Yet I am not for refusing entirely to admit them into our Colonies: all that seems to be necessary is, to distribute them more equally, mix them with the English, establish English Schools where they are now too thick settled, and take some care to prevent the practice lately fallen into by some of the Ship Owners, of sweeping the German Goals to make up the number of their Passengers. I say I am not against the Admission of Germans in general, for they have their Virtues, their industry and frugality is exemplary; They are excellent husbandmen and contribute greatly to the improvement of a Country.
I pray God long to preserve to Great Britain the English Laws, Manners, Liberties and Religion notwithstanding the complaints so frequent in Your public papers, of the prevailing corruption and degeneracy of your People; I know you have a great deal of Virtue still subsisting among you, and I hope the Constitution is not so near a dissolution, as some seem to apprehend; I do not think you are generally become such Slaves to your Vices, as to draw down that Justice Milton speaks of when he says that.
In history we find that Piety, Public Spirit and military Prowess have their Flows, as well as their ebbs, in every nation, and that the Tide is never so low but it may rise again; But should this dreaded fatal change happen in my time, how should I even in the midst of the Affliction rejoice, if we have been able to preserve those invaluable treasures, and can invite the good among you to come and partake of them! O let not Britain seek to oppress us, but like an affectionate parent endeavour to secure freedom to her children; they may be able one day to assist her in defending her own — Whereas a Mortification begun in the Foot may spread upwards to the destruction of the nobler parts of the Body.
I fear I have already extended this rambling letter beyond your patience, and therefore conclude with requesting your acceptance of the inclosed Pamphlet from Sir Your most humble servant. Add to Favorites. Benjamin Franklin May 9, Joseph Duplessis. Benjamin Franklin, Oil on canvas. Accession number NPG. Sir, I received your Favour of the 29th. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty. If it rings true for you today, then it must still strike a chord in our American experience.
Griggs Collection, Bequest of Maitland F. Griggs, Image source: Art Resource, NY. These agents were paid a fee for each worker they were able to produce. Agents often promised southerners money and a better life if they signed contracts with northern companies.
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News of northern opportunities also filled the pages of newspapers such as the Chicago Defender. This paper printed photographs, cartoons, and even poems about the great advantages awaiting those who went north. Migrants' letters to their relatives were perhaps most effective in generating "moving fever," particularly if the letter contained money or other concrete evidence of success in the North.
Once migration began, it became a self-propelling movement. However, migrants rarely left on the spur of the moment; for most, moving to the North required time, planning, and money. In this painting, Jacob Lawrence has shown the viewer a glimpse of the journey.
People carry large packages and follow the direction of the flying birds, emphasizing the idea of migration. The people are grouped into a triangular shape, creating a dynamic composition within the simple, barren landscape.
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The line of birds connects the earth to the sky. The Migration of the Negro, panel 14, Casein tempera on hardboard, 18 x 12 in. After Reconstruction blacks in the South were stripped of political protection. Southern states adopted "Jim Crow" laws, which imposed poll taxes, examinations, property qualifications, and grandfather clauses limiting the ability of blacks to vote. Laws also required blacks to use separate public amenities, including separate educational and transportation facilities.
It was difficult, if not impossible, for African Americans in the South to demand justice. One migrant from Virginia said that in the South blacks had to be very careful not to offend anyone, "because they knowed that the least little thing you would do, they would kill ya. In southern courts, blacks were not afforded the same legal protection as whites and they had little access to legal defense. They were given summary trials that all too often resulted in a death sentence and execution.
Many migrants cited these social conditions as a reason for their move to the North. In this painting, two African Americans are receiving a verdict from the judge who towers over them from behind the bench. The defendants are anonymous, and the judge appears to avoid eye contact with them. Lawrence positioned the viewer behind the defendants as though he or she is witnessing the court case.
The Migration of the Negro , panel 49, The majority of southern blacks migrated to the North with optimism; however many were disappointed to find that it had its own brand of discrimination. The constant influx of black migrants into northern cities led to unprecedented levels of hostility on the part of northern whites. Restrictive housing, living, and working policies abounded. The city of San Francisco sent experts to the Midwest to study techniques and strategies of exclusion.
Widespread unrest over these conditions was unleashed during summer race riots in This panel shows a public dining space in the North. Blacks and whites are divided by a yellow barrier that zigzags through the center of the painting. The yellow dividing line is emphasized by the tilted table tops and chairs situated against the background of the restaurant floor.
Tables and chairs are placed to reinforce the diners' separation.
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The Migration of the Negro, panel 50, Casein tempera on hardboard 18 x 12 in. Many white workers in the North feared the competition for jobs that was created by the migration of blacks from the South. Not only did black workers compete against white workers for jobs on a day-to-day basis, but blacks were often used as strikebreakers during strikes organized by white labor unions.
In some cases, blacks did not realize that they were being brought in as strikebreakers and would sometimes quit upon learning the circumstances. In other cases, blacks were so desperate for work that they deliberately chose to migrate to certain cities where they knew they could be hired as strikebreakers. In , when an aluminum plant in East St. Louis hired black workers during a strike, white workers rioted, terrorizing blacks on the street and setting fire to black homes. Racial antagonisms, resulting indirectly from the labor competition caused by the Great Migration, continued to cause riots throughout the country during what was known as the "Red Summer" of In this painting, Jacob Lawrence pared down the composition and used diagonal shapes and movements to heighten the impression of action and create a powerful visual statement.
Lawrence also emphasized the central figure's physical gesture by stretching his arms across the picture plane, partially blocking visual access into the scene. The Migration of the Negro, panel 38, Railroad companies regularly issued their employees passes for free travel, and many southern blacks used their passes to migrate north. Once in the North, ninety percent of southern migrants worked as unskilled laborers.
Many worked long hours on the railroads. The jobs available to southern migrants were often backbreaking and monotonous, with low pay, and little chance for advancement. Blacks were excluded from labor unions, and they had few means to rectify their working situation. Jacob Lawrence cropped and framed this image to engage the viewer directly in the scene. Nails are poised in the tracks as if to imply more work.
Together the metal, wood, and earth create a harsh landscape.
The Migration of the Negro , panel 58, After Reconstruction , southern educational facilities were segregated and schools for blacks were poorly maintained, meagerly equipped, and overcrowded. Although the school system in the North was also segregated, here the schools for blacks had better equipment and more staff than their southern counterparts.
Northern states also had compulsory education laws, which encouraged students to stay in school, instead of dropping out and working as southern blacks often did. Nearly twice as many black students completed high school in the North than in the South. In this image, Lawrence composed the classroom environment as a "landscape" where the importance of education and growth, especially for girls, is emphasized. The Migration of the Negro, panel 53, During the Great Migration, an element of tension reverberated between northern African Americans and African American's who had migrated from the South.
Northern blacks were concerned about the impact that the newcomers would have on life in the northern cities. In addition to health and housing issues, northern blacks worried that discrimination and physical restrictions would increase in response to the great influx of southern migrants. Many northern blacks also felt that southern migrants would not "fit in" in northern urban life.
They often urged newcomers to exchange their rural dress and manners for more "acceptable" behavior and styles. Organizations such as Chicago's National Urban League distributed flyers telling migrants that if they wished to be accepted in northern cities they had to abandon their rural fashions and customs and adopt the proper dress and actions of city dwellers. In this work, Jacob Lawrence portrayed a stylish couple against a background of a city building.