Event Title

Adaptation to Migration: The Great Migration and Its Impact on Chicago Politics from 1900-1920

Presenter Information

Samuel Paul, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center A154

Start Date

10-27-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

The purpose of this research project is to analyze the relationship between racial demographic changes and political district creation by using the Great Migration from 1900-1925 in Chicago as a case study. The goal is to show that as the number of black migrants to Chicago grew, local politicians attempted to change political districts to protect the entrenched political systems in place. This has been done by using Chicago Ward maps between 1900-1930, and comparing them to where many of the new migrants resided in the city of Chicago. As well, newspaper articles from the Chicago Defender, a prominent black newspaper, that addressed these district changes were used to provide the context for these changes. Upon examination of this evidence it becomes clear that black voters were cornholed into specific districts, that gave them a degree of autonomy but also kept them within a handful of districts. Initially these districts were drawn due to a direct hostility towards black voters, but as more migrants arrived to the city, those districts would become vital to new political coalitions in the city. This research asserts that in early 20th century Chicago, the protection of the political machine in was paramount to Chicago politicians, and they would protect this machine with all the means necessary.

Notes

Session II, Panel 9 - Political | Positioning
Moderator: Jennifer Garcia, Assistant Professor of Politics

Major

History

Award

Oberlin College Research Fellowship (OCRF)

Project Mentor(s)

Renee Romano, History; Comparative American Studies; Africana Studies

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Oct 27th, 4:30 PM Oct 27th, 5:50 PM

Adaptation to Migration: The Great Migration and Its Impact on Chicago Politics from 1900-1920

Science Center A154

The purpose of this research project is to analyze the relationship between racial demographic changes and political district creation by using the Great Migration from 1900-1925 in Chicago as a case study. The goal is to show that as the number of black migrants to Chicago grew, local politicians attempted to change political districts to protect the entrenched political systems in place. This has been done by using Chicago Ward maps between 1900-1930, and comparing them to where many of the new migrants resided in the city of Chicago. As well, newspaper articles from the Chicago Defender, a prominent black newspaper, that addressed these district changes were used to provide the context for these changes. Upon examination of this evidence it becomes clear that black voters were cornholed into specific districts, that gave them a degree of autonomy but also kept them within a handful of districts. Initially these districts were drawn due to a direct hostility towards black voters, but as more migrants arrived to the city, those districts would become vital to new political coalitions in the city. This research asserts that in early 20th century Chicago, the protection of the political machine in was paramount to Chicago politicians, and they would protect this machine with all the means necessary.