Fly Away: The Great African American Cultural Migrations

Fly Away: The Great African American Cultural Migrations

by Peter M. Rutkoff, William B. Scott
     
 

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The Great Migration — the mass exodus of blacks from the rural South to the urban North and West in the twentieth century — shaped American culture and life in ways still evident today. Peter M. Rutkoff and William B. Scott trace the ideas that inspired African Americans to abandon the South for freedom and opportunity elsewhere.

Black Southerners fled

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Overview

The Great Migration — the mass exodus of blacks from the rural South to the urban North and West in the twentieth century — shaped American culture and life in ways still evident today. Peter M. Rutkoff and William B. Scott trace the ideas that inspired African Americans to abandon the South for freedom and opportunity elsewhere.

Black Southerners fled the Low Country of South Carolina, the mines and mills of Birmingham, Alabama, the farms of the Mississippi Delta, and the urban wards of Houston, Texas, for new opportunities in New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They took with them the South's rich tradition of religion, language, music, and art, recreating and preserving their Southern identity in the churches, newspapers, jazz clubs, and neighborhoods of America's largest cities. Rutkoff and Scott's sweeping study explores the development and adaptation of African American culture, from its West African roots to its profound and lasting impact on mainstream America.

Broad in scope and original in its interpretation, Fly Away illuminates the origins, development, and transformation of national culture during an important chapter in twentieth-century American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Geographical Review - Robert Brown

Fly Away: The Great African American Cultural Migrations is a grand work... An engaging and entertaining volume that ought to be of interest to anyone with a curiosity about African American migration and African American cultural contributions to American culture.

American Historical Review
Rutkoff and Scott's book is likely to become a staple in undergraduate courses in African American and American Studies.

— Luther Adams

Choice

Illuminating and impressive cultural history... Highly recommended.

Journal of American History
[A] well-written, thought-provoking book. The authors have created a broad-ranging study that is well worth reading. It provides many new ways of thinking about and interpreting the impact of African American migration both on the migrants and the nation.

— Spencer R. Crew

Journal of World History
Fly Away represents a useful contribution.

— Brian Ward

Geographical Review

A grand work... An engaging and entertaining volume that ought to be of interest to anyone with a curiosity about African American migration and African American cultural contributions to American culture.

Charleston Post and Courier

Fly Away is intended for an academic audience and its footnotes display the depth of the research. However, the authors' engaging style also should appeal to the general reader with an interest in African-American cultural history.

Wall Street Journal

Adds considerably to our understanding of this national exodus... The authors, who teach history at Kenyon College, argue that the black migrants preserved many of their West African roots and customs in the move north, just as they had during the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. These authors stress the cultural freedom afforded by holding on to a vision of Africa as the homeland. In preserving their African roots, the black migrants could take pride in where they came from and in who they were in their new circumstances.

Journal of American History - Spencer R. Crew

[A] well-written, thought-provoking book. The authors have created a broad-ranging study that is well worth reading. It provides many new ways of thinking about and interpreting the impact of African American migration both on the migrants and the nation.

Journal of World History - Brian Ward

Fly Away represents a useful contribution.

American Historical Review - Luther Adams

Rutkoff and Scott's book is likely to become a staple in undergraduate courses in African American and American Studies.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801894770
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
06/02/2010
Edition description:
20
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Bernard E. Powers Jr.

This wide-ranging, epic study begins by showing how distinctive African American cultures, reflecting different degrees of African influence, developed in the South Carolina Low Country, the Mississippi Delta, Birmingham, and Houston. The authors then show how the transmission of these cultures to northern cities during the Great Migrations of the twentieth century led to new African American cultural adaptations in the areas of dance, music, recreation, clothing, and spirituality. The end results dramatically transformed African Americans, the urban landscape, and modern America at large.

Robert Farris Thompson

Rutkoff and Scott have worked together for years, arming themselves with insight into the flow and deep nature of black tradition. This book is the quintessence of their expertise—clear, brilliant, thrilling. It is destined to become a classic in the field. Unreservedly recommended.

William Ferris

An exceptionally well documented portrait of African American migration. Peter Rutkoff and William Scott's Fly Away is a deeply moving account of black families and their journey out of the American South.

James Grossman

Fly Away offers a fresh angle of vision on twentieth-century American culture. Peter Rutkoff and William Scott explain how African American urban cultures emerged from a sequence of migrations, eventually influencing the everyday lives of a wide variety of Americans. This is a book infused with imagination, inspiration, and a deep commitment to uncovering new meanings for our past.

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