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How the Great Migration Changed America

Between 1910 and 1970, 6 million Black Americans migrated northward from a deeply segregated post-war South. Examine the history and impact of the Great Migration, from the rise of gospel music to the birth of state lotteries, and beyond.
How the Great Migration Changed America is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 7.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Preliminary Review Admittedly, I have just bought the course and have finished the first lecture, so this is very early feedback. I found it fascinating and extremely informative and look forward to the rest of the course. Since I tend to watch the hundreds of TGC courses I have at 1.5 speed, the professor's delivery is important. I found Dr Baldwin's delivery to be effective, with just the right amount of hand movement to reinforce what he was saying. The online graphics were also very supportive and his personal connection to the subject was a definite plus. I learned a lot in the 20 minutes (at 1.5 speed) and expect to learn a lot more about this important subject in the coming lectures.
Date published: 2024-06-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Great Migration North Along with Jim Crow Laws After viewing over 1000 TGC lecture sets since 2002, The course, 'How the Great Migration Changed America', definitely created sparks. First, I felt Professor Davarian L. Baldwin presented the course not as a venue of learning but as a pulpit for rage. The delivery method reminded me of 1966 Army basic training, inciting anger. This reviewer has 8 decades of living in Detroit area and a few year in Chicago during the Dr. Martin Luther King riots of 68, so my knowledge of the times and events are real. The Professor does present a significantly interesting Jim Crow chronology, which as a northerner I am keenly aware of the devastating effects on African Americans and the deep-rooted discrimination and oppression. It is through historical education, understanding the hegemony of the times and locations that some learning can occur. As a country who trumpets freedom for all, locally and globally, the Jim Crow era is definitely a stain on our Constitution and a grevious deviation from our way of life and moral fabric of society. This course which will leave an impact and hopefully push the learner to engage in local, state and national discussions and actions. I do recommend the course.
Date published: 2024-06-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from CRT If I were looking for help promoting a product or service using a fifteen second commercial, this would be a great source of inspiration. I viewed the course from both academic and professional/personal experiences. Let me start over. I don’t give stars. If you see this as 32 stars, great. If not, that’s okay too. Great Courses Dashboard shows I have listened to 4000 plus lectures. I have been to several black countries, as well as 40 years of law enforcement. I have helped build 3 jungle hospitals and helped deliver 100s of tons of food, medical supplies and other equipment to these nations. Let’s start there. 1. I, personally, would have begun by admitting that if you are light complexed, you have a 100% nexus to slavery. I have a number of problems with (blacks?) (African Americans?) (trafficked human beings?) as slaves. Prior to the big shut down, there were 400 languages in South Africa alone that had never been translated. At the beginning of the 19th century, both the state of New York and the state of Connecticut acknowledged that (blacks?) ) (African American?) (trafficked human beings?) had no known language or skill set. Check the lecture on the Amistad. There are at least three lectures on Columbus that say the same thing. 2. Most of the known world at the time would have given you all the help you wanted, delivered to your doorstep. The great famine was going on. 3. Personal and Professional experience tells a different story. Narcissism would be a more likely scenario for the great migration. It’s more pleasing to the ears to say you are from New York City or Chicago than to say you came from Headlight Georgia. 4. He mentioned religion but forgot to mention William Seymour. I often refer to him as one-eyed. Actually he had both eyes but was blind in one. I don’t remember the technical name for his problem but he had no depth perception in the other eye. While preaching he wore a shoe box over his head. He would become sick (think motion sickness) when people in the audience began moving. Seymour founded the Church of God in Christ. His church barred light complexed persons from any position of authority. 5. In discussing WW2, he forgot to point out the real discrimination. A group of men who were not allowed to marry or vote. If they left the country for any reason other than military service, they would not be allowed in. Their entire families were in concentration camps. They were put there by FDR. The group earned over 85000 awards for bravery. They were the Japanese who fought for the United States. You can add another 22000 to that list for the Chinese from Hawaii who fought for the USA during the war. 6. He forgot to mention that all federal contracts are given first to minority owned businesses. 7. He forgot to mentioned that according to History Channel, 90% of (blacks?) (trafficked human beings?) (African Americans?/) entered the country in the Plantation State, not the south. History Channel also said over 35% were free men. That’s just a few problems I have with his course. I might add that bringing people from different continents together would be like firing off a nuclear bomb. Each would have bought their own diseases with them and neither had medical knowledge.
Date published: 2024-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tough Subject but Must See This course begins with a warning: “This content contains graphic descriptions and images of violence, which may be disturbing and may not be suitable for minors or other audiences.” This course is an excellent companion course to African American History: from Emancipation through Jim Crow by Dr. Hasan Jeffries. Each is disturbing to hear. However, one cannot understand who one is without first understanding what one has been. These are important courses for every American, subject to the warning provided. Interestingly, Dr. Baldwin chooses to tell the story largely through the arts, particularly music. He devotes lectures to jazz, gospel music, and the Negro baseball leagues. He shows how each reflects the challenges, conditions, and aspirations of the migrants (yes, even the Negro baseball leagues, which represent far more than just a pastime). This approach works well. Dr. Baldwin is both an academic and also an accomplished speaker. I was impressed with his ability to address controversial, even explosive, topics in a calm, scholarly, factual, manner, never with personal animus or political agenda (although the last few minutes of the last lecture approach a political agenda). I am disappointed that this course is the only one that The Great Courses (TGC) provides from him and even this course is only 12 lectures long. I hope to hear much more from him in future TGC courses. The course guide is slightly above average by TGC standards. It is well-written in paragraph format as opposed to bullet or outline format. The course guide averages about 8 pages per lecture, which is slightly more than TGC average. However, it lacks what could have been useful graphics such as maps of migration trails (Dr. Baldwin’s term). Further, there is no appendix containing a timeline or biographical notes, which would have been useful. There is no bibliography in an appendix but there is a reading list provided for each lecture. I used the video streaming of this course. Although there are some useful graphics in the video, most content can be conveyed in audio-only mode such as while driving or exercising. The course was published in 2024.
Date published: 2024-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting course! This is an interesting course! I have seen a few documentaries touchbase the story of "Great Migration" before, but this course details the complete story from different perspectives: historical context, race, music, sports, commerce, politics, religion etc. Professor has excellent, easy-to-follow delivery style and seems very knowledgeable about the subject. I'd recommend this to history buffs, history students and the like. Thanks Great Courses to produce this one!
Date published: 2024-06-23
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Overview

How the Great Migration Changed America unpacks the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of one of America’s most consequential migration events. With Davarian Baldwin at the helm, the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College, you’ll evaluate the scale, scope, and role of the Great Northward Migration in US history. Learn about the harsh realities of life in the North, from redlining to Red Summer. Tour bustling Black neighborhoods in Chicago and New York City. Explore tensions between new migrants and established Black residents. Learn about the rise of betting, Black baseball leagues, gospel, and jazz. And evaluate the migration’s long-term ideological and political impact from the early 20th century to today.

About

Davarian L. Baldwin

These migrants and the world that they made have profoundly shaped the America that we have inherited.

INSTITUTION

Trinity College

Davarian L. Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and the founding director of the Smart Cities Research Lab at Trinity College. He is also the author of Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life and a coeditor of Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem. The Marguerite Casey Foundation awarded him its Freedom Scholar designation, and his commentaries have been featured in outlets such as NBC News, PBS, and The Washington Post.

By This Professor

How the Great Migration Changed America
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How the Great Migration Changed America

Trailer

The Great Migration Is My Story and Yours

01: The Great Migration Is My Story and Yours

Between 1910 and 1970, 6 million Black men, women, and children left the South, during the Great Migration. Survey how Black resettlement changed American history and culture. Learn about the kinds of opportunities—economic but also existential—that pulled so many migrants northward.

28 min
Exodus: Why Migrants Quit the South

02: Exodus: Why Migrants Quit the South

After Reconstruction collapsed, oppressive Black codes, extrajudicial killing, sexual violence, and segregation ruled in the South. See how Black Americans endured these evils. Unpack the uniquely dire economic, political, and social conditions that drove so many migrants away from “New South” cities and get to know the famous entrepreneur, Madam C. J. Walker.

28 min
Racial Violence in Migrant Cities

03: Racial Violence in Migrant Cities

Beginning with the champion boxing match that foreshadowed it all, investigate the scale and scope of the racial violence that plagued cities across the United States in 1919. Evaluate the long-term impact of America’s “Red Summer” through housing covenants and city zoning policies in Chicago. Learn how Black Americans rallied against the threat.

29 min
How Chicago Became the Black Metropolis

04: How Chicago Became the Black Metropolis

Zero in on the great midwestern city of Chicago and its Bronzeville neighborhood. From theaters to newspapers, learn about Black civic life, art, journalism, recreation, leisure, and activism in the Windy City. Explore the tensions that emerged between established Black residents and new migrants within Chicago’s burgeoning Black community.

30 min
Harlem, the Mecca of the Great Migration

05: Harlem, the Mecca of the Great Migration

Turn your attention eastward toward the sights and sounds of New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Survey Harlem’s transformation over the first half of the 20th century, touring its streets, newspapers, and cooperative organizations, before getting to know the controversial real estate developer who turned the ward into a major Black population center.

28 min
The New Negro and the Harlem Renaissance

06: The New Negro and the Harlem Renaissance

The famous Harlem Renaissance served as the locus of the so-called “New Negro” movement, a global reawakening that stretched from the streets of Chicago to postwar peace conventions in France. Spend some time with the artists, writers, scholars, and activists—Black and white, radical and “respectable”—caught up in and influenced by the movement.

28 min
Blueswomen and Black Filmmakers Take the Stage

07: Blueswomen and Black Filmmakers Take the Stage

The Great Migration transformed popular culture. See how white racial resentment manifested in mainstream advertisements, shows, songs, and films. Get acquainted with a brand-new Black cultural aesthetic forged in the thick of population movement and mixing. Dive into the themes, personalities, and tensions present in Black media in the early 20th century.

28 min
Jazz as the Music of the Migration

08: Jazz as the Music of the Migration

Tracing Louis Armstrong’s journey from fish fries in New Orleans to famous clubs in Harlem, explore jazz in the 1920s. Unpack the clashes that emerged between established Black residents and migrant jazz performers in cinema orchestra pits and beyond. Understand how an ascendant musical genre reflected the joys and horrors of the migration experience.

28 min
How Migrants Made Gospel Music

09: How Migrants Made Gospel Music

Where did gospel music—new and controversial in the early 20th century—come from? How did its sound evolve as it leapfrogged across migration chains? Enter a world of slow-dragging sound, buffet flats, expressive worship, and lecherous record companies to see just how the Great Migration environment produced today’s soundtrack for sacred worship.

27 min
Negro League Baseball and Black Lotteries

10: Negro League Baseball and Black Lotteries

Professional Black sports leagues proliferated in the wake of an unspoken color ban in 1887. Discover how the Negro Baseball League was founded. Get to know the characters—like Andrew “Rube” Foster and Josh Gibson—who propelled the league into national prominence. Explore the elusive lottery systems that financed it all.

27 min
The Depression Reshapes the Great Migration

11: The Depression Reshapes the Great Migration

The Great Depression hit Black Americans uniquely hard, compounding misery across tangled racial and class lines. Survey the scale of economic devastation from south to north. Reevaluate President Roosevelt’s New Deal program with Black Americans in mind. Explore the alternatives to capitalist democracy expressed in the so-called Proletarian Turn.

29 min
The Great Migration during World War II

12: The Great Migration during World War II

As a second migrant wave washed up against Northern cities in the 1940s, Black America reached a breaking point. Why did wartime prosperity stall in Black neighborhoods, and why weren't respectability politics paying off? Explore the wartime home front landscape, from zoot suiters to the early Civil Rights movement.

33 min