A New Migration
In the 1900s, America witnessed what sociologists call the 1st and 2nd Great Migrations, during which Black Americans from Southern states during the Sharecropping and Jim Crow eras. I, like many, would argue that these ancestors of mine were not simply fleeing to the Northern States for better jobs and opportunities but for survival. They were refugees seeking asylum as they alluded to noose of the South. Many of these settlers made residence in Bronzeville and later Woodlawn.
Today, Woodlawn is a growing and vibrant neighborhood. Change is a familiar word to us as we embrace the opening of the Obama Presidential Center and various development projects. Once a forgotten community, Woodlawn is now a desired destination for many. But, deep inside its new vibrancy, there is a group of neighbors who mirror the settlers of the Great Migrants a century ago. Though they may not look and sound like my ancestors, they share similar stories and a desire for the promised American Dream.
Today, we will explore how this new wave of residents arrived in Woodlawn and how the community is responding to their presence.