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The Great Migration
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Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [LC-USZ62-122457]

Marion Post Wolcott

Steelworkers in Pittsburgh

Steel companies whose products were in high demand for the war effort were among the first to recruit black southerners in skilled and unskilled positions. The steel plants of Pennsylvania, particularly in Pittsburgh and Steelton, saw an influx of black workers. As early as 1918, in western Pennsylvania, they had increased from less than 3 percent of the total work force to 13 percent. Over half of them worked at Carnegie steel plants in Allegheny County and at Jones and Laughlin in Pittsburgh. Overall, the percentage of African American men employed in industrial job increased from 10 to 20 percent of the black labor force in 1910 to 60 to 70 percent in 1930. In the country as a whole, the percentage of black men employed in the steel industry went from 6 percent in 1910 to 17 percent in 1920.

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