Letter to Family: Immigrant Life in the Modern World

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Dear brother,

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Hope you are doing well there in the south. Since I came here to North America, life has been good. As soon as I landed there, I manage to secure myself a job opportunity in one of the meatpacking industries. I must admit that I made a good decision to leave my home in search of greener pasture and surely as fate would have I manage to secure one (Frazier 2010). You know how life was hard there, the living conditions, unemployment, and racism were becoming unbearable for us as blacks Americans. Most of us who manage to reach here are all working and living a good life; I would wish you were here too to be part of it. However, I am working on a plan for you to come to the North. As you are aware, there were many factors that pushed me to migrate to the North.

The following were some of the issues or factors that pushed my fellow African Americans and me to leave the south for the north. First, as you were aware there was an economic depression in the south owing to the falling prices of cotton. These rendered most of us who worked in cotton plantations jobless. The cotton was no longer fetching prices, and the owner of the plantations was forced to lay off most of the workers, and the process had affected some of us. This forced to look for opportunities elsewhere (Barkan 2013). Secondly, as if prices fall was not enough, the boll weevil insects came destroying the crop again which was no longer selling well. This made life even harder or, in general, the situations worsen. It left us (small-scale farmers) and the owners of large plantations with nothing to sell as the insects almost consumed every plant. We had to look for an alternative to keep life moving. Perhaps I needed to eat, dress and establish my family for a greater future.

The third push factor was the severity of floods which destroyed the farmers crops and houses along the Mississippi River. You are aware that most of these crops and houses belong to us the blacks that are now most of us are in the north. It propelled us more to leave our homeland since we could not wait for another disaster to land on us. Furthermore, there were no strategies to encounter or control such floods as those in power were busy passing laws to protect their interests and not the interests of the general public. Destruction of our crops meant that we would have nothing to eat, nothing to sell to meet our bills; hence, there was a need to look for new opportunities in the new environment. Fourthly, in the South, the Jim Crow laws that segregated hospitals, Railroad cars, hotels, restaurants and even schools brought suffering to African Americans (Barkan 2013). These laws were very harsh and undemocratic in that it locked African Americans from voting in their leaders as it a lot of barriers which hindered them from voting. For instance, these laws required that for African Americans to vote, they have to undergo literacy tests to prove that they are capable of reading, and they were also needed to pay to vote (poll tax). These laws were unbearable for many African Americans, and this forced them to migrate to the north. For the whites, they were not subjected to such laws particularly the literacy test since to them they applied the grandfather clause that stated that an individual can vote because his or her grandfather voted. These were barbaric and intimating laws that meant to spearhead racism.

Apart from these factors that pushed us to the North, there were other factors that also pulled us to the North. These include the following; first, the industries in the North were experiencing an economic boom particularly because the war in Europe started generating demand for goods to be used in war. This economic boom created more job opportunities as there was a need to produce more goods (Barkan 2013). This also called for the production of more raw materials to meet the industrial demand for them. Secondly, since there were many job opportunities and the industries from the North could no longer depend on new European immigrants because the war had restricted their migration from Europe. Therefore, this paved way for us to migrate to the North to fill these job vacancies. Secondly, more job vacancies were created when several young white men together with a few young black men were employed or recruited into the military as America got into the war (Holloway 2007). These job vacancies pulled us to leave our homes and migrate to the North. The war required more soldiers, and that was a great opportunity for the blacks who were suffering in the South to take over their positions as recruitment for such soldiers were done.

Another pull factor was the fact that the Northern industries paid workers well; they paid us high salaries compared to those in the South. For example, the ranges of wages in the south were between $2 and 50 cents per day whereas in the North employees received a salary between $5 and $2 per day. This was a great improvement when compared with what we used to earn in the South. It motivated us even to work harder than we used to do in the South. Our standards of living have tremendously improved also. Moreover, during the time we were leaving, there several strikes since unions started to demand and organize respectable salaries. Owing to such strikes, the African Americans were more willing to replace the sacked workers in the companies experiencing these strikes (Frazier 2010). In addition to these pull factors, there was the active recruitment of African Americans into the packing plants in the North towns particularly Omaha in spite of laws forbidding such recruitment in many states in the south. The packing of meat which was also a huge business in Omaha did not have enough employees to fill the available positions; hence, blacks were required to do so. The good stories about the way blacks were enjoying life in the north towns as reported by the Omaha Monitor, the black newspaper, gave those in the south the urge to go there.

Lastly, I want to tell you that life in the North is a bit easier as most of us can support our other friends, friends at home as well as our families. We manage to adapt the life in the north easily as aid groups, and churches made it easy for us (Barkan 2013). Furthermore, the northern culture was a blended one, and it had features of our culture thus it was easy to fit in. We are doing great despite a few cases of racism. There is also a shaky economic opportunity as African Americans are the ones to face sacking first in case white veteran returns from war. I have hopes that you will join me soon.

Yours faithfully,

Your brother


BIBLIOGRAPHY Barkan, Elliott Robert. 2013. "Immigrants in American History: Arrival, Adaptation, and Integration. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO."

Frazier, John W., Joe T. Darden, and Norah F. Henry. . 2010. "The African Diaspora in the U.S. and Canada at the Dawn of the 21st Century. Albany:." State University of New York Press.

Holloway, Jonathan Scott., and Ben Keppel. 2007. "Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the Twentieth Century. Notre Dame,." University of Notre Dame Press.

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