The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941

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Overview


The twentieth century has seen two great waves of African American migration from rural areas into the city, changing not only the country’s demographics but also black culture. In her thorough study of migration to Houston, Bernadette Pruitt portrays the move from rural to urban homes in Jim Crow Houston as a form of black activism and resistance to racism.

Between 1900 and 1950 nearly fifty thousand blacks left their rural communities and small towns in Texas and Louisiana for Houston. Jim Crow proscription, disfranchisement, acts of violence and brutality, and rural poverty pushed them from their homes; the lure of social advancement and prosperity based on urban-industrial development drew them. Houston’s close proximity to basic minerals, innovations in transportation, increased trade, augmented economic revenue, and industrial development prompted white families, commercial businesses, and industries near the Houston Ship Channel to recruit blacks and other immigrants to the city as domestic laborers and wage earners.

Using census data, manuscript collections, government records, and oral history interviews, Pruitt details who the migrants were, why they embarked on their journeys to Houston, the migration networks on which they relied, the jobs they held, the neighborhoods into which they settled, the culture and institutions they transplanted into the city, and the communities and people they transformed in Houston.

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Editorial Reviews

Dr. Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo
800x600 “The Other Great Migration is path-breaking! Eloquent and meticulously researched, this invaluable study brings to life a long neglected theme in the historical literature: the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of African American migrants who sought economic opportunity and greater social freedom in southern cities. Based on a wide variety of primary sources, this poignant and sweeping narrative of migrants’ foundational efforts to sustain their families, build community, and secure racial justice not only extends and deepens our understanding of the First Great Migration, it significantly buttresses the case for a longer view of the civil rights movement.”—Dr. Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, author of Abiding Courage: African American Migrant Women in the East Bay Community
Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo

800x600 “The Other Great Migration is path-breaking! Eloquent and meticulously researched, this invaluable study brings to life a long neglected theme in the historical literature: the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of African American migrants who sought economic opportunity and greater social freedom in southern cities. Based on a wide variety of primary sources, this poignant and sweeping narrative of migrants’ foundational efforts to sustain their families, build community, and secure racial justice not only extends and deepens our understanding of the First Great Migration, it significantly buttresses the case for a longer view of the civil rights movement.”—Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, author, Abiding Courage: African American Migrant Women in the East Bay Community
James M. SoRelle

"During the past half century, historians have described the creation and development of African American communities in dozens of cities in the United States, mainly focusing on the impact of the Great Migration of Blacks to urban centers in the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Bernadette Pruitt has redirected this discussion southward with a nuanced analysis of the migration that brought tens of thousands of African Americans from rural Texas and Louisiana to Houston in the first four decades of the twentieth century. By deftly mining a wide range of primary sources, including census records and labor statistics, social service agency client files, oral and family histories, newspapers, and available manuscript collections, Pruitt provides a solid foundation for understanding the agency and hopes for racial autonomy that spawned a dynamic community ethos, working-class consciousness, and civil rights activism in the Bayou City. This is an important book that establishes a long-needed and much-deserved place for Houston in the historiography of the African American urban experience."--James M. SoRelle, Baylor University
Choice Magazine - T. F. Armstrong

"The reproduction of photographs depicting migrant life strengthens the narrative" -- T. F. Armstrong, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, UAE
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Product Details

Meet the Author


BERNADETTE PRUITT is an associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. With a PhD from the University of Houston, she is a former recipient of the Mary M. Hughes and Fred White Jr. Research Fellowships in Texas History from the Texas State Historical Association.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2014

    Megan

    Ya i commented on ginger bear to you. Lol we should talk on it haha

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2014

    Priscillla to MIBNJNB and Meagan

    MIBNJNB: wow. Umm..i guess u know me a little. Lol. Um..well i'm a girl. I'm 12 years old. And i'm in 7th grade. I &hearts One Direction and Nick Jonas. I do get it in alot of trouble at school. By Drama,Fights,etc. My fav colar is Pink. I'm also Mexican. I have a boyfriend. His name is Cody but i'm probley going to breakup with him cause i think he's cheating on me. But probley my crush is going to ask me out. WBU?
    Meagan:i would love to chat with u!! How bout we chat a ginger res 4. Hope to u meet u their:);)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2014

    Hi

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