The saga of African-American migration to the West begins in the East, in Philadelphia, where, in 1833, the Third Annual Convention for the Improvement of the Free People of Color considered the colonization of West Africa. After much deliberation, the assembly promoted immigration to Mexican Texas as a better alternative.
For the next decades, the twin themes of freedom and opportunity in the West struck a chord with many African Americans, propelling them toward the setting sun. Between 1860 and 1950, the black population of the western states grew from 196,000 to 1,787,000.
In search of land, in the early days, or industrial jobs during World War II, the migrants did not always find the political and economic El Dorado they sought, but their efforts transformed their lives, the region, and the nation as a whole.