by Carole Marks
Using accommodation models and neo-Marxist labor market theory, sociologist Marks contradicts many common conclusions about the mass black South-to-North movement from 1910 to 1930. The migration was no spontaneous move of rural peasants whose low-level skills relegated them to a permanent underclass. It was, she argues, a highly selective migration orchestrated mostly by northern industry and drawing a fledgling class of artisans and urban workers. Recruited by capitalists as cheap and disposable workers, blacks were trapped by institutional barriers, not skill levels. Not all elements of her argument are equally convincing, but scholars of the Great Migration will have to reckon with her work for a long time to come. Recommended for Afro-American, labor, and migration collections.
Paperback: 209 pages