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The Great Migration
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The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio [Allen E. Cole Collection]

Allen E. Cole

Opportunities for New Businesses

Before the migration, there were an estimated five thousand black businesses on record in the U.S., mainly grocery stores, barbershops, funeral homes, saloons, hotels, catering businesses, and building and loan associations. By 1920 there were about seventy thousand black-owned businesses. Added by the migration were businesses specializing in tailoring and pressing, and in coal and ice, as well as employment agencies, moving companies like this one in Cleveland, Ohio, and pool halls. Smaller entrepreneurs also sprung up, among them truck farmers, peddlers, butchers, and junk dealers.

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