|Between 1940 and 1970, over 5 million
African Americans moved north across the Mason Dixon line, leaving behind
their southern homes for the promise of increased prosperity. Despite the
major social and political significance, this mass migration went largely
undocumented for years. It is only recently that scholars have begun to
examine closely this phenomenon.
Below is an example of the impact migration had on Northern cities during the first half of the 20th Century (when the story of Rainbow Beach begins). The chart shows the increased numbers of black residents in the following cities:
By 1950, only 40% of the Black population lived
on farms and the number of acres operated declined by 37% to 25.7 million
acres. Moreover, in 1950 the United States Census Bureau reported that
for the "non-white" population - 95% of which was Black - only
18.4% were employed as farm workers, with 38% as "blue collar workers"
(mainly industrial) and 34% as "service workers." This transformation
of the social form of the Black community - from a