Legacy of the Great Migrations and Segregation: 1930s and Today

As the title suggests, we will examine the effects of segregation in Chicago on the settlement of African American migrants coming from the south. The division of the city along race lines, physically and politically, impacted how residents of the south side of Chicago experienced the Great Depression. After that, we will look at the continuing patterns of segregation in Chicago neighborhoods today.

All of the pictures on this website came from the Farm Security Administration and Office of Wartime Information. During the 1930s, photographers from the government sent out to document all aspects of American life. Other posters and maps come from artists employed by the government or university scholars.

As you click through the exhibits below, consider how the intersections of poverty and racism created a completely different experience for African Americans during the Great Depression. Take note of the ways communities around the country worked together and supported one another. Think critically about how the United States and local governments supported or encouraged segregation. Then, given all this context, ask yourself what has changed today - and what hasn't?


Leah Joslyn and Erinn Voas created this exhibit as a part of HIS 364 at Cornell College in 2015. All further questions should be directed to Catherine Stewart at cstewart@cornellcollege.edu