Thursday, February 17, 2011
Browsing Area book of the Week, February 21, 2011.
Beginning with the Middle Passage, when Africans were forcibly taken from their homeland, Berlin traces the movement and migrations of Black Americans from Colonial times to the present. After slave ships arrived, slaves were transported across the South in huge numbers to work on plantations in the second migration. During the first half of the 20th century there was a similar movement, though voluntary, as millions of sharecroppers and poor farmers, traveled North, all but abandoning some small towns, seeking industrial jobs in the car factories of Michigan and the slaughterhouses of Illinois and Kansas. They found work making tires and glass in Ohio, boilers, submarines and cookware in Wisconsin, steel in Pennsylvania, warships in New York and New Jersey. Finally, a new influx of immigrants appeared from Africa, South America and the Caribbean. All four movements have had a profound effect on Black history and culture, as well as on America itself.