American Black Essay Research Paper Midterm Essay

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American Black Essay, Research Paper Midterm Essay #2: Topic #2 Irish and African Americans In the period of vast immigration into the United States and within it, the Irish and African Americans are very closely related in their experiences as immigrants and their experiences during and after their immigration. Their origins, flows, economic incorporation in the United States, settlement and socio-political adaptation was a little different but it had some similarities. Both groups were pushed and pulled out of their native lands by the same type of factors, and the problems that they faced were similar. The Push Pull theory and the Network Theory can explain their experiences as immigrants. The Irish migration to the United States was caused by many factors, but there were

a few major ones that caused most Irish citizens to consider the migration to the new world. The Irish came from Ireland to escape many hardships that plagued them. First and foremost was the potato famine that was wide spread throughout Ireland. A fungus ate away most of the potato crop (I, 146) and since most of the economy was based on agriculture and the potato crop was a key product, the economy took a tremendous hit. Widespread unemployment, food shortages ran rampant throughout the country. Also the colonization of Ireland by the English government did not help the situation at all. The government was oppressive and did very little to ease the problems of Ireland during this harsh time. But also outside factors pulled the Irish to come to America. Labor recruiters from the

United States ran ad campaigns and sent recruiters to Ireland to get the citizens to pack up and leave for America. They promised steady jobs, high wages and a quality of life that was far superior to that of Irelands (I, 146). So not only were the Irish being pushed out of the country by hardships, but also they were being pulled into America by the industrial surge occurring in the United States, a surge that promised the Irish a better and happier life. The African American migration was different from that of the Irish in terms of geographic location, but the factors leading to their decisions to move from their homeland to more prosperous areas was very similar. With the end of Reconstruction in the past, Blacks were forced to become sharecroppers in the Deep South of the

U.S. This way of life was very hard for them. Even after being freed, former slaves remained under the control of white landlords (II, 341). Sharecropping caused the farmers to gain more and more debt as the years progressed, since they had to buy all their supplies from the company store , which was owned by the white landlord. Plus they had to give the landlord a very large cut of the crops (II, 342). This factor pushed African Americans out of the South. But the rise in industry in the North pulled many Blacks to migrate to Northern Industrial cities like Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and Chicago. With World War I the amount of European immigrants coming into the country fell. The amount of immigrants fell from 1,200,000 in 1914 to only 110,000 in 1918 (II, 342). Industrial

companies became alarmed at this development and immediately sent labor recruiters into the southern states. The African Americans met this demand for labor in full force. Also a black owned newspaper based in Chicago called the Chicago Defender, informed blacks of the new opportunities in the industrial cities and that the old way in the south was wrong (II, 343). These factors pulled African Americans to the vast industries of the North. The Irish flow into the United States was very fast and steady. Irish citizens were very eager to leave the country and head for the U.S. since most could not bear the harsh conditions of life in Ireland. Most of the immigrants were young and many were women. Many of the older generation stayed behind since they felt that they could not be any