The World They Came To: Chicago

Background Reading

Browse the "Migration" section of the African-American Mosaic and read the pages on Nicodemus and Chicago.

You might record your observations either on a sheet of paper or in a Word document.

Choose ONE of the following activities:

Activity #1: Identifying Motivations of Migrants

Read the seven letters sent to the Chicago Defender in 1917. As you read the letters, keep the following questions is mind:

Activity #2: Evaluating the Experiences of Migrants to the "Promised Land"

Read the summaries of interviews with migrants to Chicago conducted by Charles Johnson, research investigator for the Chicago Urban League. As you read Johnson's summaries, keep the following questions in mind:


The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture

"Sir I Will Thank You with All My Heart": Seven Letters from the Great Migration

"We Tho[ugh]t State Street Would Be Heaven Itself": Black Migrants Speak Out

Additional Resources for Further Research

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords

Read biographies of Chicago journalists Robert S. Abbott and Ida B. Wells and the full transcript of Stanley Nelson's film The Black Press for more information about the role of the Black press in the migration of Southerners to Chicago.

The African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920

Use the "Mississippi" and "Chicago" as keywords in "Search by Keyword" function to identify additional manuscript and printed text and images that describe the experiences of African Americans in Mississippi and Chicago.