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The Great Migration was the movement of 1.75 million African Americans out of the Southern United States to the North, Midwest and West from 1910 to 1930. Precise estimates of the number of migrants depend on the time frame. African Americans migrated to escape racism and seek employment opportunities in industrial cities. Some historians differentiate between the First Great Migration (1910–40), numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and the Second Great Migration, from 1940 to 1970. In the Second Migration, 5 million or more people relocated, with the migrants moving to more new destinations. Many moved from Texas and Louisiana to California where there were jobs in the defense industry. From 1965–70, 14 states of the South, especially Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, contributed to a large net migration of blacks to the other three Census-designated regions of the United States.
We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. ... We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.
Essay in North Star (Nov. 1858); as quoted in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992) by Derrick Bell, p. 40.