Letters to the Chicago Defender: African American Migration in 1917

Show/Hide Instructions...


This map includes links to a collection of letters written by African Americans hoping to leave the South, or recently having arrived in the North, during the year 1917.

Using the letters and the map, try to think about what PULL FORCES might have drawn African Americans to the North, or what PUSH FORCES might have made them want to leave the South.

Click on one of the blue markers to read a letter from that county. When was the document written? Who was the migrant writing to? Why?



Concept : Migration

How did the black population in that county change over the years in the map?

Skill : Characterize Change Over Time

Skill : Make Observations

What are some push forces in that county? What are some pull forces in Chicago?

Skill : Make Connections Between Texts

Concept : Migration