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27. Influences on Migration Patterns Continued

[Male voice] I just finished re-looking at "Roots[?]," you know the series that was on TV. You know, it made me angry twenty-five years ago and it made me angry when I looked at it last week. I sat and watched-I looked at one episode-there were six episodes and I sat and watched one episode every night. And, in a way it's sort of dated, but there was so much stuff that I would move to the North for pennies, you know, the kinds of things that were depicted and this was a TV program so it's probably five times, ten times worse. But the first chance they got they were out. Even if you worked in the stockyards cleaning up it was still better; you could walk out, walk down the street and go home. Even if it was a hovel, rather than asking permission for everything, possibly getting strung-up just for the hell of it, somebody's fun. You know it's pretty simple, actually pretty simple when you look at it from that certain viewpoint.

Well that's why in some ways, one of the interesting things about the Second Great Migration, is to ask first of all why didn't it happen so much in the sixties, ___ the role of jobs, until those jobs were ______________ and then second of all why did only a small number of people go, why didn't more people go.

And it's partly, partly that there were still many people who saw land ownership as something that was possible. And the dream of land ownership was a very powerful, powerful factor.

It's also tells you that in large parts of the black South, there was a certain amount of autonomy, that a lot of the stuff didn't affect people in many ways, that they were able to live their lives in peace and quiet by not dealing with white people.

One of the things that's interesting again about how you think about southern history is the questions of what the influence of lynching was on migration patterns. And one guy, said OK, I can do this, I'm a sociologist, I can do this. He came up with a model and an equation and did a really good job. And he was going to figure out which counties had lynchings and when and then study how many people left each county after it had a lynching; figure out how much lynching affected migration. It makes a whole lot of sense. The problem was that he didn't have The Defender, and one of things that we know, is--because of Charles Johnson, who was a very good observer, is that when there was a lynching described in The Defender, migration increased from different parts of the South. So, it wasn't necessarily the fact that a lynching had to happen in your county, but if you had access to The Defender and you would get the description of one of these lynchings, and when you talk about television what's interesting is The Defender was like television which is that the description of lynchings tended to be very sensationalist. They were exaggerated so that when you would read an article in The Defender, as bad as it was, The Defender made it sound much, much worse. The crowd would be multiplied by ten. If you really had a feel for how you get people to read newspapers similar to Hurst and Pulitzer. That was the style at the time, yellow journalism. And so, you would have a lynching in Texas and people from Alabama would start going north.

[Female voice] One of the things, those of you _________, those of you who took the course last summer, tracking of the migration. And also if you think about the _____ changing in that sense its ______, its ________, omnipresent danger and in some ways it's more omnipresent because there isn't any specific figure. It's just the sense of omnipresent violence. You can start to see the ways in that it doesn't have to be specific instance; it's the whole ideology that is surrounding it.

Oh yeah, go ahead.

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