The Long-Lasting Legacy of the Great Migration

When millions of African-Americans fled the South in search of a better life, they remade the nation in ways that are still being felt

By Isabel Wilkerson  SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE 

By (1963), millions of African-Americans had already testified with their bodies to the repression they had endured in the Jim Crow South by defecting to the North and West in what came to be known as the Great Migration. They were fleeing a world where they were restricted to the most menial of jobs, underpaid if paid at all, and frequently barred from voting. Between 1880 and 1950, an African-American was lynched more than once a week for some perceived breach of the racial hierarchy.

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