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Black people contested the boundaries of American democracy, demanded their rights as American citizens, and asserted their very humanity in ways both subtle and dramatic.Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom.
They frequently endured residential segregation, substandard living conditions, job discrimination, and in many cases, the hostilities of white residents.
Older black residents sometimes resented the presence of the new migrants, as neighborhoods became increasingly overcrowded and stigmatized as ghettos.
The war did, however, have a significant impact on African Americans, particularly the majority who lived in the South.
The war years coincided with the Great Migration, one of the largest internal movements of people in American history.
Their condition worsened in 1915–16 as a result of a boll weevil infestation that ruined cotton crops throughout the South.
These economic obstacles were made worse by social and political oppression.
Between 19, roughly 500,000 black southerners packed their bags and headed to the North, fundamentally transforming the social, cultural, and political landscape of cities such as Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.
The Great Migration would reshape black America and the nation as a whole.
But life in the North was nevertheless exciting and liberating.
No longer subjected to the indignities of Jim Crow and the constant threat of racial violence, southern migrants experienced a new sense of freedom.