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Definition Essay: Final Draft

Kristopher Kirkpatrick

September 19, 2011

English 002

Kris Kirkpatrick
Definition Essay

Where would the African-American community be today if they were all still living in the south? America would not be the country that it is today if people did not immigrate here from their respective countries, or migrate here from their respective areas. Due to immigration and migration, the culture in heavily populated cities, such as Harlem, Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, has given African-Americans, and European-Americans an identity and sense of belonging in the United States. Immigration is defined as the action to come to a country of which one is not a native, usually for permanent residency. Migration is defined as the action to move from a country, place, or locality to another. Why do Economist and Politicians seem to define blacks moving from the south to the north immigration? Certain groups of people still called the action of blacks moving from one part of the country to another immigration, instead of migration, because they didn’t see African-Americans as United States citizens.

Economist believes migration has turned out to be a great strategy for the poor to make their lives a little better. African-Americans have migrated to the North for better opportunities, and the economy has boomed because of them. Economist can view the Great Migration and say that it resembles immigration in many ways. When foreigners immigrated to the United States, they did so with owning barely anything, and not knowing a single person. When Pershing Foster decided to migrate out West “Pershing had no idea where he would end up in California or how when he would make a go of it…” (7). This is the same situation immigrants find themselves in. Immigrants and migrants alike get off of a plane or bus and start life fresh with no family or friends, looking for a job.

Politicians may believe the idea of migration has turned out to be a great strategy for expanding African-Americans all over the country, and to make their voices heard from all areas in the United States. Some politicians may call the action of blacks moving from one part of the country to the other immigration instead of migration because of negative affects immigration has on the country. Immigrants add a lot of advantages to the United States but some politicians might be forced to look at the disadvantages such as a greater poverty rate, an increased crime rate, and language barriers. While blacks have migrated from the south to the north an increase in poverty has occurred, along with overcrowding. This has forced politicians to see the negative affects of blacks moving to the south, along with other races moving to the United States. Politicians may define immigrants as whoever is responsible for the increased poverty rate, increased crime rate, and language barriers that have affected the United States.

Although some politicians and economist may view the Great Migration as immigration, the two disciplines are not taking account the history of African-Americans and all of the great things that have come out of the Great Migration. There are many reasons why African-Americans wanted to migrate up north. First, workers could make a significant amount more in one part in the country than the other. When George Sterling was considering working in Detroit for a few months he heard, “They were paying a ridiculous sum of money—dollars an hour instead of pennies a box…He heard they were so desperate you could get a job right off the bus” (127). This demonstrates one of the main reasons African-Americans were so eager to migrate. The opportunities seemed endless and the pay was significantly higher. Next, African-Americans migrated because of the racism in the south. When politicians view migration, they think of the radical officials in the south. While Mississippi governor James K Vardaman was running for office he said in his address, “If it is necessary, every Negro in the state will be lynched” (qtd. 39). This was an incentive for blacks to get out of the south as soon as possible. Finally, the Great Migration is indeed not in anyway a form of immigration because of how financially hurt the south became when the majority of their “slaves” migrated. After African-Americans were starting to realize the plethora of jobs up north, they began to quit their low paying jobs in the field, leaving barely anyone to remain in the South to work. The Mississippi Welfare league and other southern organizations “all sent representatives north to try to bring colored workers back. They offered free train tickets and promised better wages and living conditions” (164). This demonstrates that blacks were in fact migrants and not immigrants because the economy down south wouldn’t have become a problem if the African-American United States citizens stayed. Paying blacks in the south little to no money is one of the main causes of America’s great economy, and now that blacks were starting to either demand higher wages or leave all together but the South into an economic crisis.

African-American migration was the root to black success in America. Migration was the American Dream. Blacks moved from the South to the North with nothing, and knowing nobody. Over the years, African-Americans planted their own seed in the North and advanced tremendously due to the better wages offered up North, and the feeling of equal rights in regards to politics. For these reasons blacks should not be considered immigrants in America because they simply moved from one location in the United States to another location in the United States.

Work Cited

“Despite a growing backlash, the boom in migration has been mostly good for both sending and recipient countrie.” The Economist 3 Jan. 2008: n. pag. The Economist. Web. 18 Sept. 2011.

Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth Of Other Suns. New York: Random House, Inc., n.d. Print.…...

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