Although African Americans have lived in cities since the colonial era, the transformation of rural blacks into a predominantly urban people is largely a twentieth century phenomenon. Only during World War I did African Americans move into cities in large numbers, and only during World War II did more blacks reside in cities than in the countryside. In their quest for full citizenship rights, economic democracy, and release from an oppressive rural past, black southerners turned to urban migration and employment in the nation's industrial sector as a new "Promised Land".In this ground-breaking text, the work of fifteen top scholars provides a truly interdisciplinary examination of these transformations in African American urban life. Bringing together urban history; contemporary social, cultural, and policy research; and comparative perspectives on race, ethnicity, and nationality within and across national boundaries, the editors have organized this innovative volume in a three part structure ideal for classroom use. The first section provides historical perspectives, the second employs social scientific approaches, and the third offers compares the African American experience to those of other ethnic groups in twentieth-century America using the lens of race and class.

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