Rent Parties, Old Settlers and Jitterbugs: The Everyday Life of African Americans after Their Exodus to Northern Cities as Preserved in Oral Histories, 1917–1945

Patryk Mamczur


The author aims to portray the Great African-American Migration by showing the everyday life of the migrants. Starting from presenting the diff erent ways of migrating North, he later describes conditions in which the migrants lived in the Northern cities, relationships with their non-Black neighbours and with the so-called Old Settlers (meaning African Americans who had lived in the North before the Great Migration), their economic struggle, ways of overcoming the problems, as well as the distinctive culture which the migrants eventually developed, and the ferment which these cultural changes created in the whole American society. The narration is based mostly on the oral histories collected from numerous Northern cities: Albany (New York), Chicago (Illinois), Cincinnati (Ohio), Cleveland (Ohio), Detroit (Michigan), Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and New York (New York).

Słowa kluczowe: United States of America, American history, American culture, African-American history, African-American culture, migration, everyday life, oral history

Primary Sources

Burke, B., Elmer Thomas, MSS55715: BOX A707, Library of Congress.

Byrd, F., Harlem Rent Parties, MSS55715: BOX A721, Library of Congress.

Hubert, L. C., The Whites Invade Harlem, Library of Congress.

Swenson, M., Southern Customs, MSS55715: BOX A724, Library of Congress.

West, D., Amateur Night, MSS55715: BOX A725, Library of Congress.

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