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The Black Migration and Newark: Price’s “The Afro-American Community of Newark, 1917-1947: A Social History” PowerPoint Presentation
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The Black Migration and Newark: Price’s “The Afro-American Community of Newark, 1917-1947: A Social History”. Newark on Eve of Black Migration. Newark was thriving industrial center. Annexation plans failed. Zoning rules locked in current patterns of land use.

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The Black Migration and Newark: Price’s “The Afro-American Community of Newark, 1917-1947: A Social History”

newark on eve of black migration
Newark on Eve of Black Migration
  • Newark was thriving industrial center.
  • Annexation plans failed.
  • Zoning rules locked in current patterns of land use.
  • High pollution and illness rates among poor.
  • Rising taxes and falling tax base.
  • Losing middle and upper class residents to suburbs.
  • Massive housing shortage.
themes african americans in newark before war ii
Themes: African Americans in Newark Before War II
  • Moved North in search of industrial jobs (esp. after drop of Euro migration).
  • Though discrimination was present, there was still a (relatively) high rate of employment among Blacks.
  • Type of jobs tended to be industrial and low skilled.
  • Discrimination kept Blacks out of unions and from rising to higher paid positions.
  • Because they were the poorest and newest group, they tended live in neighborhoods with worst housing and near industrial areas.
  • Government policies made things worse.
black migration and newark
Black Migration and Newark
  • Starting in 1916 blacks started to come to Newark in increasing numbers.
  • B/t 1915 and 1920, Black population increased in Newark by 80%.
  • “Large numbers worked in factories such as Flochart Foundry, Coe’s Steel Company, Carnegie Steel Company, Benjamin Atha Steel Company and Worthington Pump Company.”
  • “Moreover, with European immigration virtually choked off by the war, the state’s industrial interests actively encourage the migration of blacks to cities such as Newark.”

Source: Price

euro and black migration
Euro and Black Migration
  • Quota on European immigration in mid-1920s and need push to complete several large scale public works projects, such as Penn Station, the city subway, and the Wanaque reservoir system, many Newark industries were short of unskilled workers.
  • Employers actively recruited Black workers from the South.
  • From 1920 to 1930, the number of Blacks employed in unskilled factory work (mainly men) and domestic service (mainly women) doubled.
  • For the few years prior to the beginning of the Depression, Blacks were fully employed.

Source: Schwartz: “Roth, Race and Newark”

employment
Employment
  • 1920: 4% of population was Black (17,000 Blacks on total).
  • Total Employment was 9,118 (54% of Black pop.)
  • 1939: 9% Black, Total Employment, 8468 (53%)
  • Today, Newark PMSA has employment/pop. is about 60%.
  • 1940 it was about 55.7% for whole pop.
housing
Housing
  • Unlike Harlem, substandard housing conditions were significant proportion of housing units before migration.
  • In the Third Ward (Central Ward) living conditions had been declining for many years: housing stock had been tenement housing for other immigrant groups: Germans, Russians and Jews.
  • Zoning Plan of 1920, “locked in” 3rd ward: allowing mixture of stores, tenements, factories, and stables” making situation worse for new arrivals.
  • The city itself was out of housing.
the rise of the ghetto
The Rise of the Ghetto
  • Definition: Residential and geographic clustering due to low social and economic standing.
  • Rise of Newark ghetto in 1920s
  • “Between 1910 and 1920 the general shortage of housing in Newark, racial discrimination, and poverty made settlement outside the central city more difficult.”
  • White sentiment towards Black influx reinforced patterns of concentration.

Source: Price

government policies in newark
Government Policies in Newark
  • Lack of annexation failed to put Newark into a regional political framework with the neighboring towns in Essex and Union counties.
  • Then, Newark adopted the commissioner/mayor form of government which intended to be an improvement over corrupt ward politics.
  • Under the new commissioner/mayor plan, there were now only city-wide elections for five commissioners: Public Works, Public Safety, Parks and Public Property, Revenue and Finance and Public Affairs. Then the five Commissioners selected the mayor.
  • Under this system Blacks had little political power and were essentially disenfranchised since they were still a city-wide minority.
  • With few civil service statutes, the commissioners ran their domains for personal gain and gain of associates linked to the party machines, businessmen, the Catholic Church, and bootleggers, for example.

Schwartz: “Roth, Race and Newark”