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The Great Migration
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University of Illinois at Chicago, The University Library, Special Collections Department, Chicago Urban League Records [CUL neg. 53]

Arrival in Chicago

Railway lines often dictated who would migrate where. Chicago was a preferred destination for migrants from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas because the railroads had direct lines to the Windy City. The Illinois Central Railroad was nicknamed the "Fried Chicken Special" because of the packed lunches the migrants brought along with them for the trip. Although some migrants were offered free transportation by their future employers, the majority paid their own fares. Railway companies offered special rates for groups of ten to fifty, thus reducing expenses and at the same time stimulating demand.

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