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Isabel Wilkerson Quotes
That's one of the biggest losses, I think, to African American families, is that people, once they left, they turned away from the South. They didn't look back, and they often didn't tell their children about it. They didn't want to talk about it. It was too painful, what they'd gone through and the caste system of the South, which was Jim Crow.
Many immigrants do not talk about what they endured back home. They were fleeing that world, and when they left they didn't want to talk about it because there had been pain and heartbreak under the caste system of the South. They didn't want to burden their children with what they had endured.
It was illegal for black people and white people to play checkers together in Birmingham. And there were even black and white Bibles to swear to tell the truth on in many parts of the South.
What I love about the stories of the Great Migration is that this is not ancient history; this is living history. Most people of color can find someone in their own family who had experienced a migration of some kind, knowing the sense of dislocation, longing and fortitude.
There are certain things that we take for granted that simply would not have existed without the great migration. Motown, for example, would not have existed - it simply would not, because Berry Gordy, the founder of it, his parents had migrated from Georgia to Detroit where he founded Motown, and where did he get his talent?
Well, I'm a daughter of the great migration as, really, the majority of African Americans that you meet in the north and west are products of the great migration. It's that massive. Many of us owe our very existence to the fact that people migrated.
America is made up of people who came from someplace else. Even the Native Americans came over the Bering strait... America is what it is because people came from someplace else.
People leave when life becomes untenable where they are.
Anything that could be conceived of that would separate black people from white people was devised and codified by someone in some state in the South. There were colored and White waiting rooms everywhere, from doctor's offices to the bus stations, as people may already know.
Miles Davis, his parents migrated from Arkansas to Illinois, where he had the luxury of being able to practice for hours upon hours. He never would have been able to do that in the cotton country of Arkansas.
I mean my mother migrated from Georgia -Rome, Georgia, to Washington, D.C., where she then met my father, who was a Tuskegee Airman who was from Southern Virginia. They migrated to Washington and I wouldn't even exist if it were not for that migration. And I brought her back to Georgia, both my parents, actually.
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Hunter S. Thompson
William F. Buckley, Jr.
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