April 26, 2011
The “Great Migration” of Appalachia
The region known as Appalachia during the early nineteen-forties and fifties experienced a great spread of population outward toward the north. This population spread, also known as out-migration, would become an ideal situation for some, but an urban impoverished nightmare for others. This out-migration from Appalachia came to be called the “Great Migration” named partially because over three million Appalachian people would migrate into the north. The people occupied cities like Cleveland, Ohio and more substantially Akron, Ohio. These hard working men and women, along with their families, would travel the long journey northward. Their journeys were motivated by economic conditions in their region along with other influential reasons. This out-migration would cause and contribute to the many problems that face Appalachia still today. This out-migration pattern can be attributed to creating an awareness of many educational, consumer, and healthcare expectations that was not known to the people of Appalachia prior to their travels.
The events leading up to the “Great Migration” are events that face Americans even within the realms of today’s society. These events were largely based on technological and mechanical innovations. In the Appalachian community, the lack of educational opportunities, healthcare, and the switch for many cities in the usage of coal to electric energy would cause migration northward. This would become a massive exodus from the hills by the people and became one of the largest internal migrations in history. Assumptions and stereotypes held by the northern populations would cause conflict during these migrations. Many of the mountain people would move from their mountain community to the same northern city or town. Use of census data was the only way for the government and researchers to evaluate this migration pattern. After the census was released many researchers...