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From "The World is a Ghetto" [University of Florida's AML4685] coursepack, by Dr. Amy Ongiri:

At the turn of the century, 90 percent of all African Americans were living in the south and over 80 percent were rural. Denied the right to vote and receive equitable salaries and terrorized by anti-Black lynching violence that swept the south, a significant portion of the southern rural Black population decided to "vote with their feet" and migrate to northern cities.

By 1970, after the migration had ended, less than 25 percent of the Black population continued to live in southern rural areas. This migratory act of refusal of southern cultural and political life significantly changed not only the cultural formation of Black life but American culture in general as African American poets, playwrights, musicians, intellectuals, and filmmakers theorized the transition from rural to urban.

African Americans' journey in the city from hope to despair and the creation of a unique urban "ghetto" culture continues to provide a prototype for understanding the urban experience throughout the world.

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click to learn more about the group behind The World is a Ghetto