Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 18, 1917

On August 18, 1917, the Norfolk Journal and Guide featured a front page article on the “Changes Wrought by the Exodus” of African Americans leaving the South for the North. “What is the cause of the exodus?,” the paper asked. “The shortest answer is this: Oppression and an inadequate wage.” The articles continued, “The present exodus seems to be thoroughly planned and there is no Negro leadership competent to stop it. Letters are coming back from many of those already gone, and whether the statements contained therein are true or not they are alluring. This and the impelling effect of the exodus will certainly carry great numbers away who might not now contemplate going.” The Chicago Defender and other black newspapers in the North played an important role in encouraging the Great Migration.

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