Impressions of Chicago
There were other sources information. The more people went the
more letters would come back. Chicago was like it is now, a convention
center. So the Elks would meet in Chicago, the Masons would meet
in Chicago; so many black southerners came to Chicago to visit.
But again, if you are coming here for a convention you don't see
the worst parts of the town, you see the "glitz."
you come here for a convention and you're a black southerner,
they're going to show you the best parts of the south side. You're
going to see the clubs; you're going to have fun for a weekend;
and you're going to go back south and talk about what you saw.
And the same thing with people going back.
Anyway, I think I'm going to stop here. And, in terms of these
questions, what were the responses, we don't know what the responses
were to these. These were published, that's how I know-that's
how I found them.
This is fascinating because this is one of the most important
things about answering this question about what happens when people
get here and how does that relate to the very sense of them as
active participants in the process. Because what happens is the
actual range is very small. But one of the interesting things
is that when you think about these letters, and you look at, there
are two aspects to the range of possibilities. One is people are
saying, "I can do anything." Are they going to be disappointed
when they get here because they say they're a carpenter but they're
not going to get a job as a carpenter because the carpenters'
union is not going to let them work. But also what they're saying
is, "I will do anything," so they are saying, "I
can do this, this, this and this and whatever you let me do in
Chicago, that's fine with me."
So what you first see when they get here is people taking whatever
job they can get and actually being quite satisfied with it, at
first. And it's only the gradual process of people realizing that
they're not going to go too much higher that they begin to get