James Weldon Johnson: “Harlem: The Culture Capital”

(1925)

Context

The migration of hundreds of thousands of African Americans from the mostly rural South to northern industrial centers in the two decades before World War I helped change in dramatic ways the black experience in American life. It began as early as the 1890s, with a trickle of black families seeking better economic conditions, and reached flood tide with World War I and the subsequent restrictions on immigration, which would create job opportunities in unprecedented numbers. Some families simply relocated to cities in the South, but many, especially those from the Southeast,...

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Harlem River in the first decade of the twentieth century (Library of Congress)

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