The Second Great Migration
The Migration Numbers
Out of the Rural South
Fleeing Racism
Into the North and West
A Diversity of Migrants
A New Life
Conflicts and Mobilization
From Country to Inner City
The Legacies

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The vast remapping of black living space and work in the United States was the dominant and lasting consequence of the second Great Migration. These changes contained the seeds of extraordinary political transformations as well. Cities, South as well as North and West, provided a more favorable breeding ground for political mobilization - both inside and outside the established political system - than rural regions.

The second Great Migration was a watershed. For the first time, the African-American community, which, up to that time, had been mostly Southern and rural, became a national population, represented in large numbers in the North and West, and a largely urban one.

Eventually, white flight to the suburbs combined with black migration to urban areas to produce African-American political majorities or large pluralities in several key cities. This laid the basis for the election of numerous African-American mayors, state legislators, and congresspersons.

There is ample evidence of increased political consciousness among Southern migrants, even before voting barriers fell later in the century. Migrants were already politically aware, if not active, before leaving the South, and, as in the Great Migration, many registered to vote as soon as they reached their destinations.

Despite several postwar recessions, the military mobilizations of the Korean War and the Cold War helped the Western and some Midwestern states to remain economically attractive to African Americans for two decades after V-J Day.

The substantial urban concentrations of black Americans were no doubt instrumental in changing marketing strategies for commercial goods and cultural products. For better or worse, the representation of African Americans in the nation's everyday life - in the media and culture - would be radically different at the end of the twentieth century than it had been at its beginning.

The changes in African Americans' self-perception that resulted from this new reality ultimately formed the basis for the various political, social, and cultural movements that reshaped black citizenship in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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