ment o f negro workingmen Mr. E. K. Jones, Director of the Urban League,
pointed out that negro laborers must be given not only good housing and
recreation facilities but also the opportunity for advancement. “ Give them,”
said he, “ a chance to become foremen and to engage in all kinds o f skill
and delicate labor. This will inspire them and place new life in them.”



and social settlement establishments. The attention o f the wel­
fare workers is directed to the improvement o f living conditions
through proper sanitation and medical attention. They are sup­
plied with churches, school buildings and bath houses, enjoy
the advantages o f community singing, dramatic clubs and public
games, and receive instruction in gardening, sewing and cook­
ing. Better educational facilities are generally provided.
On the whole the South will profit by this migration. Such
an upheaval was necessary to set up a reaction in the southern
mind to enable its leaders o f thought to look beyond themselves
into the needs o f the man far down. There is in progress,
therefore, a reshaping o f public opinion, in fact a peaceful revo­
lution in a land cursed by slavery and handicapped by aristoc­
racy. The tendency, to maltreat the negroes without cause, the
custom o f arresting them for petty offenses and the institution
o f lynching have all been somewhat checked by this change
in the attitude o f the southern white man towards the negro.
The check in the movement o f the negroes to other parts may
to some extent interfere with this development o f the new
public opinion in the South, but this movement has been so
far reaching in its effect as to compel the thinking class o f the
South to construct and carry out a policy o f fair play to provide
against that day when that section may find itself again at the
mercy o f the laboring class o f the negroes.

The Situation in St. Louis
It will be both interesting and profitable to follow these
migrants into their new homes in the North. Among the most
interesting o f these communities is the black colony in St. Louis.
St. Louis is one o f the first cities o f the border States, a city
first in the memory o f the unsettled migrant when the North
was mentioned. During a long period thousands had gone
there, settled down for a while and moved on, largely to Illinois,
a sort o f promised land. Conservative estimates place the
number o f negro migrants who have remained there at 10,000.
The number o f migrants passing through this city, its reception
o f them, the living conditions provided and the community in­
terest displayed in grappling with the problem are facts extremely
necessary to an understanding o f the readjustment o f the
migrants in the North.
The composition o f the city’s population is significant. It
has a large foreign element. O f the foreign population Ger­
mans predominate, probably because o f the brewery industry
o f the American white population. The southern whites are
o f longest residence and dominate the sentiment. The large
industrial growth o f the town, however, has brought great
numbers o f northern whites. The result is a sort o f mixture
o f traditions. The apparent results o f this mixture may be
observed in these inconsistencies; separate schools, but common
transportation facilities; separate playgrounds, but common bath
houses; separate theaters and restaurants with the color line
drawn as strictly as in the South.1 There has been considerable
migration o f whites to this city from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ala­
bama and Mississippi.
l A segregation law was passed by an overwhelming majority. Negroes
secured an injunction and the matter rested there until the United States
Supreme Court declared the segregation laws invalid.



As there are separate schools in St. Louis, the statistics o f
the St. Louis system may serve as an index to the sources and
the increase o f the negro population. The school population was
known to increase approximately 500 between 1916 and 1917.1
The school registration shows communities in which have settled
numbers o f families from the same State and even the same
town. For example, in the vicinity o f the Dessalines School
in the 1700 block on 12th Street, North, Mississippi colonists
are in preponderant majority. The towns represented here are
located in the northeastern part o f that State. In the vicinity
o f the L ’Overture School are distinct colonies from west Ten­
nessee and Alabama. On Lawton Avenue, another popular
street, Mississippians also are in majority. What makes migra­
tion to St. Louis from these States easy is probably its convenient
location and direct railway communication with them. There
has been no influx from Texas and Florida.
H ow St. Louis secured her migrants makes an interesting
story. The difficulty o f apprehending labor agents can be ap­
preciated when it is recalled that the most zealous efforts o f
authority in the majority o f cases failed to find more than a
trace o f where they had been operating. It was asserted by
many o f the migrants to this city, however, that they had
been approached at some time by agents. Large industrial plants
located in the satellite city o f St. Louis sent men to Cairo, a
junction point, to meet incoming trains and make offers. There
developed a competition for men. They were first induced to
accept jobs in smaller towns, but lack o f recreational facilities
and amusements and the monotony o f life attracted them to
the bright lights o f St. Louis. The large alien population o f
this city at the beginning o f the war made some employers
anxious about the safety o f their plants. The brick yards had
been employing foreigners exclusively. When war began so
many left that it was felt that their business was in danger.
They advertised for 3,000 negroes, promising them $2.35 per
day. The railroad construction companies sent out men to
attract negroes to the city. They assert, however, that their
1 St. Louis School Reports, 1916 and 1917.



agents solicited men only after they had started for the North.1
The industries o f St. Louis had much to do with the migra­
tion. In this city there are more than twenty breweries. None
o f these employ negroes. St. Louis also has a large shoe in­
dustry. In this line no negroes are employed. A short while
ago a large steel plant employing foreigners in large numbers
had a strike. The strike was settled but the management took
precautions against its repetition. For each white person em­
ployed a negro was placed on a corresponding job. This parallel
extended from unskilled work to the highest skilled pursuits.
The assumption was that a strike, should it recur, could not
cripple their industry entirely. About 80 per cent o f the em­
ployes o f the brick yards, 50 per cent o f the employes o f the
packing houses, 50 per cent o f the employes o f the American
Car and Foundry Company are negroes. The terra cotta works,
electrical plants, united railways and a number o f other foundries
employ negroes in large numbers.2
The range o f wages for unskilled work is $2.25 to $3.35
per day, with an average wage o f about $2.75. For some skilled
work negroes receive from 35 cents to 50 cents an hour. Wages
differ even between St. Louis and East St. Louis, because o f
a difference in the types o f industries in the two cities. Domes­
tic service has been literally drained, and wages here have been
forced upwards to approximate in some measure the increase
in other lines.
The housing facilities for negroes, though not the best, are
superior to such accommodations in most southern cities. There
are about six communities in which the negroes are in the
majority. Houses here are as a rule old, having been occupied
by whites before they were turned over to negroes. Before
the migration to the city, property owners reported that they
could not keep their houses rented half o f the year. According
to the statements o f real estate men, entire blocks stood vacant,
and many vacant houses, after windows had been broken and
plumbing stolen, were wrecked to avoid paying taxes on them.
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to St. Louis,




Up to the period o f the riot in East St. Louis, houses were
easily available. The only congestion experienced at all fol­
lowed the overnight increase o f 7,000 negroes from East St.
Louis, after the riot. Rents then jumped 25 per cent, but nor­
mal conditions soon prevailed. Sanitation is poor, but the
women coming from the South, in the opinion o f a reputable
physician o f the city, are good housewives. New blacks have
been added to all o f the negro residential blocks. In the ten­
ement district there have been no changes. The select negro
residential section is the abandoned residential district o f the
whites. Few new houses have been .built. An increase o f
rent from $5 to $10 per month is usually the sequel o f the
turning over o f a house to negroes.
Community interest in the situation was at first dormant but
not entirely lacking. The migration was well under way be­
fore there was any organization to make an adjustment in
this unusual situation. Interested individuals made sporadic
efforts to bring pressure to bear here and there, but the situa­
tion was not really appreciated until the outbreak in East St.
Louis. There is an active branch o f the National Association
for the Advancement o f Colored People, and just recently there
has been established a branch o f the National League on Urban
Conditions /among Negroes to deal with the peculiarly local
East St. Louis, another attractive center for the migrants,
is unique among northern industrial cities. It is an industrial
offshoot o f St. Louis, which has outstripped its parent in ex­
pansion. Its geographical advantage has made it a formidable
rival even with its less developed civic institutions. Perched
on the banks o f the Mississippi River, with twenty-seven rail­
roads radiating from it, within easy reach o f the coal mines,
there has been made possible a rapid and uneven growth. It
has doubled its population for three successive decades. Re­
volving around this overgrown center are a number o f small
tow ns: Brooklyn, Lovejoy, Belleville, Venice, Granite City and
Madison. Its plant owners live in St. Louis and other cities,
1 Reports o f the Notional Urban League, 1916, 1917.



and consequently have little civic interest in East St. Louis.
Land is cheaper, taxes are low. In fact, some o f the largest
concerns have been accused o f evading them entirely. It has
been artificially fed and, in process o f growth, there have been
irregularities in the structure o f the community which eventu­
ally culminated in the greatest disgrace o f the North, the mas­
sacre o f about one hundred negroes.
Fifty years ago before the river dividing St. Louis from
East St. Louis was bridged, men rowed over from St. Louis
for their cock fights, dog fights and prize fights. Escaped
prisoners found a haven there. The town was called “ The
Bloody Isle.” The older population is made up o f whites from
West Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia. The men
who have risen to political prominence in the city are for the
most part saloon keepers. As many as 100 saloons flourished
in the town before the riot. The city government has always
been bad. The attitude o f the citizenry appeared to be that
o f passive acceptance o f conditions which must not be interfered
with. As an example o f the state o f mind, much surprise was
manifested when an investigation o f the rioting was begun.
Criminals have been known to buy immunity. The mayor was
assassinated some time ago and little or no effort was made to
punish his murderers.
Long before an influx was felt, it had been foreseen and
mentioned by several men, most notably, Mr. Charles Nagel,
Secretary o f Commerce and Labor under President Taft. The
East St. Louis plants had been going to Ellis Island for laborers.
When this supply was checked, steps were taken to secure
negroes. Agents were sent to Cairo to get men en route further
North. One advertisement which appeared in a Texas paper
promised negroes $3.05 a day and houses. It is estimated that
as a result o f this beckoning the increase in population due to
the migration was 5,000. A number o f other negro migrants,
however, work in East St. Louis and live in St. Louis, Lovejoy
and Brooklyn, a negro town. The school registration o f the
city showed that the largest numbers o f these blacks came from
Mississippi and West .Tennessee. Despite the advertisement for



men in Texas newspapers, few came to this city from that
The industries requiring the labor o f these negroes were
numerous. The packing plants o f Swift, Armour, Nelson and
Morris employ large numbers o f negroes. In some o f the un­
skilled departments fifty per cent o f the employes are black.
The Aluminum Ore Works employs about 600 blacks and 1,000
whites. This is the plant in which occurred the strike which
in a measure precipitated the riot. The Missouri Malleable
Iron Works makes it a policy to keep three classes o f men at
work and as nearly equal numerically as possible. The usual
division is one-third foreign whites, one-third American whites
and one-third blacks. The theory is that these three elements
will not unite to strike. Negroes are also employed in the
glass works, cotton presses and transfer yards. Their wages
for unskilled work ranges from $2.75 to $3.75 generally for
eight hours a day. Semiskilled work pays from 35 cents to
50 cents an hour.
The housing o f the negro migrants was one o f the most
perplexing problems in East St. Louis. The type o f houses
available for negroes, before being burned during the riot, were
small dilapidated cottages. Congestion, o f course, was a prob­
lem which accompanied the influx o f negroes. The incoming
population, consisting largely o f lodgers, was a misfit in the
small cottages designed for families, and they were generally
neglected by the tenant and by the local authorities. The seg­
regated vice district was located in the negro locality. The
crowding which followed the influx forced some few negroes
into the white localities. Against this invasion there was strong
opposition which culminated in trouble.4
The roots o f the fateful horror that made East St. Louis
notorious, however, are to be found largely in a no less notorious
civic structure. Politics o f a shady nature was the handmaiden
o f the local administration. The human fabric o f the town
was made up o f sad types o f rough, questionable characters,1
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to St. Louis.
2 See Congressional Report on the Massacre o f East St. Louis.



drawn to the town by its industries and the money that flowed
from them. There was a large criminal element. These lived
in a little corner o f the town, where was located also the segre­
gated vice district. Negroes were interested in politics. In fact,
they were a considerable factor and succeeded in placing in
office several black men o f their choice.
Trouble started at the Aluminum Ore W orks which employed
a large number o f whites and blacks. In February o f 1917 the
men struck while working on government contracts. Immedi­
ately, it is claimed, negroes were sought for in other States
to take their places. An adjustment was made, but it lasted
only a short while. Then followed a second strike at which
the employers balked. In this they felt reasonably secure for
negroes were then pouring into the city from the South during
the spring exodus. There followed numerous evidences o f
brooding conflict such as insults on the street cars, comments
and excitement over the daily arrival o f large numbers from
the South. On one day three hundred are said to have arrived.
Standing on the streets, waiting for cars, lost in wandering
about the streets searching for homes, the negroes presented a
helpless group. The search for homes carried them into the
most undesirable sections. Here the scraggy edges o f society
met. The traditional attitude o f unionists toward negroes be­
gan to assert itself. Fear that such large numbers would weaken
present and subsequent demands aroused considerable opposition
to their presence. Meetings were held, exciting speeches were
made and street fights became common. The East St. Louis
Journal is said to have printed a series o f articles under the
caption, “ Make East St. Louis a Lily White Town.” It was
a simple matter o f touching off the smoldering tinder. In the
riot that followed over a hundred negroes were killed. These,
for the most part lived away from the places o f the most vio­
lent disturbances, and were returning home, unconscious o f the
fate that awaited them. The riot has recently been subject to
a congressional investigation, but few convictions resulted and
those whites convicted escaped serious punishment.1
1 See Congressional Report on the Massacre o f East St. Louis.

Chicago and Its Environs
Chicago, the metropolis o f the West, remembered! in the
&outh since the W orld’s Fair as a far-away city o f hope from
which come all great things; unceasingly advertised through its
tremendous mail order and clothing houses, schools and in­
dustries until it became a synonym for the “ North,” was the
mouth o f the stream o f negroes from the South. It attracted
all types o f men, brought them in, encouraged them and cared
for them because it needed them. It is estimated that within
the period o f eighteen months beginning January, 1916, more
than fifty thousand negroes entered the city. This estimate
was based on averages taken from actual count o f daily arrivals.
There were at work in this city a number o f agencies which
served to stimulate the movement. The stock yards were sorely
in need o f men. It was reported that they had emissaries in '
the South. Whether it is true or not, it is a fact that it was
most widely advertised throughout the States o f Mississippi
and Louisiana that employment could easily be secured in the
Chicago stock yards district. The report was circulated that
fifty thousand men were needed, and the packers were pro­
viding houses for migrants and caring for them until they
had established themselves. • The Illinois Central Railroad
brought hundreds on free transportation with the understand­
ing that the men would enter the employ o f the company. The
radical negro newspapers published here urged negroes to leave
the South and promised employment and protection. It is in­
deed little wonder that Chicago received so great a number.
The most favorable aspect o f their condition in their new
home is their opportunity to earn money. Coming from the
South, where they were accustomed to work for a few cents
a day or a few dollars a week, to an industrial center where they




can now earn as much in an hour or a day, they have the feel­
ing that this city is really the land overflowing with milk and
honey. In the occupations in which they are now employed,
many o f them are engaged at skilled labor, receiving the same
and, in some cases, greater compensation than was paid white
men in such positions prior to the outbreak o f the war. Talk­
ing with a number o f them the investigator obtained such in­
formation as, that men were working at the Wilson Packing
House and receiving $3 a day; at the Marks Manufacturing
Company for $3.75; as lumber stackers at $4 a day, at one
o f the rolling mills for $25 a week, and on the railroads at
$125 a month. The large majority o f these migrants are
engaged in the packing houses o f Chicago where they are em­
ployed to do all sorts o f skilled and unskilled labor with the
corresponding compensation.1
It was soon discovered that the needs o f the migrants could
not all be supplied by money. Something had to be done for
their social welfare. Various agencies assisted in caring for
the needs o f the 25,000 or more negro migrants who, it is
estimated, have come to Chicago within three years. The Chicago
Renting Agents’ Association appointed a special committee to
study the problems o f housing them and to confer with leaders
in civic organization and with representative negroes. The
Cook County Association considered the question o f appointing
some one to do Sunday School work exclusively among the
newcomers. The Housing Committee o f the Chicago Women’s
Club arranged for an intensive survey o f housing conditions.
The negroes themselves organized to help the recently arrived
members o f the race. Negro ministers, lawyers, physicians and
social workers cooperated in handling the problem through
churches, Sunday Schools and in other ways.1
The negroes residing in Chicago, who came from particular
States in the South organized clubs to look after the migrants
from their own States. The result was that an Alabama Club,
a Georgia Club, Mississippi Club, Tennessee Club and so on
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.
2 Ibid.



were formed. Committees from these clubs met the train and
helped the newcomers to find homes and work. The chief
agency in handling the migrant situation in Chicago was the
local branch o f the National League on Urban Conditions
among Negroes. The work which the league did for the mi­
grants as set forth in the report o f 1917 was o f three kinds:
employment, housing and adjustment or assimilation. The pol­
icy o f the Urban League with regard to employment was to
find and, where possible, to open new occupations hitherto de­
nied negroes. The housing problem was urgent. The most that
the league was able to do thus far was to find lodging, to
assist in finding houses. Lodging accommodations for more
than 400 individuals were personally inspected by several women
volunteers. It is impossible to do much else short o f the con­
struction o f apartments for families and for single men.
The league’s first efforts to assimilate the new people started
with their entrance to the city. T o see that they received proper
directions upon reaching the railroad station was an important
task. It was able to secure the services o f a volunteer travelers’
aid society. This agent met trains and directed migrants to
destinations when they had addresses o f relatives and friends.
In the absence o f such they were sent to proper homes for lodg­
ing, and to the league office for employment.
The great majority o f negroes in Chicago live-in a limited
area known as the South Side. State Street is the thorough­
fare. It is the black belt o f the city. This segregation is aided
on one hand by the difficulty o f securing houses in other sec­
tions o f the city, and on the other, by the desire o f negroes to
live where they have greatest political strength. Previous to
the migration, hundreds o f houses stood vacant in the sections
o f the district west o f State Street from which they had moved
only a few years before, when it was found that better homes
were available. The presence o f negroes in an exclusively white
locality usually brought forth loud protests and frequently ended
in the abandonment o f tfie block by whites. The old district
lying west o f State Street held the worst type o f houses. It
was also in disrepute because o f its proximity to the old segre­



gated vice area. The newcomers, unacquainted with its repu­
tation, found no hesitancy in moving in until better homes could
be secured.
Congestion has been a serious problem only during short
periods when the influx was greater than the city’s immediate
capacity for distributing them. During the summer o f 1917
this was the situation. A canvass o f real estate dealers sup­
plying houses for negroes conducted by the Chicago Urban
League revealed the fact that on a single day there were 664
negro applicants for houses, and only 50 supplied, while there
were 97 houses advertised for rent. In some instances as many
as ten persons were listed for a single house. This condition
did not continue long. There were counted thirty-six new
localities opening up to negroes within three months. These
localities were formerly white.
An accompaniment to this congestion was the increase in
rents o f from 5 to 30 per cent and sometimes as high as 50
per cent. This was explained by landlords as a return to former
standards after the property had depreciated through the coming
in o f negroes. A more detailed study o f living conditions
among the migrants in Chicago was made by a student o f the
School o f Civics and Philanthropy. The study included 75
families o f less than a year’s residence. In the group were 60
married couples, 128 children, eight women and nine married
men with families in the South.
H ow this large group— 265 persons— fresh from a region
where life is enlivened by a mild climate'and ample space was
to find living quarters in an overcrowded section o f two Chicago
blocks was a problem o f many aspects. A single furnished room,
rented by the week, provided the solution for each o f 41 fami­
lies, while 24 families rented homes by the month, four families
occupied two rooms each. In some instances, this meant over­
crowding so serious as to threaten morals and health. The
Urban League interested corporations and capitalists in the
construction o f modern apartment houses with small individual
apartments. It endeavored also to have the city see the neces­
sity o f preventing occupancy o f the physically unfit houses.



The league conducted a campaign to educate the masses in re­
gard to housing, and payment o f exorbitant rents was discour­
aged. The various city departments were asked to enforce
ordinances in negro neighborhoods. In this way the league
tried to reduce overcrowding and extortionate rentals.
All o f the arrivals here did not stay. They were only tem­
porary guests awaiting the opportunity to proceed further and
'settle in surrounding cities and towns. This tendency appears
to have been to reach those fields offering the highest wages
and most permanent prospects. With Chicago as a center there
are within a radius o f from one hundred to one hundred and
fifty miles a number o f smaller industrial centers— suburbs o f
Chicago in which enterprises have sprung up because o f the
nearness to the unexcelled shipping and other facilities which
Chicago furnished. A great many o f the migrants who came
to Chicago found employment in these satellite places.1
One o f these towns was Rockford, a city o f about 55,000
people before Camp Grant began to add to its population. It
is estimated that there were about 1,500 negroes in Rockford,
1,000 o f whom came in during 1916 and 1917. The Rockford
Malleable Iron Company, which never hired more than five
or six negroes until two years ago, has nearly one hundred
in its employ. A timekeeper, five inspectors, a machinist, a
porter, three foremen and twenty o f the molders are negroes.
The Free Sewing Machine Company, Emerson and Birmingham,
the Trahem Pump Company and the two knitting factories
began also to employ negroes. The standard wage prevailed,
and, while the unskilled work was largely given to the negroes,
there were instances when opportunity was given for them to
follow pursuits requiring skill.
Housing showed every evidence o f congestion. The city was
unprepared for the unprecedented increase in population neces­
sitated by the demands o f its factories for men to produce muni­
tions o f war. The workingmen, however, were soon better pro­
vided for than in some other cities. The Rockford Malleable
1 The Detroit branch o f the Urban League reported, for example, that a
great percentage o f its applicants for work were from Chicago.



Iron Company conducted two houses for the accommodation o f
its employes and rented several smaller ones.1 This company
had recently purchased a large acreage and was considering the
advisability o f building houses for its employes, including the
negro migrants. The Emerson and Birmingham Company and
the Sewing Machine Company had similar plans under advise­
The Rockford Malleable Iron Company was the first to use
negroes. In the fall o f 1916 the first negro employes were
brought in from Canton, Illinois, through a Mr. Robinson then
employed by the company as a molder. There were nine
molders in the group. At brief intervals Tuskegee sent up four,
then five, then eight and then six men, most o f whom had had
training in machinery and molding. The total number o f Tus­
kegee boys was 32. Robinson also brought men from Metrop­
olis, Illinois, and from Kankakee. He made a trip through
Alabama and brought up 15 or 16. Most o f these were laborers.
Seven laborers came as a result o f correspondence with a
physician from Des Moines, Iowa. From Christiansburg, Vir­
ginia, the only negro blacksmith came. The Urban League
also sent up some men from Chicago. The company was so
pleased with the men’s service that they called upon the Urban
League for more men and placed in its hands a fund for their
railroad expenses.2
Negroes were promoted from time to time and were used
in every department o f the shop. One o f the men was an in­
spector. T w o new machines turning out work faster than
any other machine were turned over to the negroes. All o f
them were given steady work without being forced to lay off,
and their wages were increased. Street car companies and offi­
cials in Rockford have congratulated the men upon their con­
duct. T w o o f the men who came up from the South were
purchasing property.
When the increase in negro population became noticeable, a
1 The two large houses accommodated fifty to sixty men. One o f these
was known as the Tuskegee Club House and housed only men from
Tuskegee Institute.
2 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.



good deal erf discrimination appeared in public places. The
mayor o f the city, therefore, called a conference o f the Chamber
o f Commerce, o f representatives from Camp Grant, hotels, skat­
ing rinks and other public places and read the civil rights law
to them. He gave them to understand that Rockford would
not* stand for discrimination between races. When some o f
the conferees thought they would iike to have separate tables
in the restaurants the mayor opposed them and insisted that there
should be no such treatment One restaurant, which displayed
a sign, “ W e do not cater to colored trade,” was given orders
by the Chief o f Police to take it down in fifteen minutes, when
his deputy would arrive with instructions to carry out the law
in case the sign was not removed.
Waukegan, a town thirty miles northwest o f Chicago, with
a total population o f about 22,000 has approximately 400 negroes,
where two years ago there were about 275. The Wilder Tan­
ning Company and the American Steel and Wire Company em­
ployed the largest number o f these negroes. These firms worked
about 60 and 80 respectively. Smaller numbers were employed
by the Gas Company, the Calk Mill, the Cyclone Fence Com­
pany, the Northwestern Railroad freight house and a bed spring
factory and several were working at the Great Lakes Naval
Training Station. A few found employment as porters in
barber shops and theaters. At the Wilder Tanning Company and
the American Steel and W ire Company, opportunity was given
negroes to do semiskilled work. The former was working
negroes into every branch o f its industry. The average daily
wage here was about $3.1
1 In May, 1917, the Sherman House on Genesee Street in the heart o f the
city became a negro hotel. It has 19 bedrooms and accommodates 35 men.
It was poorly managed and dirty. A barber shop, pool room and dining
room were run in connection with it and were also poorly managed. The
manager o f the hotel is one o f the newcomers. A rooming house and dance
hall for negroes is operated in another section o f the city. The Wilder
Tanning Company was building a hotel for 50 single men and individual
houses o f five, six, seven and eight rooms for families. Houses for white
workmen were to be built by the company after these were completed.
Lawrence Wilder, president o f the company, stated that the building o f
these houses was no “ experiment.” “ They are being %put up to stay.”
Hot and cold water, hot air, heat, electric lights, and shower baths will be
in the hotel. Single rooms will rent for $125, double rooms $2.50 per week.
No women will be permitted to live in the hotel. A social room will be



The secretary o f the Chamber o f Commerce believed that
the influx did not cause anything more than a ripple on the
surface. He said: “ I cover everything when I say that, no
apparent increase in crime; no trouble among themselves; no
race friction.” Theaters began to discriminate, but soon ceased.
The proprietor o f the Sheridan Club stated that he took a group
o f men to one theater which had shown signs o f discrimination.
Each man was told to purchase his own ticket. The owner
observing the scheme admitted them. Very few restaurants
refuse to serve negroes. Only one openly segregated them to a
particular part o f the dining-room. Absolutely no trouble was
experienced in the schools. The "police commissioner sees that
the negroes have the protection o f the law.
East Chicago, an industrial center located about twenty-five
miles from Chicago with a population now made up in large
part o f Hungarians, Poles, Italians and negroes, had only one
negro family in 1915. During the month o f August, 1916, about
150 negroes came and others soon followed. At present there
are about 75 families, 35 or 40 children o f school age and about
450 men working in the industrial plants. The majority o f
these newcomers were from the rural districts o f Alabama and
Georgia, with a few from Mississippi. A large number o f
negroes, moreover, live in Indiana Harbor and in Chicago and
work in East Chicago.1
Some o f the people went to Indiana Harbor for church servwithin easy access o f all occupants. No meals will be served at the hotel,
but will be served at the plant. The houses will be one and two stories
and can be purchased on a monthly basis. A street car line will connect
the plant and the subdivision.
Before the influx the Cyclone Fence Company and the Calk Mill Com­
pany were said to have sworn never to employ negro labor. The Wilder
Tanning Company and the American Steel and Wire Company have standing
invitations for negro men with references.—Johnson, Report on the Migration
to Chicago.
1 They were employed by the Gasselli Chemical Company, Goldsmiths
Detinning Company, the International Lead Refining Company, the United
States Reduction Company, the United States Refining Company, Hobson
and Walker’s Brick Yard, the Inland Steel Foundry, Interstate Mill, the
Cudahy Soap Factory and the Republic Rolling Mill. The Hobson and
Walker’s Brick Yard employed 200 and provided houses within the yards
for the families o f the workmen. The International Lead Refining Company
provided lodging for its men in remodeled box cars. Wages for ordinary
labor ranged from $2.50 to $4.50 per day. This did not include the amount



ices. During the summer o f 1917, an attempt was made to
organize a church, but it was unsuccessful and almost excited
a racial conflict. The negroes from Alabama and Georgia com­
plained about the wickedness o f East Chicago, and declared their
intentions o f going home, “ where they can sing without ap­
pearing strange, and where they can hear somebody else pray
besides themselves.” Few racial clashes, however, have fol­
lowed. A strike which occurred at Gasselli’s Chemical Company
was at first thought to be a protest o f the foreigners against
the 80 negroes employed there. Nothing serious developed
from it. The only apparent dangers were in thoughtlessness
on the part o f negroes in their conduct. They were too badly
needed in industry to be harshly treated either by the foreigners
or their employers.1
In Beloit, Wisconsin, as in other cities, it was impossible to
find out with any degree o f accuracy the approximate number
o f negroes. Estimates o f the number ranged from 700 to 2,000,
whereas, before the influx, the black population was as low as
200. TJie total population o f Beloit is about 20,000. There
are now two negro churches, a Baptist and an African Metho­
dist Episcopal. The Baptist church was said to be made up
entirely o f new people. Beloit did not have a negro Baptist
that might be made by overtime work. The brick yard employed negroes
for unskilled work at 35 cents an hour. A few skilled negroes employed
were receiving from $4.75 to $7 a day.
Negroes are fairly well scattered throughout the foreign residential sec­
tion. A small area known as “ Oklahoma9 or “ Calumet9 had perhaps
the largest number. The houses were overcrowded, dark, insanitary, without
privacy and generally unattractive. All o f the rooms were sleeping rooms,
usually with two beds in a room accommodating six men. Rent was high,
and ranged from $15 to $25 a month for four and five room flats in very
unattractive buildings. Single lodgers paid from $1.50 to $1.75 a week.
Restaurant rates were exorbitant and food was so high that many o f the
families bought their provisions in Chicago.
There were no churches or in fact any wholesome social institutions in
town. There were many flourishing saloons. There was one colored pool
room, and one colored restaurant. On occasions, a hall belonging to the
whites was used for dances and socials.—Johnson, Report on the Migration
to Chicago.
1 Following each pay day from twenty to thirty negroes left for their
homes in the South. Some returned when their funds were about exhausted
and worked five or six months more. Others remained at home for the
winter. “ It was expected that the brick yard would lose a very large num­
ber on the 8th o f November. On the 15th o f December another large con­
tingent leaves for the South.”—Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.



preacher until the migration, and had no negro physicians.
Prior to the influx there was little discrimination, except in
some o f the restaurants and occasionally in the theaters. One
negro was working at the post office, and another at the railroad
station. Aside from these, the negro men were practically all
laborers and porters.
As is true in most small cities, one company took the initiative
in sending for men from the South. The Fairbanks Morse Com­
pany was the pioneer corporation in this respect in Beloit. This
company hires at present 200 men. Most o f these came from
Mississippi. In fact, Albany and Pontotoc, small towns in
Mississippi, are said to have dumped their entire population in
Beloit. A few from Memphis, Tennessee, were employed there
but the company preferred Mississippians, and had agents at
work in that State getting men for its plant. It was said to
be fair in its treatment o f negroes and to pay the standard
Milwaukee was one o f the ready recipients o f negro migrants
from other points in the North. Following the outbreak o f the
war, the consequent cessation o f foreign immigration and the
withdrawal of a number o f aliens from the labor market to
follow their national colors, a large demand for negro labor
was for the first time created. Milwaukee apparently could not
attract voluntary migration, and the larger plants were forced
to import some 1,200 southern negroes to man their industries.
In 1910, the city had a negro population o f 980. There are
now in Milwaukee about 2,700 negroes o f whom 1,500 are
1 There was great congestion in housing, as the negroes were restricted
to certain sections with homes usually kept in insanitary condition. A
very large housing plan o f the company met with objection on the part
o f the white citizens who sent in a petition to the City Council against
building houses for negroes. The City Council said they wanted the housing
property for park purposes. The matter was taken to court. The Council
condemned the property but failed to sustain the belief that it was needed
for a park. Through various methods of red tape and legal procedure
the matter was delayed. The company then built houses on a smaller scale.
The plans included two apartment houses that would accommodate six
families each. There were also in the course o f erection houses for men
with families to take the place of some improvised huts which the company
had found necessary to use to facilitate the work o f the men.—Johnson,
Report on the Migration to Chicago.



newcomers, not only from the South, but from the adjacent
States o f Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota.1 This migration to Milwaukee caused a number o f difficulties.
The first difficulty to arise was in the relationship o f the migrant
to the old residents o f the city. Like the newly arrived for­
eigners they lived rather “ close lives,” had little contact with
the people o f the community and as a consequence were slow
in changing their southern standards. This lack o f contact
was registered in the slight attendance in the colored churches,
which are by far the most common medium o f personal contact
among negroes. The leading pastors and two others who have
made unsuccessful attempts to establish churches complained
that the newcomers, although accustomed to going to church
in their old homes, “ strayed from the fold ” in the large city.
There was also a certain unmistakable reticence on the part
o f the newcomers with respect to the negroes o f longer resi­
dence. The new arrivals were at times suspicious o f the motives
o f the older residents, and resented being advised how to con­
duct themselves. They were for the most part not in touch
with any civic agency. The migrants, therefore, came into
contact with the lower element. The recreations and amuse­
ments o f the newcomers were those which the social outcasts
furnished them.2
Another anomaly was to be observed in the motives behind
the migration. The most recent European immigrants, unfa­
miliar with the character o f the plants, having strong bodies
and a disposition to work, are engaged as unskilled laborers.
They do not, o f course, remain at this level, but are continually
pushed forward by later comers. The men who filled these
lower positions were not the best type o f foreigners. When
the war began and this influx from Europe was stopped, it was
for these positions that the plants were forced to seek men.
Negroes were sought in the South, but, unfortunately, the em­
phasis was placed on quantity and not quality. Those who were
able to move on shortest notice, those with few responsibilities
1 Before 1910, 114 persons had arrived; between 1911 and 1915, 72; during
1916, 74; dumg 1917, 102; and during 1918, 40 persons had arrived.
2 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.



and few interests at home, were snapped up by the labor agents.
This blunder has also registered itself in the records o f the
city and the character o f the negro migrants. This was probably
due to the fact that little is known o f Milwaukee in the South.
Unlike Chicago, Detroit, New York and other northern cities,
it was not a popular destination for voluntary migration. Agents
who scoured the South for men testified that in a large number
o f cases the first question asked was whether or not Milwaukee
was a wet town, for the southern States have prohibited the
sale o f liquor. While Chicago got advertisement in the South
through its great mail order business, most o f what was known
o f Milwaukee related to its breweries.
The negroes here, however, had numerous industrial oppor­
tunities. The manner in which the trades suddenly opened
up to them made it difficult to ascertain the number o f negroes
so engaged. An intensive study o f a neighborhood showed a
much wider variety o f skilled negro laborers and brought to
light the cases o f many not otherwise known. One man in
touch with the iron workers o f the city ventured the statement
that there were perhaps 75 negroes engaged in skilled work
in the iron and steel industries o f the city. In a large number
o f other plants one or two negroes had succeeded in finding
skilled employment. Firms known to employ negroes in the
capacity o f skilled workmen are the Plankington Packing Com­
pany, Wehr Steel and Machine Shops, the National Malleable
Iron Works, A. J. Lindeman-Hoverson Company and the Mil­
waukee Coke and Gas Company. For the most part skilled
negroes are butchers and molders.1
In the case o f negroes from the South with trades, however,
there arose a situation which is seldom fully appreciated. A
man in the South may be skilled in such an independent trade
as shoemaking, tailoring, carpentry and the like, but in a north­
ern city with its highly specialized industrial processes and divi­
sions o f labor, he must learn over again what he thought he
had mastered, or abandon his trade entirely and seek employ­
ment in unskilled lines. The wages for skilled work were for
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.



butchers, 55 to 64 cents an hour; for steel molders, 35 to 47
cents an hour; for firemen, $27 per week; for chauffeurs, $15
to $30 a week; for shoemakers, $20 a week; stationary firemen,
$24 a week. The mass o f negroes, men and women, gainfully
employed in the city was made up o f manual laborers. Vacan­
cies for negroes in industry were made at the bottom. The
.range o f occupations in unskilled work, however, was fairly
wide. They were packing house employes, muckers, tannery
laborers, street construction workers, dock hands and foundry
laborers. Their wages were for foundry laborers, 32% cents
to 35 cents an hour; for muckers, $28 a week; for tannery
laborers, $24 a week; dock hands, 60 cents an hour; and for
packing house laborers, 43 cents an hour (m ale), and 30% cents
an hour (fem ale). There were also porters in stores and jan­
itors whose weekly wages averaged between $15 and $18 per
Several firms made strenuous efforts to induce laborers to
come from the South. The Pfister-Vogel Company employed a
negro to secure them for this purpose, and made preparation
for their lodging and board. This representative stated that
he was responsible for the presence o f about 300 negroes in
the city. Reverend J. S. W oods o f the Booker T. Washington
social settlement, who was actively engaged in assisting the
plants, asserted that he had placed over 400. The Albert Trostel
Company paid transportation for nearly 100 men.
The principal industries employing negroes with the number
employed were about as follow s:1
Plankington Packing Co............................................
Albert Trostel Leather Co...................................... .
Faulk’s Manufacturing Co.......................................
Hoffman Manufacturing Co......................................
Tunnell Construction Co..........................................
Milwaukee Coke and Gas Co....................................
Pfister-Vogel Tannery .............................................
A. J. Lindeman-Hoverson Co...................................
National Malleable Iron Co.....................................
Solvay Steel Castings Co..........................................
Allis Chalmers ...........................................................
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.





On December 1, 1917, the Plankington Packing Company
employed 93 men and 27 women. The Pfister-Vogel Company
had only 75 men in its employ. This company, however, within
18 months had employed 300 negroes from the South.
Concerning the range o f wages for negroes in these lines
the data provided by these firms gave some means o f informa­
Plankington Packing Co......... 43c to 64c an hour ............... 30V2C an hour
Faulk’s Manufacturing Co. . . . 35c to 47c an hour ...............
Hoffman Manufacturing Co. . 32^ c an hour ......................
Tunnell Construction Co......... $4 a day ...................................
Albert Trostel Co......................40c an hour ..............................30c an hour
Milwaukee Coke and Gas Co. $3.67 to $4.79 a day...........
A. J. Lindeman-Hoverson Co. $3 to $5 a d a y ........................
National Malleable Iron Co. .. 35c an hour to $4 a day........
Pfister-Vogel Tannery ........... $22 to $24 a week.....................

The quality o f the workingmen is o f interest both to the
employers and social workers. T o get uniform data employers
were asked the principal faults and principal merits o f their
negro workmen. T o the question, “ What are the principal
faults o f your negro workmen? ” these answers were g iv e n :1
None that predominate.
The principal fault of negro workmen is, they are slow and very hard to
Not good on rapid moving machinery, have not had mechanical training;
slow; not stable.
Inclined to be irregular in attendance to work.
Very unsteady.
Leave in summertime for road work.

T o the question, “ What are the principal merits o f your
negro workmen? ” these answers were given:
They are superior to foreign labor because they readily understand what
you try to tell them.
Loyalty, willingness, cheerfulness.
The skilled men stick and are good workmen.
Generally speaking they .are agreeable workmen.
Quicker, huskier, and can stand more heat than other workmen.
1 Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.



The attitude o f white and black workmen toward one an­
other in none o f the plants visited presented anything like
a serious situation. The following are answers to questions
relating to this sentiment as returned by the important
industries: 1
No feeling—no complaints—no comments.
White and black get along well. There was a little trouble some time
ago between a Jewish foreman and his negro workmen. All the
negroes quit. The matter was investigated and the foreman discharged.
The relations are favorable, although negroes appear a bit clannish.
Good fellowship prevails.
Negroes do not stay long enough to get acquainted.
Good in most cases. Very little opposition. They are working as helpers
with whites. Few objections.

As a final effort to get the opinion o f employers themselves
concerning the best means o f improving their labor, a sugges­
tion from them on this matter was solicited. Their views are
subjoined: 2
A rather broad question and one that could only be answered after con­
siderable study. Believe the great trouble with negro labor has been
the fact that a poor class o f negroes has been employed by many. W e
have a good lot o f workers now.
Some means should be devised to get them away from their general shift­
less ways.
As a negro can be very contented and happy on very little, if their living
conditions were improved and the desire created in them to improve
their condition, this would be a help towards encouragement in better­
ing their social condition. In fact, we feel that anything that would
help to better the social attention o f the negro would make him a
better workman.
Better housing and supervision through some responsible organization.
Some way to keep sympathetic watch over them.

Without doubt there is an element o f truth in each o f these
comments. It is unquestionably true that a large number o f
these men register by their actions instability, irregularity and
general shiftlessness. Some o f these cases are inexcusable, and
‘ Johnson, Report on the Migration to Chicago.
‘ Ibid.



the only reason for their connection with the industry is the fact
that they were brought from the South, where they were volun­
tarily idle, by agents o f employers. The importation merely
shifted the scene o f their deliberate loafing and spasmodic con­
tact with work.
Employers in all o f the plants know that they have had
difficulty in holding their negro labor, but do not know why.
Most o f the men willing to leave the city were unmarried men
with few responsibilities. These are the ones who found em­
ployment there and, being dissatisfied, quit. The highest negro
labor turnover was in the leather factories. But for this there
was a reason. The only employment permitted negroes there
was wet and very disagreeable beam work, and at wages not
in excess o f those paid by neighboring plants with a different
grade o f work. Inquiries among laboring men reveal reasons
plausible indeed to the laborers themselves, which in many cases
would have been found reasonable also by the employers.
It is generally known that all classes o f labor o f all nationali­
ties are in an unsettled state. Shifting to the higher paid in­
dustries is common. In consequence the disagreeable and poorly
paid ones have suffered. The instability o f negroes, especially
in those industries that have been so hard pressed as to find
it necessary to go South for men, is not so much a group
characteristic as an expression o f present tendencies in labor
Reasons o f a more intimate nature advanced by the men for
changing jobs are numerous. Among these are dissatisfaction
with the treatment o f petty white bosses, the necessity for ready
money for the care o f their families, the distance o f the plants
from the district in which the negro workmen live 1 and the
unpleasant indoor work in certain factories.
The social condition o f negroes in Milwaukee is not alarming.
There are indicated, however, unmistakable maladjustments
1 A simple situation of this nature registers itself without explanation
against the character o f negroes in the records o f the firms. The PfisterVogel Company had a house on Clinton Street in which lived twenty or
more negroes. This location is eight or ten miles away from the com­
munity in which negroes live. There are no amusements for these young
men around Clinton Street. The cars stop running at a comparatively early



which require immediate attention. But even these will not
become alarming, if checked now, when preventive measures can
be made practicable, attractive and easy.
The neighborhoods in which negroes live have long showed
evidence o f physical and moral deterioration. The addition
o f 1,400 negroes from the South, over 70 per cent o f whom
.were brought to the city by companies seeking labor, hastened
the deterioration and gave rise to problems where only tenden­
cies existed before. Neighborhood life is conspicuously lax
and the spirit o f the community quite naturally comports with
the looseness and immorality o f the district. Though such con­
ditions are plainly evident, no organized influence has been
projected to correct them. As with the neighborhood, so with
housing, crime, delinquency, education, recreation, industry, and
the like, the conditions which retard developmental habits must
have constant vigilance and treatment.
hour. I f they go to the city they must either come back in a taxicab or spend
the evening away from home. It is less expensive to spend the evening
away. As a result they are late for work and may not report. If they
report, they are tired and unfit for work. If they do not they are put
down as irregular and unsteady.—Johnson, Report on the Migration to

T h e Situation at Points in the M iddle W est
The most important city in this section to be affected by the
migration was Pittsburgh, the gateway to the West. The Pitts­
burgh district is the center o f the steel industry. For this reason,
the war caused the demand for labor to be extremely heavy there.
Pittsburgh was one o f the centers to which the greatest number
o f negroes went. Before the migration, a considerable number
o f negroes were employed there. In 1900, the negro population
o f Allegheny county, in which Pittsburgh is situated, was 27,753.
In 1910 it was 34,217. When the migration began, the county
had about 38,000 negroes. Investigations and estimates indicate
that, at the end o f 1917, the negro population o f the county had
increased to almost 66,000. Epstein in his survey o f The Negro
Migrant in Pittsburgh said: 1
From a canvass o f twenty typical industries in the Pittsburgh district,
it was found that there were 2,550 negroes employed in 1915, and 8,325 in
1917, an increase o f 5,775 or 227 per cent. It was impossible to obtain labor
data from more than approximately sixty per cent o f the negro employing
concerns, but it is fair to assume that the same ratio o f increase holds
true of the remaining forty per cent. On this basis the number o f negroes
now employed in the district may be placed at 14,000. This means that
there are about 9,750 more negroes working in the district today than there
were in 1915, an addition due to the migration from the South.

According to Epstein, the migration had been going on for
little longer than one year. Ninety-three per cent o f those
who gave the time o f residence in Pittsburgh had been there
less than one year. More than eighty per cent o f the single
men interviewed had been there less than six months. In the
number who had been there for the longest period, married
men predominated, showing the tendency of this class to become
1 Epstein, The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh, p. 7.



permanent residents. This fact becoming evident, some in­
dustrial concerns bringing men from the South, having learned
from bitter experience that the mere delivery o f negroes from
a southern city did not guarantee a sufficient supply o f labor,
made an effort to secure married men only, and even to investi­
gate them prior to their coming. Differences in recruiting
methods may also explain why some employers and labor agents
hold a very optimistic view o f the negro as a worker, while
others despair o f him. The reason why Pittsburgh has been
unable to secure a stable labor force is doubtless realized by
the local manufacturers. Married negroes come to the North
to stay. They desire to have their families with them, and
if they are not accompanied North by their wives and children
they plan to have them follow at the earliest possible date.
It would appear that the stability o f the labor supply de­
pended to a very large extent upon the housing conditions. It
was found that in many instances men who had families went
to other cities where they hoped to find better accommodations.
The Pittsburgh manufacturer will never keep an efficient labor
supply o f negroes until he learns to compete with the employers
o f other cities in a housing program as well as in wages. The
negro migration in Pittsburgh, however, did not cause a dis­
placement o f white laborers. Every man was needed, as there
were more jobs than men to fill them. Pittsburgh’s industrial
life was for a time dependent upon the negro labor supply, and
the city has not received a sufficient supply o f negroes, and cer­
tainly not so many as smaller industrial towns, although the
railroads and a few o f the industrial concerns o f the locality
have had labor agents in the South. Yet, in spite o f the diffi­
culties because o f the obstructive tactics adopted in certain
southern communities to prevent the negro exodus, they have
nevertheless succeeded in bringing several thousand negroes into
this district.
“ One company, for instance,” says Epstein,
“ which imported about a thousand men within the past year,
had only about three hundred o f these working at the time o f
the investigator’s visit in July, 1917. One railroad, which is
said to have brought about fourteen thousand people to the



North within the last twelve months, has been able to keep an
average o f only eighteen hundred at work.” These companies,
however, have failed to hold the newcomers.
The problems created by this sudden increase o f Pittsburgh’s
population were very grave. In the early part o f 1917, plans
were formulated to make a social survey o f the migrants in
Pittsburgh. Cooperating in this survey were the University
o f Pittsburgh, the Associated Charities, the Social Service Com­
mission o f the Churches o f Christ and the National League on
Urban Conditions among Negroes. In March, 1917, the direc­
tor o f the Department o f Public Health, instructed the sanitary
inspectors to pay special attention to all premises occupied by
the “ newcomers.” Another step in this direction was the es­
tablishment in that city o f a branch o f the National League
on Urban Conditions among Negroes.
A survey made in 1917 showed that the housing situation was
the most serious aspect o f the migrants’ social problems, and
that in order to have improvements in other lines housing con­
ditions must be made better. Because o f the high cost o f
materials and labor incident to the war, because the taxation
system still does not encourage improvements and because o f
investment attractions other than in realty, few houses had
been built and practically no improvements had been made. This
was most strikingly apparent in the poorer sections o f the city.
In the negro sections, for instance, there had been almost no
houses added and few vacated by whites within the previous
two years. The addition, therefore, o f thousands o f negroes
just arrived from southern States meant not only the creation
o f new negro quarters and the dispersion o f negroes through­
out the city, but also the utmost utilization o f every place in
the negro sections capable o f being transformed into habitations.
Attics and cellars, storerooms and basements, churches, sheds
and warehouses had to be employed for the accommodation
o f these newcomers. Whenever a negro had space which he
could possibly spare, it was converted into a sleeping place; as
many beds as possible were crowded into it, and the maximum
number o f men per bed were lodged. Either because their own



rents were high or because they were unable to withstand the
temptation o f the sudden, and, for all they knew, temporary
harvest, or perhaps because o f the altruistic desire to assist their
race fellows, a majority o f the negroes in Pittsburgh converted
their homes into lodging houses.
Because rooms were hard to come by the lodgers were not disposed to
complain about the living conditions or the prices charged. They were only
too glad to secure a place where they could share a half or at least a part
o f an unclaimed bed. It was no easy task to find room for a family, as
most boarding houses would accept only single men, and refused to admit
women and children. Many a man, who with his family occupied only
one or two rooms, made place for a friend or former townsman and his
family. In many instances this was done from unselfish motives and in
a humane spirit.1

H ow the negroes are employed will throw more light on their
situation. The Epstein investigation showed that
Ninety-five per cent o f the migrants who stated their occupations were
doing unskilled labor, in the steel mills, the building trades, on the railroads,
or acting as servants, porters, janitors, cooks and cleaners. Only twenty, or
four per cent out o f 493 migrants whose occupations were ascertained, were
doing what may be called semiskilled or skilled work, as puddlers, moldsetters, painters and carpenters. On the other hand, in the South 59 out
o f 529 claimed to have been engaged in skilled labor, while a large number
were rural workers.

The following table shows the occupations o f migrants in Pitts­
burgh as compared with statements o f occupations in the South:
In Pittsburgh
Common laborer .............
Skilled or semiskilled .. . ........
Farmer ............................
Miner .................................
Sawmill workers .............
Ran own farm or father's farm
Ran farm on crop sharing basis
Other occupations ........... .........



In South



It seems clear that most o f the migrants were engaged in
unskilled labor. The reason given by the manufacturers in
1 Epstein, The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh, pp. 7-8.



accounting for this disparity were, that the migrants are ineffi­
cient and unstable, and that the opposition to them on the part
o f the white labor prohibits their use on skilled jobs.1 Ninetyfive per cent o f the negro workers in the steel mills were unskilled
laborers. “ In the bigger plants,” says the investigator, “ where
many hundreds o f negroes are employed, almost one hundred
per cent are doing common labor, while in the smaller plants,
a few might be found doing labor which required some skill.”
Epstein believes that this idea is often due to the prejudice o f
the heads o f departments and other labor employers. A sym­
pathetic superintendent o f one o f the large steel plants said
that in many instances it was the superintendents and managers
themselves who are not alive to their own advantage, and so
oppose the negroes in doing the better classes o f work. The
same superintendent said that he had employed negroes for
many years; that a number o f them had been connected with
his company for several years; that they are just as efficient
as the white people. More than half o f the twenty-five negroes
in his plant were doing semiskilled and even skilled work. He
had one or two negro foremen over negro gangs, and cited
an instance o f a black man drawing $114 in his last two weeks’
pay. This claim was supported by a very intelligent negro who
was stopped a few blocks away from the plant and questioned
as to the conditions there. While admitting everything that
the superintendent said, and stating that there is now absolute
free opportunity for negroes in that plant, the man asserted
that these conditions have obtained within the last year.2
It was found that in the Pittsburgh district the great mass
o f workers get higher wages than in the places from which
AThe latter objection is illustrated by the case o f the white bargemen o f
a brg steel company who wanted to walk out because black workers were
introduced among them, and who were only appeased by the provision o f
separate quarters for the negroes. While there is an undeniable hostility
to negroes on the part of a few white workers, the objection is frequently
exaggerated by prejudiced gang bosses.
2 The same superintendent told o f an episode illustrating the amicable
relations existing in his shop between white and black workers. He related
that a gang o f workers had come to him with certain complaints and the
threat o f a walkout. When their grievances had been satisfactorily adjusted,
they pointed to the lonely black man in their group and said that they were
not ready to go back unless their negro fellow worker was satisfied.



they come. Fifty-six per cent received less than $2 a day in
the South, while only five per cent received such wages in Pitts­
burgh. However, the number o f those who said they received
high wages in the South is greater than the number o f those
receiving them there. Fifteen per cent said they received more
than $3.60 a day at home, while only five per cent said they
received more than that rate for twelve hours’ work there.
Sixty-seven per cent o f the 453 persons stating their earnings
here, earn less than $3 a day. Twenty-eight per cent earn from
$3 to $3.60 a day, while only five per cent earn more than
$3.60 a day. The average working day for both Pittsburgh
and the South is ten and four-tenths hours. The average wage
is $2.85 here; in the South it amounted to $2.15. It may be
interesting to point out that the number o f married men who
work longer hours and receive more money is proportionately
greater than that o f the single men, who have not “ given hostage
to fortune.”
Judging from what has been said about the habits o f living
among the negro migrants in Pittsburgh, they are o f the best
class o f their race. Chief among those to be mentioned is their
tendency to abstain from the use o f intoxicants although it has
often been said that the cause o f the migration from the South
was due to the desire o f negroes in prohibition States to go
where they may make free use o f whisky. In this city it was
observed that out o f 470 persons who answered questions with
reference to whether or not they imbibed only 210 o f them
said that they drank, while 267 made no use o f intoxicants
at all. It was also observed that among those who have families,
the percentage o f those addicted to drink is much smaller than
that o f others who are single or left their families in the South.
This, no doubt, accounts for the orderly conduct o f these negroes
who, according to statistics, have not experienced a wave o f
crime. The records o f the courts show numerous small offenses
charged to the account o f negroes, but these usually result from
temptations and snares set by institutions o f vice which are
winked at by the community.
These negroes, on the whole, are thrifty and will eventually



attach themselves permanently to the community through the
acquisition o f desirable property and elevation to positions o f
trust in the industries where they are employed. Evidences o f
the lazy and shiftless and the immoral are not frequent, because
o f a sort o f spirit o f thrift pervading the whole group. Many
o f the families have savings accounts in banks, and practically
all o f the married men separated from their families in the
South send a large portion o f their earnings from time to time.
Money order receipts and stubs o f checks examined show that
these remittances to distant families range from between $5 to
$10 a week. Others have seen fit to divert their income to
objects more enterprising. They are educating their children,
purchasing homes and establishing businesses to minister to the
needs o f their own peculiar group.
In view o f the desirability o f most migrants in this city,
several persons have seen fit to make a comparison o f the negro
and foreign labor, with a view to determining whether or not
the employment o f negroes in the North will be permanent, as
they may easily be displaced by the foreigners immigrating into
this country in the future. The consensus o f opinion is that
the blacks are profitable laborers, but that their efficiency must
be decidedly increased to compete with that o f the white workers.
Some of the faults observed are that they are as yet unadapted
to the “ heavy and pace-set labor in the steel mills.” Accustomed
to the comparatively easy going plantation and farm work o f
the South, it will take some time for these migrants to find
themselves. “ They can not even be persuaded to wait until
pay day, and they like to get money in advance, following the
habit that they acquired from the southern credit system. It
is often secured on very flimsy pretexts and spent immediately
in the saloons and similar places.” Yet the very persons who
make this estimate o f the negro laborer say that the negroes
born in the North or who have been in the North some time
are as efficient as the whites, and that because o f their knowledge
o f the language and the ways o f this country, they are often
much better than the foreign laborers who understand neither.
The principal industrial centers in Ohio to which the migrants



went were Cincinnati, Middletown, Akron, Dayton, Springfield,
Youngstown, Columbus and Cleveland. The city which took
the lead in endeavoring to handle the migration problem was
Cleveland. This was due to a considerable extent to the fact
that the housing conditions in Cleveland were especially bad.
Investigations made in the summer o f 1917 by the Chamber
o f Commerce showed that housing conditions never were so
in need o f remedying as they were at that time. The influx
o f negroes, thousands o f whom were living in box cars on
railway sidings, was only one feature o f the problem, investi­
gators say. In nearly every part o f the city, and especially
in the vicinity o f large manufacturing plants, workers are herded
together, paying as much as $8 a week for a single room for
a whole family.1
The Cleveland W elfare Federation appointed a committee
composed o f representatives o f both races, to study problems
made acute in Cleveland by the recent incoming o f probably
10,000 negroes from the South. A t the first meeting o f this
committee, August 3, 1917, the city welfare department an­
nounced that 61 per cent o f the men in the workhouse at
Warrensville were negroes and that o f 100 women 66 were
negroes. The normal proportion o f negroes in the workhouse
before the migration began was about 10 per cent, he said.
This had mounted rapidly in the last year. It was brought
out that the cause o f this increase lay in housing congestion,
lack o f opportunities for recreation and because negro migrants
are ignorant o f the city’s customs, laws and ordinances. A sub­
committee was therefore appointed to look into this matter,
as well as into that o f perils surrounding newly arrived negro
girls. A subcommittee was also appointed to study housing
congestion and health problems. The secretary o f the Cleveland
Real Estate Board reiterated that there were 10,000 houses,
renting at $25 and under, needed at the present time for both
negro and white residents, and that, owing to labor difficulties
and the high price o f building materials, very little had been
done to relieve the situation. H e stated that a partial solution

1 Cleveland News, August 11, 1917.



could be found in inducing both negro and white people who
could afford to build or buy houses to do so, and thus free more
houses for those who can not afford to buy them. It was
asserted that unless something should be done before cold weather
the housing problem would become acute.1 T o assist in meeting
the house shortage a group o f prominent negroes organized
“ The Realty Housing and Investment Company.'’ 2
The negro churches and other organizations cooperated in
the effort to solve the problem o f caring for the newly arrived
negroes. In December, 1917, all the organizations and agencies
working to aid the migrants were united in the Negro Welfare
Association o f Cleveland.3 William R. Connors, a negro social
worker, was employed as executive secretary o f the new organi­
zation, beginning January 1, and offices were opened in the Phyl­
lis Wheatley Association Building at East 40th Street and Cen­
tral Avenue. The budget for the first year was estimated at
about $5,000.
The organization acted as a clearing house for- all the problems
confronting the negro people there and cooperated with other
agencies in the following activities: relief work, nursing service,
legal aid, employment, promoting thrift, providing recreation
through the public schools and otherwise, studying the delin­
quency problem, caring for discharged prisoners in cooperation
with the workhouse and promoting community singing. It in­
vestigated the social conditions among negroes, with a view to
establishing those agencies which are needed, or to point out
the needs to the organization already established. It endeavored
to educate the negro public to a full appreciation o f the possi1 Cleveland Plain Dealer, August 4, 1917.
2 An advertisement o f this company in the Cleveland Advocate was as
follow s:
Cleveland is short 10,000 houses:
The city on Lake Erie is face to face with the problem o f “ Housing the
P eop le!” W e have been on the job day in and day out and are pleased to
announce that we have just played a master stroke.
You may ask what is it? We will answer.
We have just secured the group o f seven apartment houses which are
rapidly nearing completion on East 40th Street between Central and Scoville
Avenues. Three and four room suites with bath, hot water, electric lights,
gas ranges, heating appliances, refrigerators, Murphy in-a-dor beds. Laundry
just waiting to be occupied. All for colored people.
8 Cleveland Town Topics, December 22, 1917.



bilities o f a definite social program and to its responsibility for
seeing that it is carried ou t
In June, 1916, a call was issued for a statewide conference
o f representative white and colored people to be held at the
capital o f the State, Columbus, on July 12, 1916, to take steps
toward caring for the 100,000 negro migrants believed to have
remained in Ohio. Among those who signed the call were J,
Walter Wills, President o f Cleveland Association o f Colored
Men; Reverend H. C. Bailey, President o f National Associa­
tion for the Advancement o f Colored People; W . S. Scar­
borough, President o f Wilberforce University; Charles Johnson,
Superintendent o f Champion Chemical Company, Springfield,
and Edward T. Banks, member o f Charter Commission, Dayton.1
The mayors o f Ohio cities named delegates to the conference.
A t this conference the Ohio Federation for the Uplift o f the
Colored People was formed, and an extensive program designed
to improve economic and social conditions was outlined.
Branches o f the Federation were soon established at Akron,
Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Piqua, Steubenville,
Youngstown and other points.
Reports showing labor, housing, general welfare and health
conditions among the negroes throughout the State were com­
piled and distributed broadcast. It was also decided to send
lecturers through Ohio cities to visit negro centers for the
purpose o f instilling within the race a desire for better living
conditions. A campaign was waged also to bring about greater
censorship o f motion pictures. Efforts were made to have the
State Council o f National Defense and the State and City Labor
Bureaus actively interest themselves in the problem o f negro
The State o f Ohio also undertook an investigation o f the
migration movement. Reports to the Ohio branch, Council
o f National Defense, indicated a very serious situation resulting
from the exodus o f negroes. An investigation at direction o f
Governor Cox was conducted by the Council and State Depart1 Dayton News, July 7, 1917.
2 Cincinnati Enquirer, September 12, 1917



ment, to get as much information as possible concerning the
unprecedented migration. The first work was a study o f health
conditions in several cities by the State Department o f Health,
which took immediate steps to correct evils. The negroes who
were coming into the State were being crowded into the negro
sections o f the various cities in such a way that the health o f
these communities in many cases was being seriously threatened.
The Council o f National Defense asked the Ohio branch for
information on the migration, particularly to learn if it had
been artificially stimulated and accelerated by agencies that have
paid so many dollars a head for every negro from the South.1
Detroit, because o f its importance as an industrial center,
was one o f the places to which the largest number o f migrants
to Michigan went. The negro population o f the city in 1910
was 5,741. It is now estimated that the city has between 25,000
and 35,000 blacks, three-fourths or more o f whom have come
there during the past two years. As elsewhere, the majority
o f the negroes are in unskilled occupations. There is, however,
a considerable number o f skilled and semiskilled workers. De­
troit was formerly a city where the negro was restricted to
a very few lines o f work.
The wartime pressing needs o f the industrial enterprises have
caused the barriers to be removed. The available evidence that
Detroit has removed the barriers from the employment o f negroes
in many lines is considerable. There were calls for 336 truckers,
160 molders, 109 machinists, 45 core makers and for a number
o f other miscellaneous skilled and semiskilled men. Most o f
the women were wanted in domestic and personal service in
private homes, but 32 calls came from a garment factory, 18
from a cigar factory and 19 for ushers in a theater.
Their wages were exceptionally high according to Dr. George
E. Haynes’ intensive study o f the returns o f 407 families. One
received between $30 and $39 a month; three received between
$40 and $49, six received between $60 and $69; 20 received
between $70 and $79; 96 received between $80 and $89; 6 re­
ceived between $90 and $99; 27 received between $100 and $119;
1 Columbus Dispatch, August 1, 1917.



21 received between $120 and $129, and 4 received $140 or
more a month. There was a man working at $6.30 a day.
The number o f days they were employed a month could not
be ascertained. There were 161 men whose monthly wages
were doubtful or unknown, two men were the owners o f a busi­
ness and five were unemployed. O f the 45 women who were
the heads o f families, 13 were doing day’s work at $2 a day
and one at $2.50 a day, but the number o f days they were
employed could not be ascertained and so the monthly wages
could not be calculated. There were two women earning be­
tween $40 and $49 a month and three earning between $70
and $79 a month. The monthly wages o f 26 were doubtful
or unknown. “ As far as these figures are typical o f the wages
o f negro workmen in Detroit,” says Dr. Haynes, “ they show
that the prevailing wages o f the men are from about $70 to
$119 a month; for, 159 o f the 194 men whose wages were
ascertained were receiving wages ranging between these amounts.
The prevailing wage for women is about that o f those doing
day work, $2 a day.” 1
In Detroit, as in other places, there is conflict o f opinion as
to the value o f the negro as a laborer. The survey o f the
migrants there showed that there were diverse views about the
suitability o f negro labor. Mr. Charles M. Culver, General
Manager o f the Detroit Employers Association, thought some
employers were highly pleased with negro workmen and some
were not. He said:
There are two lines o f adverse opinion about the neg'o as a workman;
first, nine-tenths o f the complaints o f employers are that he is too slow.
He does not make the speed that the routine o f efficient industry demands.
He is lacking in the regularity demanded by routine o f industry day by
day. Second, the negro has been observed to be disinclined to work outof-doors when the cold weather comes. Employers have discussed this
and have not found the negro satisfactory on this point. Unless the negroes
overcome this practice employers will turn to other sources o f supply when
their present extreme needs are past. Employers must have a labor supply
upon which they can depend at all seasons—laborers who will work out-ofdoors winter as well as summer.
1 Haynes, Survey o f the Migrants in Detroit.



Speaking o f the colored women employed in the manufacture
o f garments by the Krolick Company, Mr. Cohen, the super­
intendent, said his greatest difficulty was in overcoming the
timidity o f the girls and in inducing them to believe they can
become successful operators and earn good wages.
The peculiar situation caused by the sudden increase o f the
city’s negro population was met by organized efforts directed,
in the main, by the local branch o f the National League on
Urban Conditions among Negroes, which here also took the
lead in helping the migrants adjust themselves.1 Among the
important things done by the league were the establishing o f a
vocational bureau, a bureau o f investigation and information re­
garding houses, and a committee on recreation; the inaugurating
o f a ten cent “ newcomers ” community dance, which was held
every Tuesday evening in a public school in the heart o f the
negro district; the development o f athletic features for the im­
migrants, and the organization o f a branch o f “ Camp Fire
Girls.” The league induced one o f the largest foundries to
build low-priced homes for its negro employes near the plant.
It also somewhat relieved the housing problem by the purchase
o f leases from the proprietresses o f a number' o f disorderly
houses which were closed by the police. In each case the
league persuaded some manufacturer to take over the lease, and
in this way a large number o f negro families were accommo­
dated. It also kept a list o f vacant houses and was surprised
to find how many o f them were not listed by commercial real
estate agents.
The league persuaded the police commissioner to appoint a
special officer, selected by the league especially for the new­
comers. It is his duty to mingle with crowds on the streets
where the newcomers congregate and urge them not to make a
nuisance o f themselves by blocking sidewalks, boisterous be­

1 The Urban League is maintained by the Associated Charities and private
individuals to study Detroit’s negro problem and improve the condition o f
the city’s negroes. Forrester B. Washington is director in charge o f the
league. The organization will aim to direct negro sentiment and support
along lines of best interests for Detroit.—Detroit News, November 6, 1916.



havior and the like. H e was also provided with cards direct­
ing newcomers to the office o f the league when in need o f em­
ployment. The league itself kept a close watch on the negro
underworld o f Detroit and immediately apprised the police when
dives were developed especially to prey on the immigrant.
The Board o f Commerce cooperated in a movement for the
investigation and improvement o f working conditions o f negro
employes in the various manufacturing plants in Detroit. The
Board o f Health gave considerable assistance in obtaining better
and more sanitary housing conditions. The aid o f several
mothers’ clubs among the colored women was enlisted to instruct
immigrant mothers in the proper diet and clothing for children
in a northern climate. From the outset, the aim was not only
to put each migrant in a decent home but also to connect him
with some church. Many times the churches reciprocated with
considerable material as well as spiritual assistance.
Valued cooperation was given by the Young Negroes’ Progres­
sive Association, a body o f thirty-four young colored men,
most o f whom attended the various schools and colleges about
Detroit. They have been the finest possible agents in the de­
velopment o f all the different activities. In the adjustment
o f the negro, a definite place must be given to the development
o f industrial efficiency. In pursuance o f this object the league,
with the assistance o f the Progressive Association, carried on
a movement.1 Representatives o f the two organizations visit
the various factories where large numbers o f negroes are em­
ployed and talk to them during the noon hour on the necessity
o f creating the best possible impression at the present time so

•Tw o surveys o f the migrants in Detroit were made. One was under the
auspices o f the negro committee o f the Home Missions’ Council o f the
Churches o f Christ in America and was published under the title, “ Negro
Newcomers in Detroit.” This survey investigated industrial opportunities,
housing and recreation facilities, and the work which the churches were
doing and should do for Detroit’s newcomers.
The Church Extension Committee o f the Detroit Presbytery made a survey
o f the negro problem in Detroit. This survey showed that the negro popula­
tion o f the city has grown from 5,000 in 1910 to 21,000 in 1917. The negro
churches o f the city are utterly inadequate to take care o f the religious needs
o f the race here, it was shown.



that they may be certain o f retaining their jobs in the future.
At the same time, the speakers circulate these cards:

watched the clock.
was always behindhand.
asked too many questions.
wasn’t ready for the next step.
did not put his heart in his work.
learned nothing from his blunders.
was contented to be a second-rater.
didn’t learn that the best part o f his salary was not in his pay envelope.

The Situation at Points in the East
N o less conspicuous as attractions to the negroes o f the
South were the various industries o f the State o f Pennsylvania.
Although not so closely connected with the Black Belt o f the
South as are so many o f the industrial centers o f the West,
Pennsylvania nevertheless was sought by many o f these migrants
because o f the long accepted theory that this commonwealth
maintains a favorable attitude toward persons o f color. It drew
upon this population too because o f the very urgent need for
workers in its numerous industries during the labor crisis result­
ing from the falling off o f the foreign immigration. When,
moreover, manufacturing establishments o f the State multiplied
as elsewhere because o f the demand for the manufacture o f
munitions o f war, this need became more urgent than ever.
According to the census o f 1910, the State o f Pennsylvania
had 193,919 inhabitants o f negro blood, 84,459 o f whom lived
in the city o f Philadelphia. During the recent rush to that
commonwealth, however, investigators are now o f the opinion
that the negro population o f that State is hardly less than
These migrants were, o f course, not all settled in
the city o f Philadelphia. Here we see another example o f a
rerouting point, a place where the migration broke bulk, scat­
tering itself into the various industrial communities desiring
labor. Among the other cities and towns receiving this popu­
lation were practically all o f those within a radius o f about
one hundred miles o f Philadelphia, such as Lancaster, Pottsville, York, Altoona, Harrisburg and certain other towns lying
without the State, as in the case o f Wilmington, Delaware, i
site o f a large munitions plant. In some cases the negro pop­
ulation in these towns increased more than 100 per cent in a few




The chief factors in the bringing in o f these negroes from
the South were the leading railroads like the Erie and Pennsyl­
vania. During the shortage o f labor, these corporations found
it impossible to keep their systems in repair. In this situation,
they, like the smaller concerns further west, sent labor agents
to the South to induce negroes to supply this demand. Un­
fortunately, however, so many 'o f the negroes who had their
transportation paid by these firms counted it more profitable to
leave their employ immediately after arriving, because o f the
unusually high wages offered by smaller industries in just as
urgent need o f labor. Instead o f supplying their own de­
mand, therefore, the railroads were benefiting their neigh­
A better idea as to the extent o f the congestion made possible
by this influx o f newcomers may be obtained from the comments
o f observers in that section. Traveling men tell us o f the
crowded houses and congested streets which marked the places
wherever these migrants stopped. Housing facilities being in­
adequate, temporary structures were quickly built and when
these did not suffice, in the case o f railroads, ordinary tents
and box cars were used to shelter the new laborers. Owing
to these unsatisfactory conditions and the inability o f employers
to ameliorate them, the migration was to some extent discour­
aged, and in a few cases a number o f the migrants returned
to their homes in the South, so that the number that actually
came into the State is much less than it would have been, had
it been possible to receive and adequately accommodate the
negroes in their new homes.
In Philadelphia the situation at first became unusually critical.
Being closer to the Southland than most o f the large cities
of. the country, the people o f Philadelphia are much more preju­
diced against the negro than those in some other-northern cities.
It was necessary, therefore, upon their arrival in that city for
them to crowd into the district largely restricted to negroes,
giving rise to such unhappy conditions as to jeopardize the peace
and health o f the community. Numbers o f these migrants died
from exposure during the first winter, and others who died



because o f their inability to stand the northern climate made
the situation seem unusually alarming. It was necessary, there­
fore, to organize social workers to minister to the peculiar needs
o f these newcomers. Appeals were made in their behalf and a
number o f prominent citizens felt that it was necessary to urge
them to remain in the South.
The solution o f this problem was rendered a little more
difficult for the reason that here, as in many other centers in
the North, the newcomers were not welcomed by their own
race. Philadelphia had for years been pointed to as having a
respectable, thrifty and prosperous colored population, enjoying
the good will and the cooperation o f the best white people in
the community. These northern negroes felt then that the com­
ing o f their brethren in the rough did them a decided injury
in giving rise to a race problem in a northern community where
it had not before figured. This unusual influx o f other members
o f the race greatly stimulated that tendency to segregate negro
children in the schools, to the deep regret o f the older citizens
o f Philadelphia. Other social privileges as in theaters, churches
and the like, formerly allowed the negro citizens o f that city,
tended gradually to be withdrawn.
The negro migrants were not altogether innocent. Many
o f them used their liberty in their northern home as a stum­
bling block. Receiving there such high wages which they could
not judiciously spend, the unwise o f their group used this un­
usually large income to their own detriment and to that o f the
community. It was indeed difficult to restrain a poor man
who never had had a few dollars, when just arrived from a
section o f the country where he had not only been poor but
restricted even in expending what income he received. Many
o f them received $6, $7 and in a few cases $8 to $10 a day.
They frequented saloons and dens o f vice, thereby increas­
ing the number o f police court cases and greatly staining the
record o f the negroes in that city. A number o f fracases, there­
fore, broke out from time to time, growing in intensity in
keeping with the condition to which the community, unaccus­
tomed to negro neighbors, saw fit to manifest its displeasure.



This finally culminated in the recent riots in Philadelphia in
which a number o f blacks and whites were killed.
Feeling that they did not have the support o f the officers
o f the law, the negroes o f the city organized a Colored Pro­
tective Association and raised a fund for the prosecution o f
policemen and others who might aid mobs. The method o f
strengthening itself is to organize the churches o f the city with
a view to securing the cooperation o f every negro there. T o
advance this work, a large sum has been raised. Other efforts
o f this sort in behalf o f the negroes in Philadelphia have been
made by the National Association for the Advancement o f
Colored People and the Armstrong Association in cooperation
with the National League on Urban Conditions among Negroes.
Social workers in general soon found it necessary to address
themselves to the task o f readjusting these migrants.1 The
Philadelphia Academy o f Medicine, composed o f negro physi­
cians, dentists and druggists, put into effect measures calculated
to meet requirements for housing, sanitation, medical attention
and education. Systematic medical inspections were given, and
projects for the erection o f houses and the adaptation o f ex­
isting buildings for lodgings are under way. Eighty negro
physicians o f the city collected information which took the
form o f a weekly report o f the Bureau o f Health. Real estate
dealers were asked to submit lists o f every house immediately
available for the relief o f the overcrowded buildings then occu­
pied by the negroes and to provide hundreds o f new ones, cheaply
but substantially constructed. Stereopticon lectures and talks
were given on an increasing scale in all the negro churches
telling the new arrivals how to care for themselves in the Phil­
adelphia climate, how to avoid colds, which lead to pneumonia
and tuberculosis, the two most common diseases among them,
and other useful information in general.
The Interdenominational Ministerial Union o f Philadelphia,
embracing all the negro ministers o f the city, drew up certain
resolutions setting forth their views relative to the migration
and making some suggestions concerning the situation in Phila1 The Philadelphia North American, February 2, 1917.



delphia. They pledged themselves to look after the comfort
o f the migrants in every way possible, urged them to join the
churches and other organizations for improvement, and send
their children to the schools, and to utilize the libraries, night
schools and other agencies o f culture which were denied them
in the South. These ministers urged them also to work regu­
larly, and give their best services to their employers regardless
o f pay, remembering always that the race is on trial in them;
that they ‘save their money, and purchase homes and become
a part o f the substantial citizenry as soon as possible.1
A Negro Migration Committee was formed, composed o f
eight workers from social agencies and charitable societies, to
provide suitable housing for negro families arriving in this city
and to aid them in getting work. Each member o f the com­
mittee is to work through the organization he represents and
be responsible ,for one specific phase o f the problem.*
Notwithstanding the efforts that were made to improve the
housing conditions, the situation in this respect continued to
grow worse. In December o f 1917, representatives o f the vari­
ous social agencies and o f the corporations employing large
numbers o f negroes met in a conference on the housing situation.
“ All the questions involved in the reasons for the colored people
coming north and the problem o f housing and caring for them
were seriously discussed.”
Some representatives o f the corporations asserted that the men were not
reliable and dependable, going from place to place and only working a few
days in each week. The social service workers stated that the reason for
this is that there are not a sufficient number o f houses in which to take care
o f the men and their families, and that the districts in which they lived
were shamefully crowded. According to these workers the only way in which
ffie men can be made satisfied is by providing more homes for them in sanitary
and wholesome quarters. After thoroughly considering the problem a per­
manent committee was appointed to deal with the problem in all its aspects.1

One o f the most effective agencies for dealing with the situa­
tion created by thousands o f negroes migrating north was the1
1 Resolutions o f the Interdenominational Union.
2 Philadelphia Inquirer, March 2, 1917.
8 The Living Church, December 22, 1917.



Armstrong Association. This association gave special atten­
tion to stabilizing negro labor and to improving the housing
conditions. The association brought before several corporations
conditions o f housing and recreation which would enable them
to retain their workers. They provided a negro welfare worker
for the American International Shipbuilding Company, to attend
to the stabilizing o f negro labor. The association is perfecting
plans for better housing o f negro workers and the providing
o f recreation centers, such as are now enjoyed in virtually every
city by the white workers. The association obtained the coopera­
tion o f a number o f large industrial firms and corporations in
this city, to aid it in the employment o f competent negro welfare
workers to help adjust existing conditions, making for greater
efficiency and reliability among the negro race.
The demand for labor by the many industrial plants located
in New Jersey caused that State to get a very large proportion
o f the negro migrants and as a result to have, in acute form,
the problem o f housing conditions and the other problems in­
cident to a large number o f migrants being within her borders.
T o assist in caring for the situation a Negro Welfare League
was organized with branches at various points in the State.
Writing on the situation in New Jersey, a contributor o f The
Survey, for February 17, 1917, states:
The native negro residents o f the city and suburban towns have been kind
and generous in helping the southern stranger. They have collected money
to send numbers back home, and when the bitter cold weather began they
collected and distributed thousands o f garments. Resident negroes have also
taken hundreds o f newcomers into their own homes until rooms could be
found for them. But, while different churches and kind hearted people
had been most active in helping individually, there was no concerted move­
ment to bring all these forces together until the organization o f the Negro
Welfare League o f New Jersey. Industries o f New Jersey have utterly
failed to provide the housing which would enable their negro help to live
decently and in enough comfort so that while growing accustomed to their
unusual work, they might be stimulated to become useful and efficient.
In the last two weeks the Negro Welfare Committee, with the help o f
an investigation o f 120 self-supporting families, all o f whom were found
in the worst sections o f the city, showed that 166 adults—only twenty o f
whom are over forty years o f age—and 134 children, a total o f 300 souls,
are all crowded into insanitary dark quarters, averaging four and two-



sevenths persons to a room. These fifty-three families paid a total rent
per month o f $415.50, an average o f $7.66. The average wage o f these
people is $2.60 a day. In not one o f the 120 families was there a wage earner
making the maximum wage o f $3 and $4 a day. Some o f the reports in
brief were: “ W ife and children living over a stable. Husband earning $11
a week.” Three families in four rooms, “ a little house not fit for a chicken
coop.” “ A sorry looking house for so much money, $15 a month; doors
off the hinges, water in the cellar, two families in five rooms.” “ Indescrib­
able ; so dark they must keep the light burning all day.” “ T his family lives
in three rooms on the second floor o f a rickety frame house, built on the
side of a hill, so that the back rooms are just above the ground. The entrance
is in a muddy, disorderly yard and is through a tunnel in the house. The
rooms are hard to heat because o f cracks. A boy o f eighteen was in bed
breathing heavily, very ill with pneumonia, delirious at times.” Unused to
city life, crowded into dark rooms, their clothing and household utensils
unsuitable, the stoves they have brought being all too small to heat even the
tiny rooms they have procured (the instalment houses are charging from
$20 to $30 for these stoves), shivering with the cold from which they do
not know how to protect themselves, it is small wonder that illness has
overtaken large numbers.1

Newark, New Jersey, was one o f the places to which the
migrants first came in large numbers. William H. Maxwell,
, President o f the Negro Forward Movement, o f that city, issued
an appeal for the protection from the unscrupulous o f southern
negroes migrating to Newark. He declared that they were being
made to work for lower wages than they had been promised
and that storekeepers and dealers were charging them high
prices for worthless goods. The Newark Presbytery took up
the matter o f proper housing and clothing o f the migrants who
were unaccustomed to the rigors o f a northern climate.
On September 23, 1917, a State conference o f negroes was
held in Newark to devise ways and means to cooperate with
the State authorities in looking after the welfare o f migrants.
Soon after this conference, it was decided to establish a State
bureau, “ for the welfare and employment o f the colored citi­
zens in the State and particularly to look after the housing,
employment and education o f the citizens migrating from the
On October 12, Governor Edge had a number o f
social workers among the negroes to meet him, “ to discuss the
several perplexing and grave economic, industrial and social
1 Cotton Pickers in Northern Cities, The Survey, February 17, 1917.



problems arising from the steady influx o f the negro migrants
from the South.” The conference was held in the Assembly
room at the State House. Col. Lewis T. Bryant, Commissioner
o f Labor, presided. After many reports and discussions o f
work accomplished in various parts o f the State, the body voted
to accept the proposed Negro Welfare Bureau, under the De­
partment o f Labor. A fund o f $7,500 is available for the com­
ing year’s maintenance and work. The scope o f this bureau’s
work was employment, housing, social welfare and readjustment,
education and legal fairness. This bureau acted as a welfare
clearing house for all social agencies working for the betterment
o f the colored people.
A t the next session o f the legislature, a bill was passed,
February, 1918, establishing in the Department o f Labor the
Negro Welfare Employment Bureau. According to a report
o f the work o f the Negro Welfare Bureau made public in April,
1918, considerable progress in the work o f improving both the
migrating negroes to New Jersey from the South as well as the
members o f the race generally who have been in this State for
some time has been made. With the possible exception o f Salem
and Hudson counties, the sheriffs o f the State report no in­
crease o f criminality from the migration o f negroes from the
South. At Pennsgrove in Salem county, where the Du Pont
powder plants are located, Sheriff William T. Eiffin reports
that considering the increase in population there has been an
increase in crime in that county, but that the situation is well
in hand and diminishing to normal.1
Hartford was one o f the industrial centers to which large
numbers o f the migrating negroes went. The housing problem
became acute and the chief efforts o f those endeavoring to
better the conditions of migrants was along this line. Religious,
civic and commercial bodies gave attention to the amelioration
o f this problem.1 The problem o f housing negroes who were
coming in greater numbers each year to Hartford was taken
up briefly by speakers at the 128th annual meeting o f the Hart­
1 The Courier (Camden, N. J.), April 30, 1918.
2 The Hartford Courant, September 19, 1917.



ford Baptist Association at the Shiloh Baptist Church. It was
decided to bring the housing problem before the attention o f
the Chamber o f Commerce, which, it was said, some time before
had appointed a committee to investigate it. Negroes complained
that they were obliged to pay higher rent than white folks and
that they were obliged by landlords to live together in cramped
quarters that were, by reason o f the crowding, insanitary. They
said also that the living o f several families almost as one family
leads to a breaking down o f the moral and religious ideals.1
Conditions in Hartford resulting from the bringing o f more
than 2,500 negroes from the South were discussed at the fall
meeting o f the Confidential Exchange with a view to preparing
for these new arrivals.
A t the June, 1917, meeting o f the Chamber o f Commerce,
a committee was appointed from that body to investigate hous­
ing conditions and to cooperate with other agencies in improv­
ing them. The committee met frequently through the summer
with the housing committee o f the Civic Club, in an endeavor
to ascertain the facts bearing upon the present situation. It
had before it leading colored citizens, ministers, business men
and industrial workers, some o f whom have lived here for years
and others who have recently arrived from the South. It was
discovered that there was, at that time, plenty o f work and at
good wages, but the universal complaint was the lack o f homes
suitable for proper living and the extortionate prices asked for
rents. Negroes in Hartford were suffering from the cupidity
o f landlords. They were obliged to live in poor tenements
and under unhealthful conditions because accommodations o f
another class were withheld from them. For such inferior
accommodations they were charged outrageous rents, because
selfish property owners knowing that negroes must live charged
all the traffic would bear. Partial relief was obtained from the
immediate need by the purchase o f buildings already erected,
and homes for them were later built. It appeared that for
the first time in many years Hartford had a race problem on
its hands.
1 The Hartford Post, October 9, 1917.

Remedies for Relief by National Organizations
The sudden influx o f thousands o f negro workers to northern
industrial centers created and intensified problems. More com­
prehensive and definite plans for aiding the migrants were,
therefore, worked out and more effective methods o f help insti­
tuted during 1917. A conference on negro migration was held
in New York City under the auspices o f the National League
on Urban Conditions among Negroes, January 29-31, 1918.
Among those attending the conference were representatives o f
capital, o f labor, o f housing conditions, the Immigration Bu­
reau o f Social Uplift W ork for Negroes and others. The
subjects considered were causes and consequences o f the migra­
tion, present conditions o f those migrating and what is to be
done to aid in the negroes’ adjustment to their new environ­
The conference was o f the impression that negroes, then
migrating to the North in unprecedented numbers, were pre­
paring to come in larger numbers in the spring. It, therefore,
recommended that wherever possible, whether in the city or
rural community, organizations be formed to foster good feeling
between the two races, to study the health, school and work
needs o f the negro population, to develop agencies and stimu­
late activities to meet those needs, by training and health pro­
tection to increase the industrial efficiency o f negroes and to
encourage a fairer attitude toward negro labor, especially in
regard to hours, conditions and regularity o f work and stand­
ard o f wages, and to increase the respect for law and the orderly
administration o f justice. It further recommended that similar
organizations be formed or existing organizations urged to take
action which, in addition to the purposes already mentioned,




should seek to instruct the negro migrants as to the dress, habits
and methods o f living necessary to withstand the rigors o f the
northern climate; as to efficiency, regularity and application de­
manded o f workers in the North; as to the danger o f dealing
or going with unscrupulous or vicious persons and o f frequent­
ing questionable resorts; as to the opportunities offered by the
towns and cities o f the North in schools, hospitals, police pro­
tection and employment, and as to facilities offered by the
church, Y . M. C. A. and other organizations.
The various religious denominations among negroes were
profoundly affected by the migration movement. The sudden
moving o f thousands o f communicants from one section o f the
country to the other caused many churches in the South to
become disorganized and in some instances to be broken up.
In the North the facilities o f particular denominations were in­
adequate to accommodate the new communicants who would w or­
ship in the church o f their particular faith. In some instances,
it was necessary to hold double services in order that all who
wished to attend the services might be accommodated. A writer
in the Southwestern Christian Advocate, the organ o f the negro
members o f the Methodist Episcopal Church, said: “ The move­
ment o f the negroes by the thousands from the South to the
North raises a many sided question. The missionary view is
the logical view for the church, and that side o f the question
falls logically upon her hands for solution.” 1
The Boards o f Missions o f white denominations carrying
on work among negroes made studies o f the migration move­
ment. Dr. Gilbert N. Brink, Secretary for Education o f the
American Baptist Home Mission Society, issued a pamphlet
on “ Negro Migration, What does it Mean? ” 1 “ The Invasion
from Dixie ” was the title o f a circular issued on the migration
by the Board o f Home Missions and Church Extension o f
the Methodist Episcopal Church. In this circular two questions
were asked with reference to the migrants. “ What are you
going to do for them ? ” and “ How may we best serve this
1 Southwestern Christian Advocate, New Orleans, La.
2 Ibid.


most pressing need o f the present time? ”


The circular further

The problem as seen from the viewpoint o f the Methodist Episcopal
Church is twofold. First, somehow to conserve the work we have already
done in the South where the migration is leaving. Second, to provide
religious opportunities for those people who have come from our own
churches o f the South as well as those unreached by church influences,
so that at the beginning o f their new life in the North they may all have
the influence o f the Church o f Jesus Christ to shape and mold their future.

The Home Missions Council, which is composed o f repre­
sentatives from the boards doing missionary work in the United
States, through its committee on negro work had a survey
made o f the migrants in Detroit. The results o f this survey
were published under the title “ Negro Newcomers in Detroit.”
Detroit was selected because o f the large numbers o f negroes,
who had been attracted to that city, and also because it was be­
lieved that the conditions in Detroit, although changing, were
sufficiently typical o f other northern industrial centers as to
give a fairly accurate understanding o f this modern phase o f
the negro problem, which might have acute and serious aspects
if not speedily cared for by an enlightened judgment, and the
quickened conscience o f the Christian church.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church through its annual
conferences, its Bishops’ Council and its Missionary Depart­
ment, undertook to meet the migration situation as it affected
and imposed duties on that denomination. The Bishops’ Coun­
cil recommended to all the departments o f the church that, to
meet the needs o f the church as to the expenditure o f money
in the home field o f the North and Northwest for the benefit
o f “ our migrating people,” that they should do the best they
could, “ in assisting in the establishment o f missions and church
houses for our beloved people, consistent with their obligations
already provided for by law and by the action o f the Missionary
Board.” 1 A circular containing the following questions was
sent out to the A. M. E. churches throughout the North.
1 Report o f Bishop’s Council, A.M.E. Church, 1917.



How many persons, to your knowledge, have come from the South into
your vicinity during the past year?
In what sections o f your city are they located?
T o what extent are they African Methodists?
From what section o f the South have they come?
What reasons do they give for coming to the North?
T o what extent have they found employment? At what, and what is the
average wage paid?
Have you a Lookout Committee in your church to seek these people? If
not, what organized effort is being put forth to church them?
Has any special mission work been started among or for our southern
brethren, in your vicinity? I f so, what and where?
What number o f people from the South have united with your church
during the past year?
How do they affiliate with your people?
What is the attitude o f your members toward them?
So far as you have seen, is the better plan, where the numbers warrant
it, to establish a distinct mission for them or bring them into the
already established churches?

Bishop R. A. Carter, o f the Colored Methodist Episcopal
Church, after an extended trip north in the interest o f the
work o f his denomination for the migrants, published in the
official organ o f his church a description o f the situation as
he found it, and what the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
should do to assist in meeting the needs o f the situation. He
I have just returned from an extended trip through the great Northwest,
having visited St. Louis, Chicago, Gary, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland,
Pittsburgh, Clarksburg and West Virginia . . . Heretofore the few church
houses in those cities have been sufficient for the colored people who were
there. Since the migration o f our people in such great numbers, the church
facilities are alarmingly inadequate. It is necessary to hold two services at
the same time in many churches and then hundreds are turned away for
lack o f room. It is pathetic to have to tell people who attend one service
not to return to the next so that a new crowd may be accommodated. Yet
that is just what must be done in many instances up that way now. There
must be more churches established in all the large cities o f the North and
East and Northwest for our people or serious results will obtain in the

He considered the opportunity and duty o f the C. M. E.
Church as great and urgent. He recommended the purchase
o f vacant white churches offered for sale and the transfer o f



some o f the best pastors. He urged that there be launched
a movement for a great centenary rally for $500,000 with
which to take advantage o f the great opportunity which con­
fronted the race in the North.
Before the migration movement the* strength o f the negroes
in labor unions was largely in the South. In this section they
were found in considerable numbers in the carpenters, brick­
layers, plasterers, longshoremen and miners unions. In the
North, however, they were not generally connected with the
unions mainly for the reason that, excepting the hod carriers,
teamsters, asphalt and cement workers and a few other organi­
zations o f unskilled laborers, they were not found in any occu­
pation in sufficient numbers to necessitate being seriously con­
sidered by organized labor. The necessities o f the industrial
situation created by the war, however, brought thousands o f
negroes north and into trades and occupations in which hitherto
they had not been found at all or only in negligible numbers.
A change in attitude, therefore, was necessary. A t the 1910
annual meeting o f the National Council o f the American Fed­
eration o f Labor a resolution was unanimously passed inviting
negroes and all other races into the Labor Federation. The
officers o f the Federation were instructed to take measures
to see that negro workmen as well as workmen o f other races
be brought into the union. In 1913 this action was reaffirmed
with the assertion that
Many years ago the American Federation o f Labor declared for the
thorough organization o f all working people without regard to sex, religion,
race, politics or nationality; that many organizations affiliated with the Ameri­
can Federation o f Labor have within their membership negro workmen with
all other workers o f their trade, and the American Federation o f Labor has
made and is making every effort within its power for the organization o f
these workmen.1

A t its 1916 annual convention held in November at Balti­
more, the American Federation o f Labor considered the ques­
tion o f negro migration. The question was brought formally
1 Report o f Proceedings, American Federation o f Labor, annual session,



before the convention by the Ohio State Federation o f Labor
and the Cleveland Federation o f Labor reciting that: “ The
investigation o f such emigration and impovtation o f negroes in
the State o f Ohio had demonstrated to the satisfaction o f labor
leaders in that State that they were being brought north for
the purpose o f filling the places o f union men demanding better
conditions, as in the case o f freight handlers.” Believing that
“ the conditions that prevailed in Ohio might apply in all north­
ern States,” the president and Executive Council o f the Fed­
eration were instructed to begin a movement looking towards
the organization o f negroes in the southern States.” 1
A t the 1917 convention o f the American Federation o f Labor
held at Buffalo, New York, the question o f negro labor was
again considered. It was observed that the colored laborers
and helpers throughout the southeastern district were not as
familiar with the labor movement as they should be, especially
upon the different railroads o f the southeastern territory; and
that there were fifteen different railroads in the district for
which there were only four colored locals. Feeling that a negro
organizer, because o f his racial and social relations among his
people, could accomplish much in organizing the forces into
unions, the National Convention appointed a negro railroad
man as organizer for the territory as above mentioned. An­
other set o f resolutions, relating to the general condition o f
negroes in the United States, making suggestions to secure the
cooperation o f the American people and the national govern­
ment in an endeavor to have the nations participating in the
coming world peace conference agree upon a plan to turn
over the African continent or parts thereof to the African race
and those descendants o f said race who live in America and
desire to return to Africa, and thus enable the black race to
work out its own destiny on an equality with other peoples
o f the earth, was referred to a committee. The report was,
“ Y our committee can not be responsible for and rejects the
statements contained in the resolution, but, inasmuch as por1 Report o f Proceedings, American Federation o f Labor, annual session,



tions o f it refer to the organization o f negro workers, the com­
mittee recommends that that portion be referred to the Executive
Council.” 1
At the annual meeting o f the National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes, held in New York City, January
29-31, 1918, resolutions relating to labor unions and the negroes
were adopted and a committee was appointed to place the reso­
lutions before the executive committee o f the American Fed­
eration of Labor. The resolutions adopted were as follows:
For the first time in the history o f America, the negro working man is in
large numbers getting a chance to offer his service at a fair wage for various
kinds o f work for which he is fitted. This opportunity, however, has come
as a result of conditions over which neither he, nor those offering him the
chance, have control.
In the city of New York, on the 31st day o f January, 1918, we in con­
ference assembled under the auspices o f the National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes, while in no way seeking to condone the existence
o f the worldwide war which has been forced upon our beloved country, wish
to express our gratitude for the industrial changes wrought and to record
our prayer that the benefits thus far derived by the negro may continue and
so enlarge as to embrace full and fair opportunity in all the walks o f life.
I. We wish especially to address ourselves to the American Federation
o f Labor which at its recent convention in Buffalo, New York, voiced sound
democratic principles in its attitude toward negro labor.
W e would ask the American Federation o f Labor, in organizing negroes
in the various trades, to include: ( 1) skilled as well as unskilled workmen,
(2) northern as well as southern workmen, (3) government as well as
civilian employes, (4) women as well as men workers.
W e would have negro labor handled by the American Federation o f Labor
in the same manner as white labor; ( 1) when workmen are returning to
work after a successful strike; ( 2 ) when shops are declared “ open ” or
“ closed” ; ( 3 ) when union workers apply for jobs.
W e would have these assurances pledged not with word only, but by
deeds—pledged by an increasing number o f examples o f groups o f negro
workmen given a “ square deal.”
With these accomplished, we pledge ourselves to urge negro working men
to seek the advantages o f sympathetic cooperation and understanding be­
tween men who work.
II. We would also address ourselves to the Labor Bureau o f the United
States Government.
In our national effort to speed up production o f articles essential to the
1 Report o f Proceedings, American Federation o f Labor, annual session,



conduct o f the war as well as the production o f other goods, let us not lose
sight o f our duty to our country in quantity production by an unreasonable
prejudice in many quarters against the use o f negro labor. Negro workmen
are loyal and patriotic, cheerful and versatile. In some sections there is an
oversupply o f such labor; in other sections a shortage.
W e would urge the appointment o f one or two competent negroes in
the Department o f Labor to serve as assistants in each o f the bureaus in
distributing negro labor to meet war and peace needs.
III. W e would urge negro workmen to remain cheerful and hopeful in
w ork; to be persevering in their efforts to improve in regularity, punctuality
and efficiency, and to be quick to grasp all opportunities for training both
themselves and their children. Success lies in these directions.
IV. W e would impress upon employers the fact that the efficiency o f their
employes during work hours depends very largely on the use made o f the
non-working hours. Most o f the complaints against negro labor can be
removed if proper housing, decent amusement, fair wages and proper treat­
ment are provided.1

These resolutions were presented to the executive officers
o f the American Federation o f Labor on February 12, 1918,
by a committee composed o f E. K. Jones, Director o f National
League on Urban Conditions among Negroes, Robert R. M oton, Principal o f Tuskegee Institute, Archibald H. Grimke,
Thomas Jesse Jones, specialist in the United States Bureau o f
Education, J. R. Shillady, Secretary o f the National Associa­
tion for the Advancement o f Colored People, Fred R. Moore,
editor o f the New York Age, George W . Harris, editor o f the
New York News, and Emmett J. Scott, special assistant to the
Secretary o f War. The committee requested o f the Executive
Council that a committee be appointed by the American Fed­
eration o f Labor to confer with a committee representing the
interests o f the negroes. This request was granted.
A t the American Federation o f Labor annual convention
held at St. Paul, Minnesota, in June, 1918, the problem o f
negro workers and organized labor again received considerable
attention. B. S. Lancaster, a negro delegate to the convention
from Mobile, Alabama, offered a resolution asking for the
appointment o f a negro to organize negroes not now affiliated
with unions in the shipbuilding trades. Another resolution
1 Minutes o f Session, National League on Urban Conditions, January 29-31,



was to the effect that negro porters, cooks, waiters and wait­
resses, section hands and all negro railway employes to be
organized. The press reports o f the convention under date
o f June 12, said:
Dr. R. R. Moton, Principal o f the Tuskegee Institute, and J. R. Shillady, o f
the National Association for the Advancement o f Colored People, .are
authors o f a communication asking for closer cooperation between white
and colored workers. They ask that Mr. Gompers prepare a statement on
his stand toward negro labor, and charge that some unions discriminate
against colored workers. They urge consideration o f revision o f union
charters to permit negroes to become members. The communication was

These efforts were not without some result, for sentiment
began to change. In its August, 1918, issue the editor o f the
Labor News o f Detroit, Michigan, said:
The time has arrived for the American labor movement to face squarely
the fact that the negro is a big factor in our industrial life, and that he must
be taken into account in the adjustment o f our economic differences. Never
again can the negro be ignored. Time and time again the selfish masters
o f industry have used him to batter your organizations to pieces, and, in­
stead o f trying to win him over, you have savagely fought him, because
they used him as a strikebreaker. But the negro must be made to see the
value o f organization to himself, and he must be incorporated into and
made a part o f the great labor movement. It is a stupid policy to try to
keep him out. Let us work to shift him from his present unhappy position,
where he is despised by the big business element, notwithstanding his utility
as a strikebreaker, and hated by unionists for his loyalty to the open shop
element. Unionism must welcome the negro to its ranks.
1 Report o f M. N. W ork on migration to the North.

Public Opinion Regarding the Migration
It was to be expected that a movement which so profoundly
affected the social and economic life o f the South would be
widely discussed, and that the resulting discussions, wherein
were set forth at length the views o f whites and negroes, would
throw much light upon the conditions existing prior to the
movement. H ow the South viewed this taking away o f a large
part o f her labor supply was stated in letters to the newspapers
and in newspaper editorials. There were two views as to the
effect o f the migration on the South. One view held that the
movement would benefit the South in that the negro population
would be more evenly distributed over the entire country and
as a result the race problem would be more truly national. The
other view was that negro labor was a necessity for the South,
and the drawing o f a considerable part o f this labor north
was seriously detrimental to the South’s economic interests.
The following are examples o f expressions by those holding
the view that the migration would benefit the South:
The New Orleans Times Picayune said:
Despite the attitude o f certain extreme papers o f the North that there
was a broad conspiracy existing here to prevent the negroes from leaving,
the records show that many southern papers and people welcomed the
movement, believing that it would have a beneficial effect on the South by
removing the negro majorities in many districts and in at least two States,
South Carolina and Mississippi. The problems o f negro majorities is
rapidly working itself out. Louisiana, a State in which the negro was more
numerous a few decades ago, is white today by several hundred thousand,
and will have a million more whites by the next census. South Carolina
and Mississippi expect to report white majorities in the next ten years as
they are drifting rapidly in that direction, and negro emigration will help
this condition along.
During the first months o f this negro movement northward, a number o f
South Carolina papers, led by the Columbia Slate, instead o f expressing




apprehension over these departures, showed satisfaction that the State was
getting rid o f its excess of negroes. At the Southern Commercial Congress
in a session at Norfolk, Judge Francis D. Winston, o f North Carolina, ex­
pressed this same view o f the situation in a resolution which declares that:
“ The complete industrial, intellectual and social development o f the south­
ern States can be secured only when the negro becomes a part o f the
citizenship o f our sister States, and that we will encourage all movements
tending to an equitable distribution o f our negro population among the
other States o f the Union.
It is not likely that there will be any serious objection to a declaration o f
this kind in favor o f the more equitable distribution o f the negroes through­
out the country as the question involved can then be better handled. No
encouragement to the negroes to leave the South will be held out, but there
will be no effort made to keep the negroes from going beyond explaining
the situation to them.1

A' comment o f the Nashville Banner w as:
From a logical point o f view that looks beyond immediate emergencies,
the southern whites should encourage negro emigration to the North, not
for the cynical motives that impelled the late Hon. Jeff Davis while Gov­
ernor o f Arkansas to pardon negro convicts on condition that they go to
Massachusetts to live, but to relieve the South o f the entire burden and
all the brunt of the race problem, and make room for and to create greater
inducements for white immigration that the South very much needs. Some
thousands o f negroes going north every year and a corresponding number
of whites coming south would affect a distribution o f the races that would
be in many ways beneficial and that at the very least would take away from
the race problem all sectional aspects, which is and has always been the
chief cause o f sectional ill feeling. And it would in the end give the South
a homogeneous citizenship.

The Vicksburg Herald 1 was o f the opinion that:
Adjustments and compensation will, we have faith, come. The northern
drift as it continues, and carries thousands with it, will lower negro con­
gestion in certain sections o f the South. Such a change, restrained and
graduated against violent progression, promises ultimate benefit. In the
South, the effect o f losing thousands o f negroes from lands in southern
Mississippi is already . . . producing a wholesome farm diversification and
economic stimulation. Then, too, a more equitable distribution o f the sons
o f Ham will teach the Caucasians o f the northern States that wherever there
is a negro infusion, there will be a race problem—a white man's burden—
which they are destined to share.
1 New Orleans Times Picayune, December 15, 1916.
2 August 19, 1916.



Among those holding the view that the South needed the
negro was the Memphis Commercial Appeal.1 Concerning this
an editorial in this paper said that not only does the South need
the negro, but that he should be encouraged to stay.
The enormous demand for labor and the changing conditions brought
about by the boll weevil in certain parts o f the South have caused an
exodus of negroes which may be serious. Great colonies of negroes have
gone north to work in factories, in packing houses and on the railroads.
Some o f our friends think that these negroes are being taken north for
the purpose o f voting them in November. Such is not the case. The
restriction o f immigration because o f the European war and the tremendous
manufacturing and industrial activity in the North have resulted in a
scarcity o f labor. The negro is a good track hand. He is also a good
man around packing houses, and in certain elementary trades he is useful.
The South needs every able-bodied negro that is now south o f the line,
and every negro who remains south o f the line will in the end do better
than he will do in the North.
The negro has been a tremendous factor in the development o f agricul­
ture and all the commerce o f the South. But in the meantime, if we are
to keep him here, and if we are to have the best use o f his business capacity,
there is a certain duty that the white man himself must discharge in his
relation to the negro.
The business o f lynching negroes is bad, and we believe it is declining,
but the worst thing is that the wrong negro is often lynched. The negro
should be protected in all his legal rights. Furthermore, in some com ­
munities, some white people make money at the expense o f the negro's
lack o f intelligence. Unfair dealing with the negro is not a custom in the
South. It is not the rule, but here and there the taking o f enormous
profits from the labor of the negro is known to exist.
It should be so arranged that the negro in the city does not have to
raise his children in the alleys and in the streets. Liquor in the cities
has been a great curse to negroes. Millions o f dollars have been made by
no account white people selling no account liquor to negroes and thus
making a whole lot o f negroes no account. Happily this business is being
The negroes who are in the South should be encouraged to remain
there, and those white people who are in the boll weevil territory should
make every sacrifice to keep their negro labor until there can be adjust­
ments to the new and quickly prosperous conditions that will later exist.

Among those holding the same view that the South needed
the negro was the Georgia Enquirer Sun o f Columbus, Georgia.1
1 October 5, 1916.
2 December 2, 1916.



An editorial in this paper said that not only does the South need
the negro but that he should be encouraged to stay.
The Enquirer Sun further emphasized the fact that the South
needs the negro:
With the certainty that a number will differ with us, we state that the
negro is an economic necessity to the South. Our plantations are large,
our climate is peculiar, and we ourselves are not accustomed to doing
the work that we ask the negro to do. Serious labor conditions have
confronted us before, and it is exceedingly rare to find the native land
owning white farmer, who has been accustomed to employ negro labor,
taking the negro’s place when the negro leaves his neighborhood. The
same conditions exist in the industries where we o f the South have been
depending upon the negroes as artisans in our industries or mines.
The South has refused to accept immigration as a means o f supplying
our demands for labor. The farmers stand up and howl about preserving
the pure blood o f the South and invent all sorts o f reasons for prohibiting
the immigration o f the same classes o f people who have been making
the North and East rich for years; the same classes that build the eighth
wonder of the world—the Middle West. Now, if we are going to prohibit
immigration, we must consider the economic status sufficiently seriously
to preserve the only reliable supply o f labor which we have ever known.
That is the negro. W e should ponder over the situation seriously and
not put off until tomorrow its consideration, because this movement is
growing every day. W e should exercise our influence with our landlords
and our merchants to see that a fairer division o f profit is made with the
negro and should watch the prices charged him as well as the interest
charged him. W e should see that the industries offer and pay to him a
full and fair wage for his labor which will compare favorably with the
wages offered in the East. W e should see to it that the police in our
towns, cities and counties cease making distinction between the negro and
the white man when the negro is not absolutely known to be a criminal.
When we do these things, we will keep our labor and we need to keep it.

In connection with the discussion o f the need o f the South
for the negro, the duty o f the South to the negro was pointed
out. According to the Columbia (S. C .) State: 1
If the southern white people would have the negroes remain, they must
treat the negroes justly. If they refuse to do so their hope of keeping
negro labor is in the unwillingness o f the North to treat them justly,
and we fear that this hope is more substantial than the North likes to
admit. Justice ought to be cultivated everywhere for its own sake. Surely
common sense will dictate to the South that it ought to forestall the
1 December 22, 1916.



disruption o f our industrial establishment by causing negroes to understand
that they are safe where they are.
The Macon Telegraph said of negro labor: “ If we lose it, we go bank­
rupt.” Yet this same paper only a few months before was advocating the
sending o f 100,000 negroes into Mexico to conquer the “ mongrel breed/’
and at the same time rid the South o f that many worthless negroes.
The black man has no quarrel with the Mexican, but, on the other hand,
he certainly has a disagreement with conditions as they affect him in the
South, and, when he desires to improve those conditions by getting away
from them, he must be checked. Plenty o f “ sound advice*' is given him
about staying in the South among his friends and under the same old con­
ditions. The bugaboo o f cold weather is put before him to frighten him,
o f race antagonism and sundry other things, but not one word about
better treatment is suggested to lighten the burden, no sane and reasonable
remedy offered.
The black labor is the best labor the South can get, no other would work
long under the same conditions. It has been faithful and loyal, but that
loyalty can be undermined, witness the exodus.

A letter published in the Montgomery Advertiser 1 truly says:
And the negro will not come back once he leaves the South.
The W orld War is bringing many changes and a chance for the negro
to enter broader fields. With the “ tempting bait ” o f higher wages, shorter
hours, better schools and better treatment, all the preachments o f the socalled race leaders will fall on deaf ears.
It is probable that the “ well informed negro,” who told the Birmingham
editor that it was good schools that were drawing the negro, could have
given other and more potent reasons had he been so minded. He could
have told how deep down in the negro’s heart he has no love for pro­
scription, segregation, lynchings, the petty persecutions and cruelties against
him, nor for the arresting o f “ fifty niggers for what three o f 'em done,”
even if it takes all o f this to uphold the scheme o f civilization.
From Savannah alone, three thousand negroes went, from sixteen year
old boys to men o f sixty years. There must be something radically wrong
when aged negroes are willing to make the change. There is greater unrest
among negroes than those in high places are aware.
Let the Advertiser speak out in the same masterful way, with the same
punch and pep for a square deal for the negro, that it does for democracy
and the right for local self-government.

What was the attitude o f the northern whites toward the
migration? Although the North had been accustomed to the
adding o f a million foreigners annually to her population, these
newcomers were white people and as such did not occasion the
1 The Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama, September 22, 1917.



comment or create just the problems which a large influx of
negroes created. The migration o f the negro attracted a great
deal of public attention. A wide and extended discussion o f
the movement was carried on through the press. The attitude
which the white people assumed toward the migrants was ex­
pressed in this discussion.
The New Republic o f New York City 1 pointed out that the
movement gave the negro a chance and that he, the South and
the nation, would in the end, all be gainers.
When Austria found the Serbian reply inadmissible, the American negro,
who had never heard o f Count Berchtold, and did not care whether Bosnia
belonged to Austria or Siam, got his “ chance.” It was not the sort of
chance that came to the makers o f munitions—a chance to make millions.
It was merely a widening o f a very narrow foothold on life, a slightly
better opportunity to make his way in the industrial world o f America.
In the beginning such a migration o f negroes would increase the present
race friction in the North. Within certain limits a racial minority is
unpopular directly in proportion to its numbers. Only as it increases to
the point where political and economic power makes it formidable, does
it overcome opposition. The negro’s competition for jobs and homes
will probably exacerbate relations. As the negroes increased in numbers
they would not only seek menial and unskilled work, but also strive to enter
skilled trades where they would meet with antagonism o f white workers.
Moreover, the negroes would be forced to seek homes in what are now
regarded as “ white ” neighborhoods, and a clamor would be raised at each
new extension o f their dwelling area.
The antidote to persecution, however, is power, and if the northern
negroes are more numerous and more urgently needed in our industrial
life, they could protect themselves from the worst forms o f discrimination.
If by 1930 the negro population o f the North has become three millions,
instead o f the fraction over one million which it is today, and if these
three millions live better and save and spend more per capita than today,
they will profit more than they will lose from their greater numbers.
Their custom will be more valuable, their political power greater and, as
wage earners, they will be strong enough to strike. Once they have com­
pletely filled a new neighborhood, opposition will cease. Moreover, the
industrial competition with white workmen, while severe at certain crucial
points, should not permanently be dangerous, since the very conditions which
bring the negro north also make for higher wages for the white workers.
What the white wage earner desires is not an industrial exploitation o f the
negro, but the maintenance o f the white man’s superiority o f position.
For the nation as a whole, such a gradual dissemination o f the negroes
among all the States would ultimately be o f real advantage. If at the end
1 July 1, 1917.



o f half a century, only 50 or 60 per cent, instead o f 89 per cent o f the
negroes, were congregated in the southern States, it would end the fear of
race domination, and take from the South many o f its peculiar characteris­
tics, which today hamper development. T o the negro it would be o f even
more obvious benefit. The race would be far better educated, considerably
richer, and with greater political power. Success for the negroes o f the
North would mean better conditions for southern negroes. For if the
southern negro, finding political and social conditions intolerable, were
able to emigrate to the North, he would have in his hand a weapon as
effective as any he could find in the ballot box.

The Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Daily Northwestern felt that a large
influx o f colored people would bring to the North the same
perplexing problems that long have disturbed the people o f
the southern States.
This, in fact, is the most serious aspect o f this reported migration of
southern blacks, and it is suggestive o f no end o f trouble for some of
the northern States, which heretofore have regarded the so-called negro
problem as something which little concerns them. The South has struggled
for years to solve this problem, with its many phases and angles, and
never yet has found a satisfactory solution. Should the same baffling
questions be forced on the North it would give the people something to
think about, and many will gain a new appreciation o f the perplexities of
the southern whites. And the necessity o f facing this new problem may
come to the North much sooner than generally is expected.

The Springfield, Massachusetts, Union1 was also o f the
opinion that:
The North has been strong for the negro, considered as a political
entity, but our communities are manifestly not desirous of supplying a
field for him to expand and adapt himself to the social structure, and their
leaders experience more difficulty in this regard than do their co-laborers
in the South, with its vast colored population. This in itself furnished
food for careful thought.
In a way, there is justification for a disinclination on the part o f New
Englanders to add a large negro element to their number. W e have enough
o f a problem already to absorb and educate the large alien element that
has come into our midst from the Old World. Our duty toward our
colored residents should not go unrecognized, and the first step toward a
just and fair disposal o f related problems is to admit frankly that a rather
strict color line is being drawn among us.
1 July 16, 1916.



The Beloit, Wisconsin, Neu’s 1 held that the migration had
brought the negro problem north and made it national:
The negro problem has moved north. Rather, the negro problem has
spread from south to north; and beside it in the South is appearing a
stranger to that clime—the labor problem.
It’s a double development brought about by the war in Europe, and the
nation has not yet realized its significance. Within a few years, experts
predict the negro population o f the North will be tripled. It’s your prob­
lem, then, or it will be when the negro moves next door.
Italians and Greeks are giving way to the negroes in the section gangs
along northern railroads, as you can see from the train windows, and as
labor agents admit. Northern cities that had only small colored popula­
tions are finding their ‘‘white” sections invaded by negro families, strangers
to the town. Many cities are in for the experience that has befallen all
communities on the edge o f the North and South—gradual encroachment
o f colored folks on territory occupied by whites; depreciation in realty
values and lowering o f rents, and finally, moving o f the white families
to other sections, leaving the districts in possession o f colored families
with a small sprinkling o f whites.
This means racial resentment— for the white family that moves to escape
negro proximity always carries, justly or not, a prejudice against the black
race. It hits your pocket too.
Negroes will enter trades now monopolized by white men, at first, per­
haps, as strike breakers; later, as non-union competitors, working for
smaller wages. It will take some time, probably, to get them into the
labor unions’ way of thinking.
Politicians, both good and bad, will seek the ballot o f a large new element,
which will vote largely in the lump. Now, what will be the effect in the
southern States? Already the offers o f better jobs further north have
caused strikes among southern negroes—something almost unheard of.
The South gets no immigration, but the negro has been an ever present
source of cheap labor. With the black tide setting north, the southern
negro, formerly a docile tool, is demanding better pay, better food and
better treatment. And no longer can the South refuse to give it to him.
For when the South refuses the negro moves away. It’s a national problem
now, instead o f a sectional problem. And it has got to be solved.

The New York Globe1 said that:
For more than a year a migration o f men and women o f color to north­
ern States has been going on that has already deprived thousands of
southern farmers of cheap labor. And the movement bids fair to con­
tinue. That it will have both good and bad effects is obvious. It will
distribute the negro population more evenly throughout the States and thus
tend to diminish race friction. But unless there is a change o f spirit on
1 August 25. 1916.

2 July 31, 1916.



the part o f northern unions, it will increase the danger o f labor troubles
in case o f industrial depression.

The Pittsburgh Dispatch 1 held that the migration was help­
ing the negro. It was o f the opinion that:
This movement eastward and westward o f unskilled negro labor will
both directly and indirectly help the negro. The younger element, those
o f ambition and o f some training in the schools, will be constantly emerging
from unskilled to the semiskilled classes, with a consequent increase in
their pay rolls and a betterment in their methods o f living.
A decidedly better treatment o f the negro, both in the North and the
South, will grow out o f the fact that the demand for his labor has been
limited and the supply unlimited.

In the spring o f 1918 the Walla Walla, Washington, Bulletin2
summed up the situation thus:
There was much alarm a year or two ago over the migration o f negroes
to the North in large numbers. It was felt that they had far better stay
in the South, in a familiar and congenial environment, and keep on raising
cotton and food, than crowd into the inhospitable North for unaccustomed
factory work. W e have heard less o f that lately; it is still doubtful whether
the change is good for the negro himself, and there’s no question that his
coming has complicated housing conditions and social problems in northern
cities. But economically the matter appears in a new light. At a time
when war industries were starving for labor, the negro provided the labor.
He is recognized as a new industrial asset.
The migration has been unfortunate, to be sure, for the communities
thus deprived o f agricultural labor; but it is said that from a broad,
national standpoint the gain to the manufacturing industries more than
compensates. And there has been an actual increase in the output o f
energy. The negro works harder in the North. He produces more. He
is thus o f more use to the community. And for the benefit he brings,
communities are more willing than they were at first to tolerate the
inconvenience due to his coming.

Some o f the negro newspapers opposed the migration.
Prominent among these was the Journal and Guide o f Norfolk,
Virginia, and the Voice o f the People o f Birmingham, Alabama.
In speaking against the migration, the Journal and Guide * said:
* October 1, 1916.
2 March 13, 1918.
3 March 24, 1917.



It is difficult, if not impossible, to check the operation of an economic
law, and it is perfectly natural that men should seek fields o f labor in
which they are promised higher wages and better conditions, but those
who go and those who encourage the going of them should get the facts
of the so-called inducements and learn the truth about them before lending
their influence to a movement that can not only promise no permanent
good to laborers, but works untold injury to the foundation o f their own
economic structure.
Another phase o f the matter, and one that invites the condemnation o f
all honest persons, is the manner in which negro labor is at present ex­
ploited to satisfy the selfish whims o f a group o f misguided and ill-advised
agitators and fanatics on the race question. All o f the nice talk about
“ fleeing from southern oppression/* and going where “ equal rights and
social privileges * await them is pure buncombe. It is strange that negro
labor should stand the oppression o f the South for fifty years and sud­
denly make up its mind to move northward as an evidence o f its resentment.
The truth o f the matter is that the element o f negroes in the South
that feel the oppression most is not concerned in the migration movement.
Nor are they going to leave their homes and accumulations, o f half a cen­
tury as a solution of their problems. They are going to remain here
and fight out their constitutional rights accorded them here in the land o f
their birth.

The editor o f The Star o f Zion, Charlotte, North Carolina,1
conceded the right o f the negro to go wherever he had oppor­
tunity to g o ; on the other hand, it was doubtful whether a
wholesale exodus was for the best. He said:
While I concede the black man*s right to go where he likes, for he has
the right o f liberty and the pursuit o f happiness, yet I doubt the wisdom
of such wholesale exodus from the South. There are some things which
the negro needs far more than his wages, or some of the rights for which
he contends. He needs conservation o f his moral life.
In the North a negro is brought face to face with new problems; among
the many is the problem of adjusting himself to the abundance o f freedom
into which he comes so suddenly. His new freedom brings him new changes,
as well as new opportunities, for among the roses there lies the thorn. . . .
While the inducements o f the North are very alluring, in the end the negro
problem must be wrought out in the South.

Concerning the Journal and Guide’s position, the Raleigh,
North Carolina, Independent2 took issue and said:
Our disagreement with our estimable contemporary, the Norfolk Joumal
and Guide, we are persuaded, is far less real than seeming. Essentially we
1 July 19, 1917.
* April 28, 1917.



are in accord. W e are certain that the Journal and Guide is not advocating
the limitation o f the negro to any one section o f the country. If the exigen­
cies of the present war have created a demand for his labor in the North
at better wages than he can secure in the South like other people, he
should take advantage o f it and plant himself firmly in the industrial life
o f the section.
There are two ways by which we may improve our condition in this
country. The one is segregation—voluntary segregation. The other is
“ scatteration.” If we can come together, build up communities o f our
own, promote them into towns and even cities, we shall do well. If, on
the other hand, we shall scatter all over the land and have nowhere a
numerical congestion, we strengthen our cause.

The Dallas (T exas) Express' said:
The strangest thing, the real mystery about the exodus, is that in all the
Southland there has not been a single meeting or promoter to start the
migration. Just simultaneously all over the South about a year ago, the
negro began to cross the Mason and Dixon line. Indeed, this is a most
striking case where the negro has been doing a great deal more thinking
than talking, knowing he is not given the freedom o f speech. Who knows,
then, what the providence o f God is in this exodus. This exodus is not
by any means confined to the worthless or the ignorant negro. A large
per cent o f the young negroes in this exodus are rather intelligent. Many
o f the business houses in Houston, Dallas and Galveston, where the exodus
is greatest in Texas, have lost some o f their best help. T o tell the truth
more fully, the negroes generally throughout the South are more dissatis­
fied with conditions than they have been for several years and there are
just reasons why they should be. Every negro newspaper and publication
in this broad land, including pamphlets and books, and the intelligent negro
pastor with backbone and courage are constantly protesting against the
injustices done the negro. And possibly these agents have been the greatest
incentives to help create and crystallize this unrest and migration.

H ow the negro should be treated and what would hold him
in the South was discussed at length and on many occasions
in the columns o f the Atlanta (Georgia) Independent.1 An
example o f this discussion follow s:
Last week we discussed at length the negro exodus. W e tried to point
out in plain, simple and manly language the reason and remedy for moving
north. W e warned our white neighbors that city ordinances and legislation
could not stem the tide; that humane treatment would do more to settle
the negro's industrial and economic unrest than anything else; that the
1 August 11, 1917.
2 January 27, 1917.



South was his natural home and he desired to stay here; but in order^ to
keep him at home he must have contentment; he had to be assured o f
protection o f life and property; assured o f the enjoyment o f public utilities;
assured o f educational advantages, ample and adequate, to prepare his
children for useful and helpful citizenship; he must be permitted to serve
God unmolested and to assemble in the community where he lives, in
church, in society and politics; for his own moral, intellectual and physical
benefit he must be given living wages and reminded in his daily dealings
with his white neighbor that he is a citizen, not a negro, and that he is
charged with responsibilities like other citizens. The negro is conscious
o f his racial identity and not ashamed o f it. He is proud o f his race and
his color, but does not like to have the word “ negro ” define his relation
as a citizen. The white man should understand that the negro is making
progress; that he is getting property and education; that his wants are
increasing in common with the white man’s wants and that he is not
going to be bottled up or hemmed up in any community, so long as there
is another community on the face o f the earth where he can breathe freely
and enjoy the pursuits o f life, liberty and happiness in common with other

The Christian In dex1 the official organ o f the Colored Metho­
dist Episcopal Church, published at Jackson, Tennessee, was o f
the opinion that:
There are two sets o f causes for the negro leaving the South at this
time. One set may be known as the surface causes and the other set beneath the-surface causes. The surface causes are easily seen and understood
These are economic causes. The war in Europe has called home foreigners
out o f the industrial centers o f the North and West. These large factories
and other industrial enterprises, representing enormous investments, had to
turn in some other direction for labor. These large industrial opportunities
with higher wages made strong appeals to the southern negro.
The beneath-the-surface causes are to be found in the handicaps under
which the negro labors in the South and the uncivilized treatment to
which he is subjected. He is segregated. T o this he most strenuously
objects. There is a difference between segregation and separation, espe­
cially so in the southern interpretation o f segregation as observed in the
practice o f the South in its enforcement o f the idea. Separation in matters
social and religious is not necessarily objectionable. Left alone each race
group instinctively seeks separation from other race groups. But segrega­
tion, as we have it, means more than separation; it means inferiority and
humiliation. It means not only another section o f the city for the negro,
but a section that is inferior in improvement and protection; it means not
only a different school, but an inferior school both in building and equip­
ment; it means not only separate accommodations on the railroads, but
i June 24, 1917.



deplorably inferior accommodations; this, too, in the face o f the fact that
the negro pays the same price that is paid by others.
Another cause is the code o f laws, or rather the practice o f it, that
gives more concern to the color o f a man’s skin than to the merits o f a
case he may have in the courts o f justice. The negro is taught not to
expect justice in the courts, however industrious, honest, law abiding he
rtiay be, when his lawful rights to liberty and protection are contested by
a white man. The negro suffers in the courts, not always because he is
guilty, not because he lacks character, but because his skin, not his heart,
is black.

What was the attitude o f the northern negroes toward the
migration? W ith some exceptions, negroes north assumed a
friendly attitude toward the migrants. Many o f these residents
o f the North were themselves but recently come from the South.
The newcomers were looked upon as brethren, just coming into
the “ Promised Land.” They were welcomed in the churches
and otherwise made to feel at home. In some cities there were
organizations o f resident negroes to look after the. welfare o f
the new arrivals. In the northern race newspapers, the attitude
o f the negro north was fully set forth, as the following extracts
from the New York N ew s 1 indicate:
W e hail with no alarm whatever the influx o f colored men from the
South. The colored people o f the North will be strengthened by the
hard working, ambitious laborers added to their numbers. The laboring
conditions and life o f the masses of the colored people in the South will
be made better and brighter by their leaving.
Yet a heavy responsibility rests upon every colored leader, moral and
civic, in these northern States to take an especial interest in their newly
arriving brethren. You must teach them not to take their liberty to be
ladies and gentlemen for license to degrade themselves and their race
here. You must urge them to avoid the deadly vice and wasting extrava­
gance o f the unhealthy congested city. They should find their homes and
rear their families in the suburbs, where they can buy their own homes
and properly train their children in head, hand and heart. Urge them to
get steady work and settle down. Urge them to become good citizens
and better parents. Urge them to go to church, to lead patient Christian
lives and all will come out well in the end.

The Philadelphia Christian Recorder 2 took the ground that:
The negro is an American. He speaks the language o f the country
and is, therefore, superior to the foreigner in this respect.

1 September 17, 1916.
2 February 1, 1917.



2. He knows the customs of the country and here again has the advantage
o f the foreigner.
3. He is a peaceablej worker and is glad to have an opportunity to make
4. The negro is physically the equal and morally the superior o f the immi­
grant from Europe.
There are reasons why the negro should succeed in the North. So we
have no doubt that many will come.
Indeed, if a million negroes move north and west in the next twelve
months, it will be one o f the greatest things for the negro since the Eman­
cipation Proclamation. And the movement o f a million negroes should
not alarm anybody, especially when we remember that a million immigrants
were coming every year to this country before the war.
Let the good work go on. Let every community in the North organize
to get jobs for our friends in the South. Let a million come. In coming
the negroes will get higher wages.
They will get first class schools, running nine months a year—a thing
worth leaving the South for, if there were no other advantages.
They will have a chance in the courts. If they should happen to have
a difference with a white man, they will not take their lives in their own
hands by standing up for their side.
They will be able to defend their homes, their wives and children in a
way no negro can now protect them in the South.
They will have the right to vote. The foreigner must wait seven years
for this—the negro only one year. If a million negroes come north, they
will soon get sufficient political power, which combined with their economic
power will be able to force the South to do some things she is now
unwilling to do.
With labor competition for the negro between North and South with the
North offering higher wages, better living conditions, better education, pro­
tection and a vote, the South must bestir herself if she would keep the
best labor in the world. And southern statesmen will see that the South
must cease to lynch, begin to educate and finally restore the ballot.
“ But,” says an objector, “ these negroes coming north will increase
prejudice.” What if they do? Then the northern negro will sympathize
more with his southern brother. But if prejudice increases, the negro
has the ballot which is an effective way to combat it. If a million negroes
come here we will have more negro businesses, better churches, more pro­
fessional men and real political power, and the negro in the North will
begin to get a social position not based on mere charity.

What were the causes o f migration? A very large part o f
the discussion o f the movement was taken up with setting forth
the causes. The Montgomery Advertiser was o f the opinion
that the chief causes o f the negro’s leaving central Alabama were
floods and the cotton boll weevil:



The negro from middle Alabama is going north because o f economic
conditions which he can not help and which he can not overcome. He is
not being forced out by pressure from the white r^ce. The relations be­
tween the two races in this section were never better; the negro is not
subjected to oppression or or to any outbreaks o f violence, which have in­
duced the negro to leave certain sections o f the South.
The negro is going because he is the most unfortunate of the victims
o f the combined disaster this year o f the flood and the boll weevil. There
have been actual want and hunger among some o f the negroes on the planta­
tions. The heads o f negro families have been without present resources
and without future prospects. The wise planter and farmer has said to
his negro employes and tenants:
“ You have not made anything this year. I have not made anything this
year. But we will do our best and I will see what resources I can get
together to keep you until next year, when we can all make a fresh start.”
Another class o f farmers, and we suspect that their number is too large,
has said, “ You never made anything this year. I never made anything
this year. I can not afford to feed you and your family until the beginning
o f the next crop year. You must go out and shift lo r yourselves.”
This cold blooded business view o f the situation, we suspect, has been
the best assistance that the labor agent has received. It is not difficult
to know what a negro farm hand will do when he and his family are
facing hunger, when a labor agent offers him a railroad ticket and a
promise o f two dollars and a half a day in the industrial works o f the
North and East1

Lynching was one o f the reasons most often given as a cause
o f the migration.
Current dispatches from Albany, Georgia, in the center o f the section
apparently most affected, and where efforts are being made to stop the
exodus by spreading correct information among the negroes, say:
“ The heaviest migration o f negroes has been from those counties in
which there have been the worst outbreaks against negroes. It is developed
by investigation that where there have been lynchings, the negroes have
been most eager to believe what the emigration agents have told them of
plots for the removal or extermination o f the race. Comparatively few
negroes have left Dougherty county, which is considered significant in view
o f the fact that this is one o f the counties in southwest Georgia in which
a lynching has never occurred.”
These statements are most significant. Mob law we have known in
Georgia has furnished emigration agents with all the leverage they want;
it is a foundation upon which it is easy to build with a well conducted
lie or two, and they have not been slow to take advantage o f it
This loss o f her best labor is another penalty Georgia is paying for
her indifference and inactivity in suppressing mob law.
1 The Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama, December 12, 1916.



If Georgia is injured, agriculturally and industrially by the negro exodus,
the white people here have no one to blame but themselves.
The indictment is true, every word of it. The appeal to humanity, to
fairness and justice and right, has been apparently without effect. It is
unfortunate for the people o f Georgia that an appeal to the pocketbook
should be necessary to bring back the enthronement o f law, but if moral
suasion is powerless, the question of personal interest has entered and
in no uncertain degree.
The trouble incident to the migration of negroes from Georgia and the
South is exactly as stated.
There is no secret about what must be done, if Georgia would save herself
from threatened disaster, which, in some sections, has already become
In the first place, there must be no more mobs. Mobs and mob spirit
must be eliminated completely, so completely that there will be no danger
of recurrence. If a negro be charged with a crime, even if it be known
that he is guilty, he must be given the same fair treatment before the law
that is accorded the white man. If anything, it would seem that ignorance
and childishness demand even more consideration than the crime which
lacks that excuse.
But more than that, we must be fair to the negro. There is no use
in beating about the bush; we have not shown that fairness in the past,
nor are we showing it today, either in justice before the law, in facilities
accorded for education or in other directions. Argue it as you will, these
things which we have not done are the things which we must do, or
Georgia will suffer for it in proportion as she fails.1

In connection with lynchings there was the general fear o f
mob violence. This fear was taken advantage o f by labor agents,
as the following indicates:
W e are astonished, too, to learn that one o f the reasons for this unrest
among the negroes who were born and reared here is fear that all negroes
are to be run out of Georgia. This idea, o f course, has been planted in
the minds of the simple minded o f the race by the crafty and unscrupulous
labor agents who have operated in almost every section o f the State.
The negroes have this idea from the fact that there are localities in
the State right now where a negro can not live. And we do not know o f
anybody that is doing anything to change this condition.
Labor agents are doing their best to put the fear into the hearts o f the
negroes in this State that they are going to be run out by the white
people, some of them even fixing the time as next June; but this work
began long before the negro exodus north was thought of. The example
of one county in north Georgia, which ran every negro out, was fol­
lowed by other counties adjoining, and the general public has little idea
1 Atlanta Constitution, December 10, 1916.

16 8


how widespread the contagion became— for lawlessness is nearly always
If Georgia is injured, agriculturally and industrially, by the negro exodus,
the white people here have no one to blame but themselves. They have
allowed negroes to be lynched, five at a time, on nothing stronger than
suspicion; they have allowed whole sections to be depopulated o f them;
they have allowed them to be whitecapped and whipped, and their homes
burned, with only the weakest and most spasmodic efforts to apprehend
or punish those guilty—when any efforts were made at all.
Has not the negro been given the strongest proof that he has no assured
right to live, to own property nor to expect justice in Georgia?
When the negro is gone, his loss will be felt in every large agricultural
section and every industrial community o f the South. For the average
white man can not do the heavier work at the sawmills, naval stores plants
and in many lines o f manufacture, that is now being done by the negro.
As a consequence, these plants and many large plantations must stand idle
or import a class o f white labor that will be a great deal worse than the
black. Confronted with cheap white labor, and white men o f a race o f
which they have no understanding—then will the South have its labor
But at present, it seems, little can be done. Unless southern white people
who have their all invested in agriculture or manufacturing take care o f
their own interest by seeing that the negro gets justice when suspected
and a fair trial when accused, and assured that so long as he behaves he
will be guaranteed safety o f life and property, it is perhaps as well to let
the negro go. It will mean an industrial revolution for the South, but the
present condition o f affairs has become intolerable.1

The negroes o f the South used both the white and negro
newspapers o f that section in carrying on the discussion o f
the migration movement. The substance o f what the negroes
said through the press was that, first o f all, the negroes wanted
to stay in the South and were going north not only because
there they could secure better wages than were generally paid
in the South, but also because they would, in the North, get
protection and have privileges not accorded in the South. Con­
cerning the negro wanting to stay in the South, it was pointed
out that in the South he did have economic opportunity and
received encouragement. “ The truth is that the negroes who
are leaving the South in large numbers, and others who are
thinking o f going, do not want to go. They prefer to remain
here/’ 2
1 Georgia Gazette, reprint from Atlanta Constitution, December 10, 1916.
2 A ge Herald, Birmingham, Alabama, September 25, 1916.



It was pointed out that the passing o f stringent labor laws
would not stop the exodus. The negro could not be kept in the
South by force.
Various communities [said a negro] are passing stringent laws with
the view o f making the business o f agents either impracticable or impos­
sible. This will ultimately have the very opposite effect of what was
intended. I am a negro and know the deeper thoughts and feelings o f
my own people. I know their yearnings and the religious zeal with which
they look forward to the future for better days, and to other climes than
this for better conditions.
Now to pass severe laws to block this movement will not only be a waste
o f time, but the most unwise way o f dealing with the problem. The problem
can not be solved from the angle o f force.
In order for the negro to be kept in the South he must be made to see,
to feel, that on the whole it will be better for him to remain in the South
than to migrate to the North. Stop lynching. Teach us to love the South
and be contented here by ceasing to abridge us in such extremes in com­
mon rights and citizenship.
Another method of helping to keep the negro in the South is for the
better class o f whites to get hold o f the negroes. In a word, there should
be cooperation between the races. The negroes should be given better
schools and the whites shojuld set before the negroes better examples of
law and order. The North is offering better homes, better schools and
justice before the law. The South can do the same.

“ One o f our grievances,” said a negro correspondent o f the
Chattanooga Times* “ is that in colored localities we have very
bad streets, no lights, no sewerage system, and sanitary condi-.
tions are necessarily bad. Give the negro the right kind of a
show, living wages, consider him as a man, and he will be
contented to remain here.”
A good presentation o f the negroes’ side o f the case is given
in the following letter from a negro minister to the Montgomery
Advertiser? He wrote:
Why should the South raise such objections to the jobless man seeking
the manless job, especially when it has held that jobless man up to the
ridicule o f the world as trifling, shiftless and such a burden to the South?
Now the opportunity has come to the negro to relieve the South o f some
of its burden, and at the same time advance his own interests, a great hue
and cry is started that it must not be allowed, and the usual and foolish
method o f repressive legislation is brought into play.1
1 Weldon Victor Jenkins, in Chattanooga Times, October 10, 1916.
2 The Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama, October 7, 1916.



Addressing the editor o f the Advertiser, another negro cor­
respondent said:
I have read with profound interest the many articles published in your
paper upon the great negro exodus from the South.
The negro has remained in the South almost as a solid mass since his
emancipation. This in itself shows that he loves the South, and if he is
now migrating to the East, North and West by the hundreds and thousands,
there must be a cause for it. W e should do our best to find out these
causes and at least suggest the remedy.
The time has come for plain speaking on the part o f all. It will do us
no good to try to hide the facts, because “ truth crushed to earth will rise
again.” In the first place, the negro in this country is oppressed. This
oppression is greatest where the negro population is greatest. The negro
population happens to be greater in the South than in the North, there­
fore, he is more oppressed in the South than in the North.
Take the counties in our State. Some are known as white counties
and others as black counties. In the white counties the negro is given
better educational opportunities than in the black counties. I have in
mind one Black Belt county where the white child is given $15 per year
for his education and the negro child only 30 cents a year. See the
late Booker T. Washington’s article, “ Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?”
Now these facts are generally known throughout this State by both white
and black. And we all know that it is unjust. It is oppression.
This oppression shows itself in many ways. Take for example the
railroads running through the rural sections o f the South. There are
many flag stations where hundreds o f our people get off and on the train.
The railroads have little stops at the platform about six feet square; only
one coach stops at this point; the negro women, girls and boys are com­
pelled to get off and on the train sometimes in water and in the ditches
because there are no provisions made for them otherwise.
Again take the matter o f the franchise. W e all agree that ignorant
negroes should not be intrusted with this power, but we all feel that where
a negro has been smart and industrious in getting an education and property
and pays his taxes, he should be represented. Taxation without representa
tion is just as unjust today as it was in 1776. It is just as unfair for the
negro as it is to the white man, and we all, both white and black, know
this. W e may shut our eyes to this great truth, as sometimes we do, but
it is unjust just the same.
Take the matter o f the courts. There is no justice unless the negro has
a case against another negro. When he has a case against a white man,
you can tell what the decision will be just as soon as you know the nature
o f the case, unless some strong white man will come to the negro’s rescue.
This, too, is generally known and the negro does not expect justice.
As yet, there has been no concerted action on the part o f the white people
to stop mob violence. I know a few plantations, however, where the owners
will not allow their negroes to be arrested without the officer first consult­
ing them, and these negroes idolize these white men as gods, and so far



not one o f these negroes has gone north. I repeat there are outcroppings
o f these oppressions everywhere in this country, but they show themselves
most where the negroes are in the largest numbers. But all o f this the
negro is perfectly willing to endure, and they all may be classed as the
secondary cause o f this great exodus.
The primary cause is economic. The storms and floods o f last July
and August destroyed practically all crops in a large part of the South,
and especially in the Black Belt section. These people are hungry, they
are naked, they have no corn and had no cotton, so they are without food
and clothes. What else can they do but go away in search o f work?
There are a great many wealthy white men here and there throughout
the Black Belt section. They have large plantations which need the ditches
cleared and new ones made to properly drain their farms. They could
have given work to these destitute people; but what have they done?
Nothing. They say that it is a pity for the negro to go away in such
large numbers, and so it is, but that will not stop them. They have it
in their power to stop them by making the negro’s economic condition better
Thus far the average white man o f the South has been interested in
the negro from a selfish point o f view; he must now become interested
in him from a humanitarian point o f view. He must be interested in his
educational, moral and religious welfare. W e know that we have many
ignorant, vicious and criminal negroes which are a disgrace to any people,
but they are ignorant because they have not had a chance. Why, I know
one county in this State today with 10,000 negro children o f school age,
and only 4,000 o f these are in school, according to the report o f the Super­
intendent o f Education. We can not expect ignorant people to act like
intelligent ones, and no amount o f abuse will make them better.
Sometimes we hear it said that the white man o f the South knows the
negro better than anybody else, but the average white man o f the South
only knows the ignorant, vicious and criminal negro better than anybody
else. He knows little o f the best class o f negroes. I am glad to say,
however, that there are a few southern white men who know the better
class, and know them intimately, and are doing what they can to better
the negro’s condition. I would to God that the number o f these few could
be increased a hundredfold.1

R. R. Wright, President o f the Georgia State Industrial Col­
lege for Negroes, in a discussion o f the causes o f the migration
movement stated that it is undoubtedly true that the high
wages offered is the main cause. There are other aiding causes,
however, for this movement besides low wages.
Naturally the negro is peculiarly adapted to a southern cli­
1 W . J. Edwards, Principal o f Snow Hill Normal and Industrial Institute
(C olored), Snow Hill, Alabama, in the Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama,
January 27, 1917.



mate and prefers to remain in the South. He has made his best
progress in the South. There are nearly a million negro farm
operators and most o f them are in the South. The total acreage
o f their farms is 42,279,510: valued at $1,141,792,526. In
the value o f farms operated there was an increase o f 128.5 per
cent, during the last census decade, while the value o f farm
property operated by white farmers for the same time increased
only 99.6 per cent. The negro is prospering in the South. Now
this and other facts constitute for the negro a strong tie to
the southern soil.
This tie should not be broken lightly. The negro does not want to leave
the South. The only thing to break this tie is unfair and cruel treatment
o f the negro on the part o f the white man. In this connection our white
friends should know that not only in the lynchings, and in the courts
and in the unwholesome conditions on the southern railway common carriers
(as vital as these are), but that in the general attitude o f many o f our
southern white people, there is exhibited a contempt for the negro which
makes the best o f the negroes feel that they are only tolerated in the
South. And yet in their individual relations there is no better friend to the
negro in the world than the southern white man. In the face o f our
friends it is hard to explain this discounting and this contemptuous attitude,
and yet everybody understands that it exists. “ You are only a negro
and are not entitled to the courteous treatment accorded to members o f
other races.” Another cause is the feeling o f insecurity. The lack o f
legal protection in the country is a constant nightmare to the colored
people who are trying to accumulate a comfortable little home and farm.
There is scarcely a negro mother in the country who does not live in
dread and fear that her husband or son may come in unfriendly contact
with some white person so as to bring the lynchers or the arresting officers
to her door, which may result in the wiping out o f her entire family. It
must be acknowledged that this is a sad condition.
The southern white man ought to be willing to give the negro a man’s
chance without regard to his race or color; give him at least the same
protection o f law given to any one else. If he will not do this, the negro
must seek those north or west who will give him better wages and better

One o f the most thoughtful discussions o f the causes o f
migration was by W . T. Andrews, a negro lawyer and editor,
formerly o f Sumter, South Carolina. In an address before the
1917 South Carolina Race Conference he said:
1Reprinted from the Morning News, Savannah, Georgia, January 3, 1917.



In my view the chief causes o f negro unrest and disturbance are as
follows: the destruction o f his political privileges and curtailment o f his
civil rights; no protection o f life, liberty and property under the law;
Jim Crow car; residential and labor segregation laws; no educational
facilities worthy of the name in most o f the southern States. These, I
believe, are the most potent causes which are now impelling the southern
negro to seek employment and find homes in northern and western sections
o f the country.
In South Carolina, and I believe it is equally true o f every southern
State, except those classed as “ border States,” statute after statute has
been passed to curtail the rights o f the negro, but in not a single instance
can a law be pointed to which was enacted for the purpose .of enlarging
his opportunity, surrounding himself and his family with the protection
o f the law, or for the betterment o f his condition. On the contrary every
law passed relating to the negro has been passed with the intent o f con­
trolling his labor and drawing his circle o f freedom into smaller and smaller
In the rural districts the negro is not only at the mercy o f the lawless
white individual citizen, but equally at the mercy o f the rural police, the
constables and magistrates. There is hardly a record in modern history
o f greater oppression by judicial officers than that dealt to the negroes by
a large majority o f the magistrates and other officials who preside over
the inferior courts o f South Carolina.
In towns and cities, as a rule, mayors’ and recorders’ courts are mills
for grinding out negro convicts; negroes charged with petty offenses are
brought into these courts, convicted and sentenced with lightning speed,
before they even realize that they are on trial unless they are able to hire
attorneys, whose fees often equal the fine that would be imposed. They
are beaten at will by arresting officers, frequently shot and many killed
if attempt is made to escape by running away from the officer, and for
any such shooting, officers are seldom put to the inconvenience of trial,
even if the victim die.
In tragic truth it must be confessed that there is in the South—South
Carolina, more certainly—no protection for the life or person o f any negro
of whatever standing, sex, age, against the intent o f the bloody-minded
white man.
The negro does not ask for special privileges or social legislation in his
behalf. He does not ask to be measured by any standard less than
the white man’s standard, but he insists that the same test shall apply to
all men of all races. He refuses to accept the declaration o f men who claim
to be earthly agents and representatives o f the Almighty, the interpreters
o f His will and laws, and who solemnly assert that the God o f the Chris­
tian ordained and decreed the negro race to be in slavery or semislavery
to the white race.
The negro believes that the world is built on a moral foundation with
justice as its basic rock. He believes that the Almighty is just, merciful
and benevolent, and that He included all men in His plan o f human devel­
opment and reaching out for protection.



He asks only for justice. Nothing less than justice will stay the movement o f negroes from the South. Its continued refusal will drive in the
next two years a third or mqre o f its negro population to other portions
o f the country.1
1 From an address by W . T. Andrews at the South Carolina Race Con­
ference, Columbia, South Carolina, February 8, 1917.

Books and Periodicals
A Century o f Negro Migration. C. G. Woodson, Washington, 1918.
The Negro Migrant in Pittsburgh. Abraham Epstein, Pittsburgh, 1918.
Negro Newcomers in Detroit. G. E. Haynes, New York, 1918.
The Migration of a Race, 1916-1917, Annual Report o f National League on
Urban Conditions among Negroes.
The 1917 Report o f the Chicago Branch o f the National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes.
Negro Migration: What Does It Mean? Gilbert N. Brink (pamphlet issued
by American Baptist Home Mission Society, New Y ork).
Negro Migration. New Republic, January 1, 1916.
How the War Brings Unprophesied Opportunities to the Negro Race. Cur­
rent Opinion, December, 1916.
Negro Moving North. Literary Digest, October 7, 1916.
Cotton Pickers in Northern Cities. H. B. Pendleton, Survey, February 17,
Exodus in America. Living Age, October 6, 1917.
Lure of the North for Negroes. Survey, April 7, 1917.
Negroes Come North. K. Moses, Forum, August, 1917.
Negroes Go North. R. S. Baker, W orlds Work, July, 1917.
Negro Migration. P. H. Stone, Outlook, August 1, 1917.
Negro Migration as the South Sees Tt. Survey, August 11, 1917.
Passing o f the Jim Crow. W . E. B. DuBois, Independent, July 14, 1917.
Reasons Why Negroes Go North. Survey, June 2, 1917.
South Calling Negroes Back. Literary Digest, June 23, 1917.
Southern Negroes Moving North. World's Work, June, 1917.
Welcoming Southern Negroes; East St. Louis and Detroit a Contrast.
F. B. Washington, Survey, July 14, 1917.
When Labor Is Cheap. B. M. Edens, Survey, September 8, 1917.
Interstate Migration. W. O. Scroggs, Journal Political Economy, December,
Negroes Move North. G. E. Haynes, Survey, May 4, 1918.
Negroes a Source o f Industrial Labor. D. T. Farnham, Industrial Manage­
ment, August, 1918.
Negro Welfare Workers in Pittsburgh. Survey, August 3, 1918.
Negroes and Organized Labor. Survey, February 9, 1918.
Negro and the New Economic Conditions. R. R. Moton, Proceedings
National Conference o f Social Workers, 1917.
Migration o f Negroes into Northern Cities. G. E. Haynes, National Con­
ference o f Social Workers, 1917.
Progress o f W ork for the Assimilation o f Negro Immigrants in Northern
Cities. F. B. Washington, National Conference o f Social Workers, 1917.
Negro Migration. Ralph W . Tyler, Pearsons, November, 1917.
Southern Labor as Affected by the War and Migration. Monroe N. Work,
Proceedings of Southern Sociological Congress, 1918.
The Duty o f Southern Labor during the War. R. R. Moton, Proceedings
Southern Sociological Congress, 1918.
The Foundation (Atlanta), May-June, 1917. *




A. M. E. Church Review (Philadelphia), January, 1917; April, 1918.
Voice o f Missions (New York City), June, 1917.
Causes o f Migration from the South. W. T. Andrews, Address at Race
Conference, Columbia (S. C .), February 8, 1917. Specially printed.
The Massacre o f East St. Louis. Martha Gruening and W. E. B. DuBois,
The Crisis, September, 1917.
The Crists, October, 1916, page 276; June, 1917, pages 63, 65.
The Nation, September 6; December 7, 1916.
The Problem of the Negro Laborer. Iron Trade Review, April 12, 1917.
Negro Migration Ebbs. Iron Trade Rewew, December 13, 1917.
Proceedings o f Annual Convention o f Federation of Labor, 1916, 1917, 1918.

(References for 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918)*
Akron (O hio) Press, July 12, 1917.
Albany (N . Y .) Argus, Nov. 12, 1916.
Albany (N . Y .) Journal, August 6, 1917.
Albany (N . Y .) Knickerbocker Press, Dec. 21, 1916; Mar. 11, 26, 1917.
Amsterdam (New York City) News, May 28, June 18, 1915; Apr. 17,
July 14, Aug. 18, Oct. 1, Dec. 13, 1916; Jan. 24, Aug. 1, 1917 ; Apr. 10,
May 1, June 5, July 10, 24, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, 1918.
Artisan (Jacksonville, Fla.), Aug. 5, 1916.
Ashland (O hio) Press, Aug. 22, 1917.
Asheville (N . C.) Citizen, July 11, 1917.
Atlanta Constitution, Aug. 23, 28, 1915; Sept. 13, 23, Oct. 10, 16, 18, 22, 24,
Nov. 1, 4, 24, 26, 28, Dec. 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 13, 21, 29, 1916; Jan. 8, 10, Mar. 10,
26, 31, May 14, 23, 26, 27, 29-31, June 5, 6, 11, 16, July 7, 13-15, Aug. 13,
30, Sept 1, Oct. 24-26, Nov. 11, 21, 1917; Feb. 27, Mar. 2, Apr. 2, 4-6,
9, 17, 20, 24, 25, May 2, 7, 10, 21, 26, 27, June 2, 7, 8, 18, 22, 29,
July 10, 15, 16, 18, 19, 25, 27, 28, Aug. 2-4, 10, 15, 19, 21, 25, 26, 30,
Sept. 1, 21, 1918.
Atlanta (Ga.) Independent, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 1916; Feb. 24, Mar. 31, May 9,
19, 26, June 30, July 21, 1917; Mar. 22, July 20, 27, Aug. 3, 17, 31, 1918.
Atlanta (Ga.) Journal, Oct. 8, 1917, Mar. 28, 1918.
Atlanta (Ga.) Post, June 26, Aug. 9, 1917.
Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, Feb. 18, 19, Dec. 9, 1917; Mar. 29, 1918.
Aurora (111.) News, Feb. 7, 1918.
Baltimore Afro-American, Jan. 26, Sept. 29, 1917; Apr. 19, May 24, June 21,
Baltimore American, Nov. 17, 1916; Aug. 9, 1918.
Baltimore News, Aug. 13, 1915; Nov. 17, 1916; Apr. 3, 1918.
Baltimore Sun, Mar. 1, 1915; Sept. 21, Nov. 1, 20, 1916; Apr. 1, Aug. 13,
1917; Mar. 13, 1918.
Bath (M e.) Times, July 31, 1917.
Beaumont (T ex .) Enterprise, Sept. 2, 1917; June 20, 1918.
Beaumont (T ex .) Journal, June 24, 1917.
Beloit (W is.) News, Aug. 25, 1916; Apr. 24, 1918.
Birmingham (A la.) Age-Herald, Mar. 20, Sept. 25, Nov. 9, Dec. 2, 1916;
Mar. 21, Apr. 2, Dec. 24, 1917.
Birmingham (A la.) Ledger, May 3, 21, 24, 31, July 31, Sept. 27, 1917;
Apr. 23, 1918.
Birmingham (A la.) News, Aug. 31, 1917; June 21, 1918.
1 The newspaper discussion o f the migration had its beginning in 1915
in statements about the conditions o f negro labor in the South and the
outlook for it in the North. The discussion was continued in the 1918 news­



Birmingham (Ala.) Reporter, July 28, 1917; Aug. 10, 17, Sept. 28, Oct. 5,
Boston Christian Science Monitor, May 24, 1916; Jan. 4, July 10, 27, Sept. 25,
1917; Jan. 28, 1918.
Boston Globe, Mar. 23, 1917; Mar. 30, 1918.
Boston Guardian, May 6, Aug. 22, 27, Oct. 10, 1916; Feb. 3, June 16,
Aug. 4, 25, Oct. 6, 1917.
Boston Herald, Mar. 23, July 5, Sept. 13, 1917.
Boston Post, Feb. 26, 1917.
Boston Transcript, July 13, Dec. 15, 1916; Mar. 10, 31, Apr. 3, July 3, 7, 1917.
Bridgeport (Conn.) Farmer, Jan. 8, 1917.
Bridgeport (Conn.) Post, Oct. 7, Nov. 21, 1916; June 24, 1917; Jan. 24, 1918.
Bristol (V a.) Courier, July 29, 1917.
Bronx (N. Y .) Record and Times, Oct. 20, 1917.
Brooklyn Eagle, Aug. 10, 1917; Mar. 28, May 12, 21, July 25, Oct. 6, 1918.
Brunswick (Ga.) Banner, Oct. 10, 1917.
Buffalo (N. Y .) Courier, Sept. 16, 1917.
Buffalo (N. Y .) Express, Apr. 14, Oct. 23, Nov. 17, Dec. 7, 1916; June 15,
1917; Apr. 2, 1918. .
Buffalo (N . Y .) News, Jan. 1, Aug. 31, 1917; June 18,1918.
Buffalo (N. Y .) Times, Dec. 7, 1916; Nov. 20, 1917.
Burlington (V t.) Free Press, Oct. 14, 1916.
Camden (N . J.) Courier, Apr. 30, 1918.
Charleston (S. C.) News and Courier, Oct. 26, Nov. 6, Dec. 18, 20, 1916;
Jan. 2, Feb. 1, 23, Mar. 14, 1917.
Charlotte (N . C.) News, Mar. 11, 1918.
Charlotte (N. C.) Observer, July 17, Sept. 2, 1917; Mar. 28, Apr. 13, May 23,
June 21, Sept. 21, 1918.
Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times, Dec. 15, 1916; Dec. 7, 1917.
Chester (S. C.) News, Aug. 13, 1918.
Chicago American, Nov. 20, 1916.
Chicago Defender, Mar. 16, 23, 30, Apr. 5, 27, 1915; every issue for 1916;
every issue for 1917; almost every issue to Oct., 1918.
Chicago Examiner, Oct. 9, 1916; Mar. 30, July 19, 1917.
Chicago Herald, Oct. 13, 1916; Mar. 4, 19, July 3, 5, Oct. 10, Nov. 17, 1917.
Chicago Idea, June 30, 1917.
Chicago Journal, May 30, July 19, 1918.
Chicago News, Dec. 11, 13, 1916; Jan. 13, Mar. 20, 30, Apr. 21, July 31,
Sept. 14, 1917; Jan. 15, Apr. 29, July 13, Aug. 7, 1918.
Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1916; June 9, July 8, 10, 26, Sept. 14, Oct. 27,
1917; February 13, 1918.
Christian Century (Chicago), July 25, 1918.
Christian Index (Jackson, Tenn.), June 21, July 19, Oct. 18, 1917; Feb. 21,
Aug. 8, 1918.
Christian Recorder (Philadelphia), Aug. 3, 17, Sept. 14, Oct. 26, Nov. 9, 15,
Dec. 21, 1916; Jan. 4, Feb. 1, Mar. 10, June 7 (special edition), Aug. 2,
Sept. 20, 27, 1917; Jan. 24, Mar. 28, Apr. 11, 25, May 9, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 22,
Sept. 19, 1918.
Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, Aug. 5, 10, Dec. 5, 1917; June 11, 1918.
Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 23, Oct. 30, 1916; Feb. 28, Mar. 26, Sept. 8, 12,
1917; July 31, 1918.
Cincinnati Post, Oct. 5, 1917.
Cincinnati Star, Sept. 12, 1917.
Cincinnati Union, Sept. 15, 1917.
Cleveland Advocate, Oct. 5, Sept. 14, 1915: Aug. 10, Nov. 11, 1917; Mar. 30,
June 8, July 4, 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 1918.
Cleveland Leader, June 7, Dec. 8, 1916; July 10, 1917.
Cleveland News, Aug. 11, 1917.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Oct. 19, 1916; Aug. 4, Sept. 12, Oct. 25, Dec. 6,
1917; Feb. 14, 1918.



Cleveland Press, Apr. 18, O ct 25, 1917.
Columbia (S. C.) State, O ct 2, 3, 7, 19, 23, Nov. 1, 15, Dec. 17, 22, 1916;
Jan. 8, Feb. 2, Mar. 2, July 15, O ct 20, Dec. 10, 1917; Mar 10, 1918.
Columbus (O hio) Citizen, July 7, Aug. 7, Sept. 24, 1917.
Columbus (O hio) Dispatch, July 8, Aug. 1, 20, Sept 3, 20, 1917; May 8,
June 30, 1918.
Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer-Sun, Nov. 21, Dec. 2, 17, 1916.
Columbus (O hio) State Journal, Aug. 2, 21, 22, O ct 10, Nov. 8, 1917;
Aug. 6, 1918.
Cumberland (M d.) Times, July 7, 1917; Apr. 9, 1918.
Dallas (T ex .) Baptist Standard, Aug. 17, 1916.
Dallas (T ex .) Democrat, July 28, 1917.
Dallas (T ex.) Express, July 14, 21, Aug. 11, 25, 1917; July 20, 1918.
Dallas (T ex.) Journal, May 10, June 7, Sept 24, 1918.
Dallas (T ex .) New Era, June 14, 1917.
Dallas (T ex .) News, Aug. 1, 1917; May 14, 16, 1918.
Dayton (O hio) News, July 7, 30, Aug. 1, 1917; May 7, 1918.
Deep River (Conn.) Era, Nov. 9, 1918.*
Denver (CoL) Star, July 28, 1917.
Detroit Free Press, June 18, Nov. 6, Oct. 23, 1916; Sept 7, 1917; Mar. 23,
Apr. 27, Sept. 28, 1918.
Detroit Journal, Nov. 15, 1916; June 20, Aug. 6, 1917.
Detroit News, Aug. 12, 1916; O ct 21, 1917; Apr. 2, 7, May 19, 25, Sept 13,
16, 1918.
Detroit News Tribune, Aug. 12, Nov. 19, 1916.
Detroit Times, Apr. 12, 20, June 29, 1918.
Dublin (Ga.) Herald, July 26, 1917.
Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, O ct 9, Nov. 9, 1916.
Elizabeth City (N . C.) Independent Nov. 30, 1917.
Elmira (N . Y .) Advertiser, Feb. 9, 1917.
Evansville (Ind.) Courier, June 21, 1917.
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal-Gazette, Oct. 22, 1916; Oct. 11, 1917; Aug. 22,
Forth Worth (T ex.) Star-Telegram, O ct 16, 1917.
Fort Worth (T ex .) Record, Oct. 6, 1916; Mar. 27, July 22, Nov. 3, 1917;
May 4, Aug. 11, Sept. 22, 1918.
Galveston (T ex .) News, July 11, Aug. 3, 12, 17, 1917; Jan. 6, Sept. 20,
Grand Rapids (M ich.) Press, Sept. 10, 1917.
Greenville (S. C.) News, Apr. 3, 1$16; Mar. 29, June 18, Sept. 10, 1917.
Hackensack (N . J.) Record, Apr. 4, 1917.
Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot, July 7, 1917.
Hartford (Conn.) Courant, Aug. 7, Dec. 18, 1916; Feb. 15, Sept. 19, 1917;
Feb. 22, 25, Mar. 17, 1918.
Hartford (Conn.) Post, Mar. 17, Sept. 15, 18, Oct. 9, 15, 17, 18, 1917.
Hartford (Conn.) Times, Jan. 11, July 12, Oct. 9, 1917; Apr. 23, May 24,
Henderson (K y.) Gleaner, Aug. 24, 1916.
Hoboken (N . J.) Observer, Oct. 18, 1917.
Hotel Gazette (New York City), Oct. 20, 1917; July 13, 20, 1918.
Houston (T ex .) Chronicle, July 22, 1917.
Houston (T ex .) Observer, Oct. 21, 1916; July 7, Oct. 27, 1917; May 18,
21, June 8, Aug. 3, 17, 1918.
Houston (T ex .) Post, files for 1916; files for 1917; June 20, July 29,
Aug. 31, 1918.
Houston (T e x .) Press, Aug. 14, 1917.
Holyoke (Mass.) Transcript, July 10, 28, 1917.
Indianapolis Freeman, Nov. 26, Dec. 9, 1916; Jan. 6, 13, Mar. 31, June 2,
Oct. 13, 27, 1917; Feb. 9, Mar. 2, May 25, June 6, 29, July 26, 1918.
Indianapolis Ledger, July 16, Sept. 9, 1916; June 9, 1917.



Indianapolis News, Nov. 9, 1915; Nov. 16, 22, 24, Dec. 8, 1916; Jan. 23,
1917; June 7, July 24, 31, 1918.
Indianapolis Star, Sept. 21, 1918.
Indianapolis World, Dec. 9, 1916.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Metropolis, Dec. 22, 1916.
Jacksonville (Fla.) Times Union, Aug. 14, Nov. 10, Dec. 22, 1916; Jan. 20,
1917; Apr. 4, 1918.
Jackson (Miss.) News, June 12, Nov. 11, 1917; May 7, 1918.
Jersey City (N. J.) Journal, June 30, Oct. 10, 18, 1917; July 19, 1918.
Johnstown (Pa.) Democrat, Nov. 2, 1916.
Kansas City (Kan.) Globe, Aug. 25, 1917.
Kansas City (M o.) Star, Aug. 17, 1916; Mar. 11, 1917; Mar. 9, 1918.
Kansas City (M o.) Sun, Aug. 11, Sept. 8, 1917.
Kansas City (M o.) Times, Apr. 6, 1918.
Knoxville (Tenn.) Journal-Tribune, Aug. 3, Sept. 23, 1916.
Lancaster (Pa.) Labor Leader, Sept. 1, 1917.
Louisville Courier Journal, July 18, Dec. 5, 1916; Mar. 28, 1917; Aug. 4, 5,
7, 1918.
Louisville News, Sept. 9, 1916; Sept. 15, 22, 1917; Feb. 23, Mar. 9, June 1,
July 6, 1918.
Louisville Times, Sept. 29, 1916; Aug. 6, 14, 16, Sept. 11, 1918.
Macon (Ga.) News, Feb. 14, Apr. 30, May 5, Aug. 27, Sept. 1, 29, 1918.
Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, Sept. 5, Oct. 10, 1916; Feb. 18, Mar. 18, June 14,
Nov. 21, 1917; Jan. 28, Aug. 7, 17, Sept. 3. 22, 1918.
Manufacturers Record (Baltimore), June 29, 1916.
Marietta (O hio) Leader, Aug. 7, 1917.
Mason City (Iow a) Globe-Gazette, Oct. 24, 1917.
Memphis Commercial Appeal, Aug. 20, Oct. 5, 24, 1916; Sept. 9, 1917;
Jan. 5, Apr. 6, May 1, 9, 27, 1918.
Memphis Press, July 5, 1917; Apr. 4, Sept. 20, 1918.
Meridian (Miss.) Dispatch, June 25, 1918.
Meridian (Miss.) Star, Jan. 4, Aug. 7, 1917.
Michigan Tradesman (Grand Rapids), Dec. 12, 1917.
Milwaukee (W is.) Journal, Jan. 11, 1917; May 30, 1918.
Milwaukee (W is.) Leader, July 13, 1917; Mar. 29, 1918.
Milwaukee (W is.) Sentinel, Sept. 22, 1916; July 27, Oct. 5, 1917.
Milwaukee (W is.) Wisconsin, Oct. 3, 1916.
Minneapolis (Minn.) Journal, July 12, 1917; June 11. 12, 13, 14, 1918.
Mobile (Ala.) Register, Jan. 4, Aug. 19, 1917; Apr. 27, 1918.
Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, Jan. 5, 1915; Mar. 5, 17, Aug. 5, 9, 20, 23, 24,
Sept. 10, 15, 17, 19-21, 24, 27, 29, Oct. 4, 16, 25, 29, Nov. 5, 7, 8, 22,
Dec. 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 21, 27, 31, 1916: Jan. 6, 9, 13. 16, 23, 25, 27,
Feb. 1, 7, 14, Mar. 2, Apr. 22, May 5, 12, 21, 24, 30, 31, June 1, 2, 6, 11,
Sept. 26, Oct. 1, 1917; Jan. 20, Feb. 3, 8, 10, 18, Apr. 23-26, 29, May 2,
4, 6, 27, June 2, 3, 6, 18, 27, 29, July 5, 26, 31, Aug. 1-3, 10, 11, 23, 2?,
Sept. 4, 13, 1918.
Nashville (Tenn.) Banner, Aug. 31, Nov. 4, 14, 17, 1916; Mar. 1, 28, Oct. 7,
Nov. 25, 1917; June 15, 1918.
Nashville (Tenn.) Globe, Apr. 20, 1917: Feb. 15, Mar. 29, 1918.
Nashville (Tenn.) Tennesseean, Aug. 27, Sept 1, Oct. 2, 22, 1916.
National Enquirer, July 25, 1918.
Newark (N. J.) Ledger, Apr. 11, 18, 1918.
Newark (N. J.) News, Mar. 10, 17, 29, Sept. 24, 28, Oct. 2, 10, 30, 1917;
Feb. 20, Mar. 26, Apr. 9, July 19, Sept. 28, 1918.
Newark (N . J.) Star, July 31, 1915; Nov. 20, 1916 ; Oct. 5, 9, Nov. 6, 9, 1917.
New Bedford (Mass.) Mercury, July 20, 1917.
New Bedford (Mass.) Standard, July 19, 1917.
New Britain (Conn.) Herald, Sept. 11, 1917.
New Haven (Conn.) Register, Sept. 11, 1917.
New Orleans Item, Sept. 8, 11, 1917; Feb. 10, Mar. 31, May 13, 15, 20, 1918.

18 0


New Orleans Times-Picayune, Oct. 1, 19, 26, Nov. 10, 28, Dec. 9, 12, 15, 18.
1916; Jan. 1, 14, Mar. 9, 24, June 13, Sept. 4, 8, 15, 21, Oct. 5, 1917;
Apr. 7, 30, May 12, 16, June 14, Sept. 21, 1918.
New Orleans States, July 24, Aug. 7, 28, Oct. 10, 1916; Nov. 3, 1917; Jan. 21,
Apr. 6, July 23, 1918..
Newport (R. I.) News, Sept. 1, 1917.
New Philadelphia (O hio) Times, Oct. 26, 1917; Mar. 17, 1918.
New York Age, Feb. 11, 18, Mar. 4, May 27, Aug. 19, 1915; May 24,
July 20, 27, Aug. 24, 31, Sept. 14, Oct. 26, Nov. 15, 23, 30, Dec. 14, 21,
1916; Jan. 4, 11, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, Mar. 1, 15, 22, Apr. 5, 19, May 3, 10, 24.
June 7, 14, 21, July 5, 26, Aug. 21, Sept. 20, Oct. 10, 11,18, Nov. 1, 8, 22, 29.
Dec. 22, 1917 ; Jan. 26, 29, Feb. 9, 16, Mar. 2, 9, 23, 30, Apr. 6, 20, 21, 27.
May 4, 11, 18, 25, June 2, 8, 20, 22, 29, July 6, 13, 15, Aug. 10, Sept. 14,
21, 28, Oct. 5, 1918.
New York American, July 16, 17, Aug. 12, Sept. 20, 1917; June 23, 1918.
New York Call, Feb. 28, Sept. 15, 1915; Sept. 30, Oct. 10, Nov. 16, 29.
Dec. 3, 1916; July 1, Aug. 8, 9, Sept. 28, Nov. 13, 22, 1917; Mar. 5.
Apr. 26, May 30, June 8, 24, Aug. 26, 1918.
New York Commerce and Finance, Sept 13, Nov. 8, 1916; Mar. 27, 1918.
New York Commercial, Oct. 24, 1916; July 14, 1917.
New York Globe, Feb. 10, 18, Mar. 12, 1915; July 31, Oct. 25, Nov. 13,
Dec. 6, 1916; Mar. 19, Apr. 9, Aug. 20, Oct. 9, 1917; June 5, Oct. 1,
New York Herald, June 10, 1917.
New York Journal, July 14, Aug. 25, 27, O ct 12, 1916; Oct. 4, 11, 1917.
New York Journal o f Commerce, Aug. 14, 1917.
New York Mail, Feb. 27, 1915; Nov. 1, 1916; Aug. 1, Sept. 20, 1917;
Feb. 6, 12, Mar. 11, 15, 18, Apr. 30, July 1, May 3, 1918.
New York News, Mar. 4, 1915 ; Apr. 13, Sept. 11, 29, Dec. 21, 1916; Jan. 25,
Oct. 10, 1917; Feb. 14, Mar. 23, Apr. 10, 11, 25, Aug. 22, 1918.
New York Post, Dec. 28, 1915; Oct. 5, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, 4, 16, 1916; Feb. 3.
July 13, 14, 16, Sept. 19, 20, Oct. 15, 25, 29, 1917; Jan. 31, Feb. 15,
June 22, Sept. 25, 1918.
New York Sun, Mar. 27, Nov. 19, 22, 1916; Jan. 15, 20, Mar. 21, Apr. 4,
July 2, Aug. 7, 10, 15, Sept. 21, Oct. 5, Nov. 19, 21, 1917; Jan. 31,
May 1, 17, June 19, July 1, 2, 7, Sept. 17, 22, 1918.
New York Telegram, Nov. 16, 1916; Sept. 9, 1918.
New York Times, June 11, Aug. 17, Sept. 10, Oct. 21, Nov. 5,12, Dec. 17, 1916;
Oct. 7, 1917; Jan. 21, Feb. 1, May 25, 1918.
New York Tribune, Oct. 22, Dec. 24, 1916 ; July 2, 21, 31, Oct. 16, 1917;
Jan. 6, May 11, 22, Aug. 26, Sept 22, 1918.
New York World, Oct. 29, Nov. 12, 19, 1916; Mar. 21, 1917; Feb. 14, 23,
Apr. 14, 18, May 21, June 23, 25, 1918.
Norfolk (V a.) Journal and Guide, Sept. 9, Oct. 2, Nov. 18, 25, Dec. 2, 16,
. 1916; Jan. 23, Feb. 2, 24, Mar. 3, 17, 24, Apr. 14, May 12,June 30,
July 7, 25, 28, Sept. 11, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, Dec. 1, 1917; Feb. 2, 9, 16,
Mar. 10, 23, 30, July 13, Aug. 10, 1918.
Norfolk (V a.) Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 20, 1916; Oct. 19, 1917; May 14, 1918.
Oakland (Cal.) Tribune, July 13, 1917.
Omaha (Neb.) Bee, Mar. 4, 1917; Mar. 24, 1918.
Omaha (N eb.) World-Herald, Feb. 3, 1917.
Oshkosh (W is.) Daily Northwestern, July 28, 1916.
Palatka (Fla.) Advocate, Mar. 10, 1917.
Passaic (N. J.) Herald, Apr. 15, 1918.
Paterson (N . J.) Guardian, Sept. 22, 1917.
Peoria (111.) Journal, Nov. 23, 1917.
Philadelphia Bulletin, Mar. 12, June 29, July 26-28, 30, 31, 1917.
Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 24, Mar. 2. July 26-31, Dec. 14, 1917; Jan. 31, 1918.
Philadelphia North American, Aug. 9, 30, Nov. 24, 1916; Feb. 2, Mar. 27,
July 26-31, 1917.



Philadelphia Public Ledger, May 11, 1916; Jan. 26, Apr. 6, July 16, 26-31,
Aug. 26, 1917; Jan. 31, May 27, Aug. 2, 3, 14, 1918.
Philadelphia Record, Apr. 8, 1915; Dec. 9, 1916; Mar. 2, Apr. 1, July 26-31,
1917; June 12, 1918.
Philadelphia Telegraph, Oct. 11, Nov. 21, 1916; July 17, 26-31, 1917.
Pittsburgh Chronicle, Oct. 17, Dec. 1, 1916.
Pittsburgh Courier, June 22, 1917.
Pittsburgh Dispatch, Oct. 1, Dec. 7, 1916; Feb. 26, Mar. 16, Dec. 17, 1917;
Mar. 7, Apr. 11, 14, 1918.
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, Nov. 21, 1917; June 28, July 7, 1918.
Pittsburgh Leader, Nov. 1, Dec. 7, 1916; June 28, 1918.
Pittsburgh Press, Mar. 28, 29, 1917.
Pittsburgh Sun, Mar. 26, 1917; Apr. 11, 1918.
Portland (M e.) Express and Advertiser, Nov. 25, 1916.
Portland (M e.) Press, Aug. 10, 1917.
Portland (Ore.) Oregonian, Nov. 7, 1917.
Providence (R. T.) Bulletin, Nov. 11, 1916; Feb. 13, 1918.
Providence (R. I.) Journal, Aug. 17, 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 9, 20, Dec. 23, 1916;
Aug. 7, 1918.
Providence (R. I.) Tribune, Dec. 22, 1917.
Raleigh (N. C.) Independent, Apr. 28, July 21, Sept. 15, Oct. 27, Dec. 22,
1917; June 1, 29, 1918.
Raleigh (N. C.) News and Observer, Aug. 11, Oct. 4, Nov. 14, 1916.
Reading (Pa.) Telegram, Sept. 7, 1916; July 11, 1917.
Richmond (V a.) News Leader, July 6, 1917; June 4, 1918.
Richmond (V a.) Planet, Mar. 10, Apr. 7, 28, May 5, 19, June 23, Aug. 18,
1917; Feb. 16, 28, Mar. 30, Apr. 20, June 8, July 6, 1918.
Richmond (V a.) Times-Dispatch, Aug. 26, 1916.
Rochester (N . Y .) Democrat Chronicle, June 5, 1916; Feb. 18, Mar. 27, 1917.
Rochester (N. Y .) Post Express, Nov. 11, 17, Dec. 8, 1916; Jan. 8, 1918.
Rochester (N. Y .) Times, Dec. 11, 1916.
Rochester (N. Y .) Union and Advertiser, Dec. 8, 1916.
Rome (N. Y .) Sentinel, Mar. 21, 1917.
Sacramento (Cal.) Union, June 16, 1917.
Saginaw (Mich.) Courier-Herald, Mar. 21, 1917.
St. Joseph (M o.) News. Feb. 17, 1917.
St. Louis Argus, Aug. 25, Oct. 20, 1916; Jan. 6, Feb. 9, Mar. 23, June 1, 8,
Sept. 14, Oct. 5, 1917; Mar. 15, 22, Aug. 9, Sept. 27, Oct. 4, 11, 1918.
St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Feb. 15, May 30, 31, July 2-18, 1917; March 28,
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 1, 10, 14, 1916: May 30, 31, July 2-18; Sept. 9,
Nov. 3, 1917; May 10, 11, July 12, 18, Aug. 28. 1918.
St. Louis Star, May oO, 31, July 2-6, 8-13, 15-18, 1917.
St. Louis Times, May 30, 31, July 2-6, 8-13, 15-18, Aug. 11, 28, 1917.
Salina (Kas.) Union, Aug. 30, 1917.
Salt Lake City (Utah) Tribune, Mar. 4, 1917.
San Antonio (T ex.) Light, Sept. 10, 1916; May 14, Sept. 1, 1918.
San Jose (Cal.) Herald, Aug. 28, 1916. .
Savannah (Ga.) Morning News, July 31, Aug. 2, 1916; Jan. 3, July 18, 1917;
June 6, 1918.
Savannah Tribune, Aug. 5, 19, Sept. 9, 23, 30, Nov. 11, Oct. 28, 1916; Feb. 3,
Mar. 31, Apr. 7, 28, May 10, 12. 17, 19, June 2, July 2, 1917; Feb. 13.
Mar. 16, Apr. 13, May 20, July 20, 27, Aug. 3, 24, 1918.
St. Paul (Minn.) News, June 12, 14, 17, 1918.
St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, July 9, Oct. 5, 1915; Dec. 1, 1916; Aug. 6,
Scranton (Pa.) News, Mar. 3, 1915.
Seattle (W ash.) Post, Dec. 15, 1916; Aug. 16, 1917.
Sharon (Pa.) Herald, Feb. 1, 1917.
_ „ „
Shreveport (La.) Times, July 18, Aug. 2, Oct. 6, 1917; May 28, 1918.



Southern Standard (Macon, Ga.), June 16, 1917; May 2, 13, 1918.
Southwestern Christian Advocate (New Orleans), Dec. 7, 1916; Jan. 4, 11,
Mar. 1, 22, July 19, Oct. 18, 1917; Mar. 9, May 30, July 25, Aug. 22, 1918.
Spartanburg (S. C.) Journal, Sept. 11, 1917.
Spokane (W ash.) Chronicle, Dec. 11, 1916.
Springfield (Mass.) News, Mar. 6, 1918.
Springfield (O hio) News, Aug. 2, 1917.
Springfield (Mass.) Republican, May 12, Sept. 8, 10, Nov. 1, 17, 27, Dec. 3,
1916; Jan. 17, 19, 21, 25, Feb. 15, Mar. 8-11, July 7, Aug. 8, Nov. 27,
1917; Jan. 20, May 15, 1918.
Springfield (M o.) Republican, Sept 9, 1917; Mar. 14, 1918.
Springfield (Mass.) Union, Apr. 16, 1915; July 16, Sept. 6, 1916; Apr. 2, 1917.
Star o f Zion (Charlotte, N. C .), July 19, Aug. 16, 1917.
Steubenville (O hio) Star, Aug. 4, 20, 1917.
Syracuse (N . Y .) Herald, July 17, 1917.
Syracuse (N . Y .) Journal, Aug. 4, 1917.
Syracuse (N . Y .) Post-Standard, Aug. 2, 1916; O ct 10, 1917.
Tacoma (W ash.) News, May 25, 1918.
Tampa (Fla.) Times, June 8, 9, 1917.
Texas Freeman (H ouston), O ct 13, 1917.
The Daily Herald (Baltimore), Nov. 22, Dec. 17, 1917; Jan. 5, Feb. 16,
Mar. 8, 16, 23, 27, 30, April 1, 2, 16* 17, 19, 22, May 11, 13, 17, 18, 28, 30,
June 6, July 8, 31, Aug. 6, 1918.
The Economic W orld (New York City), Mar. 9, June 29, 1918.
The Living Church (Milwaukee), Dec. 22, 1917.
The Observer (New York City). Oct. 7, 1916.
The Piedmont (Greenville, S. C .), Mar. 16, 1917.
The Progressive Farmer (Raleigh, N. C .), Tan. 27, 1917.
The Public (New York City), Nov. 30, 1917; May 25, 1918.
The Standard (Chicago), July 16, 1917; Jan. 26, 1918.
The Voice o f the People (Birmingham), Aug. 5, Dec. 2, 16, 1916; Apr. 22,
May 19, July 14, 1917.
The Watchman (New York G ty ), Mar. 1, 1917.
Topeka (Kas.) Plain Dealer, Dec. 20, 1916; June 29, 1917.
Toledo (O hio) Blade, July 12, Aug. 20, 1917.
Toledo (O hio) Times, June 14, 1917.
Trenton (N . J.) State Gazette, Aug. 10, Sept. 24, O ct 8, Nov. 14, Dec. 3,
Trenton (N . J.) Times, July 28, Aug. 6, 1916; July 6, Sept. 18, 19, 21, 22,
28, Oct. 13, Dec. 3, 1917; Feb. 13, Mar. 9, Apr. 10, July 11, 1918.
Troy (N . Y .) Times, July 7, Nov. 1, 1916; Feb. 16, Mar. 28, July 25, 1917.
Utica (N . Y .) Observer, Nov. 17, 1916; Aug. 22, 1917.
Utica (N . Y .) Press, Sept. 15, 1917.
Valdosta (Ga.) Times, July 3, 1917: Jan. 29, 1918.
Vicksburg (Miss.) Herald, Aug. 19, 1916; July 7, Dec. 7, 1917; July 30, 191&
Vicksburg (Miss.) Post, Nov. 9, 1917; July 31. 1918.
Walla Walla (W ash.) Bulletin, Mar. 13, 1918.
Washington (D . C.) Bee, Feb. 13,.1915; Nov. 11, 1917; Mar. 23, Aug. 17, 24,
Sept 7, 1918.
Washington (D . C.) Herald, Jan. 23, 1916.
Washington (D . C.) National Tribune, Nov. 10, 1916.
Washington (D. C.) Post, Dec. 4, 1916; Feb. 25, 1918.
Washington (D. C.) Star, Nov. 23, 1916; Apr. 2, July 18, 1917; Sept. 8, 1918.
Washington (D . C.) Times, Nov. 13, 1916; Sept. 8, 1918.
Waterbury (Conn.) Democrat, Feb. 8, Oct. 29, 1917.
Waterbury (Conn.) Republican, July 4, 1917.
Waterloo (Iow a) Courier, Apr. 3, 1918.
Watertown (N. Y .) Times, Nov. 17, 1916; Feb. 2, 1917.
Weekly Witness (New York City), Sept. 6, 1916.
Wesleyan Christian Advocate (Atlanta, Ga.), Mar. 22, 1917.



Westerly (R. I.) Sun, Nov. 8, 1916.
Wilmington (Del.) News, Dec. 1, 1916; Sept. 17, 1917.
Wisconsin Weekly Blade (Madison, W is.), Jan. 18, Mar. 15, Apr. 5, 1917.
Women’s Wear (New York City), July 12, 13, 21, Oct. 3, 1917; Jan. 23,
Mar. 27, Aug. 5, 1918.
Yonkers (N. Y .) Herald, July 12, 1915.
Youngstown (O hio) Telegram, Aug. 21, 1917.
Youngstown (O hio) Vindicator, Jan. 9, Mar. 23, 1918.


Adams, Henry, 4, 6.
Abbott, William, 84.
African Methodist Episcopal Church, 145.
Akron, migrations to, 57, 126.
Alabama: migrations from, 4, 7, 59, 63*74,
95*96, 107, 109; causes of migrations,
14*15, 20-21; Colonization Council, 5;
efforts to check migrations, 72, 76; ef­
fects of migrations, 86.
Albany, migrations to, 56.
Albert Trostel Co., employment of negro
labor, 114-115.
Allis Chalmers Co., employment of negro
labor, 114.
Altoona, migrations to, 134.
Aluminum Ore Works, employment of negro
labor, 100-101.
Amaca, Tom, 37.
American Baptist Home Mission Society,
American Car & Foundry Co., employment
of negro labor, 97.
American Cast Iron Pipe Co., employment
of negro labor, 93.
American Federation of Labor, 147-148.
S e e a l s o Labor Unions.
American International Shipbuilding Co.,
employment of negro labor, 189.
American Steel & Wire Co., employment of
negro labor, 108-109.
Andrews, W. T., 172.
Arkansas: migrations to, 3, 9, 65-68; ef­
forts to check migrations, 72.
Armour & Co., employment of negro labor,
Armstrong Association, 187-138.
A t l a n t a C o n s t i t u t i o n , 59.
A t l a n t a I n d e p e n d e n t , 162.
Atlanta Mutual Insurance Co., 64.
Badham, Henry L., 20.
Bailey, H. C., 128.
Banks, Edward T., 128.
Beloit: migrations to, 110-111; wages m,


Beloit N e w s , 159.
Bibliography, 175-183.
Birmingham V o i c e o f t h e P e o p l e , 160.
“ Bloody Isle,” The, 99.
Boll weevil, damage to cotton crops by, 14,


Booker T. Washington Social Settlement,
Bricklayers, wages of, 16, 86.
Brickmasons, wages of, 86.
Brink, Gilbert N., 144.
Brown Farm, 37.
Bryant, Lewis T., 141.
Buffalo, migrations to, 56, 67.
Building trades, negroes employed m,
Bus boys, wages or, 17.
Butler, J. H., 75.
Butchers, wages of, 114.
Cantonments, construction of, in South, 84.
Capital, influence on migration of Northern,
Carpenters: in Pittsburgh, 122; wages of,

16, 86.

Carter, R. A., 146.

Causes of migrations: Of 1879, 3-6; un­
employment, 14-15, 59; failure of crops,
14-15, 165; wages, 14-16, 83; demand for
labor in North, 14, 17-18, 28.29, 102,
111; lade of educational facilities, 1819, 81, 83; treatment in courts, 19-20,
22, 83-85; fee system and street tax, 2021; traveling accommodations, 21-22;
lynchings and mob violence, 18-19, 22,
79-81. 83, 166-167; prejudice, 24-25,
83; between cities in North, 117; as
expressed through the press, 152-174.
Champion Chemical Co., 128.
Charlotte S t a r o f Z i o n , 161.
Chart showing extent and trend of migra­
tions, 71.
C h a t t a n o o g a T i m e s , 169.
Chauffeurs, wages of, 114.
Chicago: migrations to, 45, 58, 66-67, 69,
102; opportunities, 29, 102; increases in
negro population, 7, 51; housing, 102106; wages, 17, 102-103, 114; welfare
work, 103.
S ee
a lso
East Chicago;
C h i c a g o D e f e n d e r , 29-33.
Chicago Renting Agents Association, 103.
Chicago Women’s Club, 103.
Chisholm, J. N., 37.
C h r i s t i a n I n d e x , 163.
Churches: effects of migrations on, 86,
144; aid rendered by, 132, 144 147.
Cigar factories, employment of women in,
Cincinnati, migrations to, 57, 125.
Cleveland, migrations to, 57, 126-127.
Cleveland Association of Colored Men,
Cleveland Welfare Federation, 126.
Colonization Council, 4-5.
Colored Protective Association, 137.
C o lu m b ia
(S. C.) S t a t e , 155.
Columbus, migrations to, 7, 57, 126.
Commerce and Labor, Secretary of, 99.
Conferences: to chedc migrations, 79-81,
83; in Ohio, 128; in New Jersey, 140;
American Federation of Labor, 147-148;
National League on Urban Conditions
among Negroes, 143-144, 149.
Connecticut: demand for labor, 54; mi­
grations to, 56, 58, 141-142; wages, 142.
S e e a l s o Hartford.
Connor^, William R., 127.
Convict system, 3-4.
Cooks, 122.
Core makers. 129.
Correspondence, influence of, on migra­
tions, 34, 69.
Cotton crop, failures of, 14.
Council of National Defense, 129.
Courts, treatment in: cause of migrations,
19-20, 22, 83*85; effects of migrations,
Crawford, Anthony, 47.
Credit system, 92-93.
Crop failures, 14-15.
Cudahy Soap Factory, 109.
Culver. Charles M ., 130.




E x p r e s s , 162.
Davis. I. D., 81.
Dayton, migrations to. 126.
Discussion, stimulus to migration. 2C.
District of Columbia, migrations to, 57.
Diversification of crops. 15.
Delaware, migrations to. 57. 134.
Delinquency problem, study of, in Cleve­
land. 127.
Detroit: opportunities in, 28; negro labor,
51, 130-131; wages, 129; welfare work,
131-132; housing, 131-132. S e e a l s o
Detroit L a b o r N e w s , 151.
Detroit Employers* Association, 130.
Dock hands, wages of, 114.
Domestic service: in North, 17,
122, 129; in South, 16.
Domination, removal of fear of, 91.
Dressmaking trade, negro labor in, 50.
D a lla s

East Chicago: migrations to, 109-110;
wages, 109-110; housing, 109-110; recre­
ation facilities, 110; prejudice, 110; re­
turns to former homes from, 110. See
a l s o Chicago; Illinois.
East St. Louis: migrations to, 57, 99-101;
riot of 1917, 98-101; wages, 99; de­
mand for labor, 99; housing, 100. S e e
a l s o St. Louis; Missouri.
East St. Louis J o u r n a l , 101.
Economic policy of South, change in, fol­
lowing migrations, 87-88.
Edge, Governor, of New Jersey, 140.
Educational facilities: lade of, cause of
migration, 18-19, 81, 83; improvement
in, 83, 90-91; separation in schools, 96.
Effects on the North: increase in crime
141; views of the press, 152-174. .
Effects on the South: wa|,^v*0 ,
change in economic policies, 88-92; labor
unions, 88, 147-151; less«»ing of preiu
dice, 88-89; welfare work,# 88, 92-94
increased educational facilities, 83, 90
91; land tenure and credit systems, 92
93; views of the press, 152-174.
Efforts of the North to induce migration
labor agents, 29, 36-37, 40, 60, 65
in Milwaukee, 112, 114; in Pittsburgh
Efforts of the South to check migration
suppression of labor agents, 38, 72-74
76-77; through Tuskegee Institute, 81
82; through the churches, 83; legislation
72-73. 76; increased wages, 79, 83
change in policies, 84-85; improved edu
cational facilities, 83, 90-91.
Eiffin, William T., 141.
Ellis, J. B., 81. .
Emerson & Birmingham: employment of
negro labor, 106; housing of its labor,
Epstein, Abraham, 18, 119-120, 122-123.
Erie Railroad, demand of, for labor, 135.
Factories, negro labor employed in, 51.
Fairbanks. Morse & Co., employment of
negro labor. 111.
Farm hands, wages of, 86.
Faulks* Manufacturing Co., employment of
negro labor, 114-115.
Fee system, 20-21.
Firemen, wages of, 114.
Floods as cause of migration, 14.
Florida: migrations to, 9; migrations from,
38, 43-44, 55, 59, 62-63, 69; causes of
migration. 14, 22; efforts to check mi­
gration. 72-73.
Floyd, William, 54.

Foundrymen, wages of: in Massachusetts,
17; in Minnesota, 18; in Chicago, 17,
Fraily, E. J., Jr., 54.
Free Sewing Machine Co.: employment of
negro labor, 106; housing of its labor,
Free transportation, 47-48.
Garment factories, employment of women
in, 129.
Gasselli Chemical Co., employment of negro
labor, 109-110.
Georgia: migrations from, 38, 59-62, 69,
109; causes of migrations, 14, 22, 7980, 83; efforts to check migrations, 7276, 79, 80-81, 86; activities of labor
agents, 60.
G e o r g i a E n q u i r e r S u n , 154.
Glass works, employment of negro labor in,
Goldsmiths Detinning Co., employment of
negro labor, 109.
Gompers, Samuel, 151. S e e a l s o Ameri­
can Federation of Labor.
Great Lakes Naval Training Station, 108.
Great Northern Drive, The, 30, 33.
Grimke, Archibald H., 150.
Harrisburg, migrations to, 57, 134.
Harris, George W., 150.
Hartford: migrations to, 56, 58, 141-142;
wages, 142; housing, 142.
Hartford Baptist Association, 141.
Hartford Civic Club, Housing Committee
of, 142.
Haynes, George E., 129.
Hobson & Walkers Brick Yard, employ­
ment of negro labor, 109.
Hoffman Manufacturing Co., employment
of negro labor, 114-115.
Horae Missions Council of Churches of
Christ in America, 132, 145.
Housing in St. Louis, 97-98; in East
St. Louis, 100; in Chicago, 102-106; in
Rockford, 106-107; in Waukegan, 108;
in East Chicago, 109-110; in Beloit, 111;
in Milwaukee. 117-118; in Pittsburgh,
120-122; in Cleveland, 126-127; in De­
troit, 131-132; in Pennsylvania, 135; in
Philadelphia, 137-139; in New Jersey,
139-140; in Hartford, 141-142.
Howe. Frederick C., 53.
Illinois: migrations to, 7, 58, 68, 108109; housing, 108; wages, 108; preju­
dice, 109; migrations from, 112. S e e a l s o
Chicago; East Chicago.
Illinois Central Railroad, importation of
negro labor, 102.
Immigration Bureau of Social Uplift Work
for Negroes, 143.
Indiana, migrations to, 5, 57, 68.
Influences on migrations: discussion. 26;
public speaking, 27-28; attitude of
North, 27; reports of opportunities in
North, 28-29, 34; rumors, 28-29, 40,
78-79; activities of C h i c a g o D e f e n d e r , 2933; activities of labor agents. 29, 3687; correspondence, 34, 40, 69; circula­
tion of literature and poems, 35, 37.
Inland Steel Foundry, employment of negro
labor. 109.
Interdenominational Ministerial Union, 137.
International ’ Lead Refining Co., employ­
ment of negro labor, 109.
Intersectional migration: number born in
specified divisions and living in or out
of these divisions. 10; number living in
specified divisions, 10; migration north


to south, south to north and east to west,
11; net migration eastward and west­
ward and northward and southward, 12.
Interstate Mill, employment of negro labor,
Intoxicants, use of, among negroes in Pitts­
burgh, 124.
Invasion, rumors of, 28.
Iowa, migrations from, to Wisconsin, 112.
Iron and steel, industries, employment of
negro labor in, 113.
Janitors: in Milwaukee, 114; in Pittsburgh,
Jersey City, migrations to, 57.
Johnson, Charles S., 23, 128.
Jones, E. K., 93, 150.
Jones, Thomas Jesse, 18, 150.
Joyce, labor agent, 72.
Kansas, migrations to, 3-6, 58.
Kentucky: migrations to, 68; migrations
from, 95.
Krolick Co., employment of women by,
Labor:—Labor agents: activities of, 29, 3637, 40, 60, 65; from St. Louis, 96;
from East St. Louis, 99; from Mil­
waukee, 112; from Pittsburgh, 120;
from Pennsylvania, 135; efforts of the
South to suppress, 38, 72-74, 76-77;
inquiry of Council of National Defense,
Labor Unions: prejudice of, 49; change
in policy, 88, 147-151.
Suitability of negro labor, 115-116, 123,
130-131; demand in North for, 14;
competition in North, 50-52; compari­
son of negro with foreign labor, 125;
wages— s e e Wages.
Labor, Department of, 53, 78.
Lancaster, B. S., 150.
Lancaster, migrations to, 134.
Land tenure system, improvement in, 9293.
Legal aid to negroes in North, 127.
Legislation: to check migration, 72-73, 76;
to aid migrants in North, 141.
Lindeman-Hoverson Co., A. J., employ­
ment of negro labor, 113-115.
Literature, circulation of, influence on mi­
gration, 35.
Louisiana: migrations from, 4, 59, 68;
causes of migrations, 14; Colonization
Council, 5; efforts to check migrations,
Lumber stackers, wages of, 103.
Lynchings: cause of migrations, 18-19, 22,
79-81, 83, 166-167; checking of, 94;
Anthony Crawford, 47; in Georgia, 22,
79; in Tennessee, 22.
Machinists: in Detroit, 129; in Massachu­
setts, 17.
Macon T e l e g r a p h , 156
Marks Manufacturing Co., wages paid by,
Massachusetts: migrations to, 56; wages in,
Massacres, cause of migration of 1879, 4.
Maxwell, William IT., 140.
Mechanics, negro labor in, 51,
M e m p h i s C o m m e r c i a l A p p e a l , 154.
Michigan: migrations to, 58, 68, 129-133;
migrations from, 112. S e e a l s o Detroit.
Middletown, migrations to, 126.
Migrations: to Kansas, 1879, 3-6; to
Arkansas and Texas, 1888 and 1889,

3; of May 15, 1917, 30-33; of August
15, 1917, 33; chart showing extent and
trend of, 71; efforts to check— s e e Ef­
forts; effects of— s e e Effects.
Milwaukee: migrations to, 111-118; efforts
to secure negro labor, 111-112, 114;
recreation facilities, 112, 117-118; wages,
113-115; prejudice, 116; housing, 117118; migrations from, 117.
Milwaukee Coke & Gas Co., employment of
negro labor, 113-115.
Ministers, aid of, sought to check migra­
tions, 83.
Minnesota: migrations from, to Wisconsin,
112; wages in, 18.
Mississippi: migrations from, 4, 45, 59, 6468, 95-96, 99, 109, 111; Colonization
Council, 5; causes of migrations, 14-15,
20, 24-25; efforts to check migrations, 72,
76-78, 82-83; effects of migrations, 87,
Missouri, migrations to, 57. S e e a l s o St.
Louis; East St. Louis.
Missouri Malleable Iron Works, employ­
ment of negro labor, 100.
Mob violence, 79-80, 83, 167. S e e a l s o
Molders: in Chicago, 17; in Detroit, 129.
Moldsetters, in Pittsburgh, 122
Montgomery A d v e r t i s e r , 156, 165, 169170.
Moore, Fred R., 150.
Morris & Co., employment of negro labor,
Moton, Robert R., 150-151.
Motormen in Detroit, 28.
Muckers, wages of, 114.
Nagel, Charles, 99.

B a n n e r , 153.
National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People, 98, 128, 137, 151.
National League on Urban Conditions
among Negroes: aid to migrations, 54,
56; welfare work, 93, 143-144, 149; con­
ferences, 143-144, 149; in St. Louis, 98;
in Chicago, 69, 104; in Pittsburgh, 121;
in Detroit. 131-132; in Philadelphia, 137.
National Malleable Iron Works, employ­
ment of negro labor, 113-115.
National organizations, remedies for relief
by, 143-151.
Nebraska, migrations to, 58.
Nelson & Co., employment of negro labor,
New Orleans T i m e s P i c a y u n e , 152.
Newark. S e e New Jersey.
New Jersey: migrations to, 39, 50-57, 139;
migrations to Newark, 56-58; return of
migrants to South from, 139; housing,
139-140; wages, 140; legislation, 141;
effects of migrations, 141; welfare work,
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock
Co., 93.
New York, migrations to, 39, 56, 58, 67-

N a s h v ille

New York

N e w R e p u b l i c . 157.
Y o r k N e w s . 54, 164.
Y ork
A g e , 43.
Y o r k G l o b e . 159.
Norfolk J o u r n a l a n d G u i d e , 100.

N ew
N ew
N ew

North: opportunities. 17, 28-29; attitude
toward migrants. 27, 136, 152-174; aids
to migrants, 143-151.
North Carolina, migrations from, 4-5, 39.
Northwest, migrations to, 69.
Northwestern Railroad, need of, for labor,




Oates, W . H ., 2 1 .
O h io: m igrations t o , 7 ,
5 7 , 125*129;
housing, 1 2 6 * 1 2 7 ; w elfare work, 126*
1 2 8 ; conferences to aid migrants, 1 2 8 .
Ohio Federation for U plift o f the Colored
People, 1 2 8 .
O hio State Council o f N ational D efense,
O hio State and C ity Labor Bureau, 1 2 8 .
O hio Charter Commission, 1 2 8 .
Oklahoma, migrations to, *9 .
O m aha, migrations to, 5 8 .
Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 1 5 8 .
Packing houses, negroes employed in : East
St. Louis, 1 0 0 ; Chicago, 2 9 , 1 0 2 ; M il­
waukee, 1 1 4 .
Painters: in Pittsburgh, 1 2 2 ; wages o f, 8 6 .
Parker, J u d g e T . A ., 8 1 .
Parks, Rev., 7 9 .
Pattern Makers, wages o f , 1 7 .
Pass Riders, 7 7 .
Pennsylvania: migrations to, 9 , 3 8 -8 9 , 5 5 ,
5 7 , 6 7 , 1 3 4 * 1 3 9 ; labor agents from , 1 3 5 ;
returns to former homes from , 1 3 5 . S ee
also Philadelphia; Pittsburgh.
Pennsylvania Railroad Co., demand o f, fo r
labor, 6 9 , 1 3 5 .
Persuasion, use o f, to check migrations, 7 9 .
Pfister-Vogel C o ., employment o f negro
labor, 1 1 4 -1 1 5 , 1 1 7 .
Philadelphia: migrations to, 5 7 -5 8 , 1 3 5 ;
prejudice, 1 3 5 ; attitude o f negroes w ,
toward migrants, 1 3 6 : w ages, 1 3 6 , riots,
1 3 6 ; housing, 1 3 7 - 1 3 9 ; social work, 1 3 7 139.
See also Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia Academ y o f M edicine. 1 3 7 .
Philadelphia Christian Recorder, 1 6 4 .
Pittsburgh: m igrations to, 5 8 , 6 7 , 1 1 9 -1 2 5 ;
efforts to secure negro labor, 1 1 9 - 1 2 0 ;
housing, 1 2 0 * 1 2 2 ; social conditions m ,
1 2 1 , 1 2 4 -1 2 5 ; prejudice, 1 2 3 ; wages, 1 8 ,
1 2 3 - 1 2 4 ; comparison o f negro labor with
foreign labor, 1 2 5 .
S ee also Penn­
Pittsburgh Associated Charities, 1 2 1 .
Pittsburgh Dispatch. 1 0 0 .
Pittsburgh, U niversity o f, 1 2 1 .
Plankm gton Packing C o., employment o f
negro labor, 1 1 3 -1 1 5 .
Plantation government, 8 4 .
Poem s, circulation o f, influence on migra­
tion, 3 7 .
Political prosecution in South, 4 .
P o rters: in Chicago, 1 7 : in M ilwaukee,
1 1 4 ; in Pittsburgh, 1 2 2 ; wages o f , 1 7 ,
Pottsville, migrations to, 1 3 4 .
Poughkeepsie, migrations to, 5 6 .
Prejudice: Rockford, 1 9 7 - 1 0 8 ; W aukegan,
1 0 9 ; East Chicago, 1 1 0 ; Beloit, 1 1 1 ;
Milwaukee. 1 1 6 ; Pittsburgh, 1 2 3 ; Phila­
delphia, 1 3 5 ; cause o f migration, 3 , 2 2 ,
2 4 - 2 5 ; o f labor unions, 4 9 - 5 1 ; decrease
in, 9 1 .
Press, causes and effects o f m igrations, s s
expressed through the, 1 5 2 -1 7 4 .
Prisoners, care o f discharged, 1 2 7 .
Professional men, migration o f , 4 5 .
Public opinion regarding migrations, 1 5 2 174.
Public speaking, stimulation o f migration
by, 2 7 -2 8 .
Puddlcrs, employment o f, in Pittsburgh, 1 2 2 .
Railroads: efforts o f , to secure negro labor,
3 8 , 1 2 0 ; wages, 1 0 3 : in Pittsburgh, 1 2 2 .
Raleigh Independent. 1 6 1 .
Realty H ousing and Investment C o ., 1 2 7 .

Reeves. Alexander, 7 2 .
Rem edies: in Georgia, 8 0 ; increased edu­
cational facilities, 8 3 , 9 0 ; through W .
P . Thirkfield, 8 3 ; through Tuskegee Insti­
tute, 8 1 ; conferences, 1 4 3 - 1 4 4 ; through
churches, 1 4 4 -1 4 7 ; through labor unions,
1 4 7 -1 5 1 .
R en ts: in Chicago, 1 0 5 ; in Cleveland, 1 2 6 ;
m N ew Jersey, 1 3 9 ; in H artford, 1 4 2 .
See also H ousing.
Republic Rolling M ill, employment o f negro
labor, 1 0 9 .
Returns to So u th : from East Chicago, 1 1 0 ;
from Pennsylvania, 1 3 5 ; from N ew Jer
sey, 1 3 9 .
Riley, George S ., 7 3 .
R io ts: in East St. Louis, 9 8 1 0 0 ; in Philadelphia, 1 3 6 . See also M ob violence.
Robinson, Joe, 7 2 .
Robinson, W illiam , 1 0 7 .
R ockford: migrations to, 1 0 8 1 0 8 ; housing,
J 0 8 I 0 7 ; wages, 1 0 8 1 0 7 ; prejudice, 1 0 7 Rockford M alleable Iron C om pany: em ploy­
ment o f negro labor, 1 0 8 1 0 7 ; housing o f
its labor, 1 0 8 1 0 7 ; wages paid by, 1 0 7 .
R um ors, influence on migrations o f, 2 8 2 9 ,
40, 7 8 7 9 .
S t. L o u is: migrations to, 5 7 , 6 8 6 7 , 9 8 1 0 1 ;
separation, 9 5 : efforts to secure migrants,
9 6 ; wages. 9 8 9 7 ; housing, 9 7 -9 8 . See
also East St. L o u is; M issouri.
Sanitary conditions: improvements in, 9 2 ,
„ 9 4 ; m St. Louis, 9 8 .
Scarborough, W . S ., 1 2 8 .
Schwartz, John E ., 3 7 .
Scott, Emmett J., 1 5 0 .
Scroggs, W illiam Oscar, 9 .
Segregation, 9 8 9 6 .
See Domestic service.
Shillady, J. R ., 1 5 0 1 5 1 .
Shoemakers, wages o f, 1 1 4 .
Singleton, “ P a p ( B e n j a m i n ) , 5 -6 .
Skilled workers, 1 2 2 , 1 2 9 .
Sm ith, B ridges, 5 9 .
Social conditions: in Pittsburgh, 1 2 1 : in
Cleveland, 1 2 7 .
S ee also W elfa re work.
Social Service Commission o f the Churches
o f Christ, 1 2 1 .
Solvay Steel Castings C o., employment o f
negro labor, 1 1 4 .
South Carolina: migrations from , 4 8 4 7 ;
race conference, 1 7 2 .
Southwestern Christian Advocate, 1 4 4 .
Springfield, migrations to, 1 2 6 .
Springfield Union, 1 5 8 .
Stanton, V . L ., 8 1 .
Steel industry: demand for labor, 3 8 , 1 1 9 ;
negroes employed in Pittsburgh, 1 2 2 .
Steel m olders, wages o f, 1 1 4 .
Stimulation o f migrations.
See Influences.
Street construction workers, wages o f, 1 1 4 .
Street tax in South, cause o f migration,


Superstitions o f m igrants, 4 0 , 4 5 -4 6 .
Sw ift and Company, employment o f negro
labor, 1 0 0 .
Tannery laborers, wages o f, 1 1 4 .
Teachers, wages o f. 1 8 .
T ennessee: migrations from , 4 -5 , 9 5 -9 6 ,
9 9 ; migrations to, 6 8 ; lynchings, 2 2 .
Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad C o.. 9 3 .
T e x a s : migrations to. 8 ; migrations from ,
4 ; Colonization Council, 5.
Theater ushers, women employed as. 1 2 9 .
Thirkfield, Bishop W . P ., 8 3 .
T ifton Gazette, 7 9 .

Tobacco fields, wages of labor employed in,
Trakem Pump Co., employment of negro
labor, 106.
Tunnell Construction Co., employment of
negro labor, 114-115.
Tuskegee Institute: efforts to check migra­
tions, 81; conference of, 82.
Transfer yards, negro labor employed in,


Transportation, influence on migration of
fears of, 28-29.
Transportation paid by Northern employ­
ers, 135.
Traveling accommodations, influence on mi­
grations, 21-22; effects of migrations, 91.
Trenton, migrations to, 57.
Truckers, employment of negro laborers as,
“ Underground Railroad,” 68.
Unemployment, 14-16, 59.
Union Central Relief Association, 64.
United States Production Co., 109.
Unskilled labor, 122, 129.
V ic k s b u r g
H e r a l d , 153.
Virginia, migrations from, 39.

Wages:— South: cause of migrations, 1418, 29, 34, 83, 171; comments of
press, 84; effects of migrations, 81,
83 85-87 91.
North: In Pittsburgh, 18, 123-124; in
Massachusetts 17; in Minnesota, 18;
in St. Louis, 96-97, 99; in Chicago,
17, 102-103, 109-110, 114; in Rock­


ford, 106-107; in Waukegan, 108; in
Beloit, 111; in Milwaukee, 113-115;
in Detroit, 129-130; in Philadelphia,
136; in New Jersey, 140; in Hart­
ford, 142.
Walker, A. P . , 37.
Walla Walla B u l l e t i n , 160.
Warehousemen, wages of, 17.
Waukegan, migrations to, 108-109.
Waukegan industries, employment of negro
labor. 108-109.
Wehr Steel and Machine Shops, employ­
ment of negro labor, 113.
Welfare work: National League on Urban
Conditions among Negroes, 93, 143-144,
149; in Chicago, 103; in Ohio, 126-128;
in Detroit, 131; in New Jersey, 139141; in Philadelphia, 137-139; in Hart­
ford, 141-142.
Wilberforce University, 128.
Wilder Tannery Co., employment of negro
labor, 108.
Wills, J. Walter, 128.
Wilmington, migrations to, 134.
Wilson Packing Co., wages paid by, 103.
Winston, Francis D., 153.
Wisconsin: migrations to, 110-111; wages,
111. S e e a l s o Milwaukee.
Women's Health League, 88.
Woods, J. S., 114.
Wright, R. R., 171.
Yard workers, wages of, 17.
York, migrations to, 134.
Youn| Negroes* Progressive Association,
Youngstown, migrations to, 57, 126.