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A Diversity of Migrants
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Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection [LC-USW361-333]

Alfred T. Palmer

Urban Migrants

Despite characterizations of African-American migrants to Northern cities as naive, rural folk, studies suggest that many had resided in Southern cities, or at least had participated in more urban-like wage labor prior to their move North, like this factory worker in Alabama. Many Southern cities experienced substantial growth in the first decades of the twentieth century. For instance, between 1910 and 1930, Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, experienced net black in-migrations of more than 46,000 and about 38,000, respectively. In contrast, between 1940 and 1950, Birmingham lost almost 3,000 African Americans, and Atlanta's black in-migration was a paltry 704.

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