Interview with Unita Blackwell

Why, why did Black folks leave the South and go north?


I think the reason why the Black folks left the South and went north is due to mechanization, a lot of it, and brutality, violence, all of these things that was going on in the South. And they thought it was better, in, in the, in the North. Um, people would come back with, ah, in a car, or tell them how great it is up here, and say all those kinds of things. But, um, some of us, you know, um, maybe was waiting for the relative to tell us to come, or could we go and stay with them, or, whatever, um, and then we found out that some of the cars was rented for that weekend. We found out that they stayed in little, small apartments, and, um, so, they wasn't much better off. In, quite naturally, some people made it. But, um, for those of us who stayed, um, I feel that you can't run away from, um, institutionalized racism. Some places it's worser than others. Um, we faced, um, much more violence in, in, in the South, I suppose, than some areas. But, um, I'd like to say that, um, it was good for us to face it honestly. We always knew where we stood, in the South. We met the Klans, or whatever, head on. It wasn't polished that things was better. We didn't walk around in the illusion that things was better. Up north, I think they did. I think that's one of the reasons why it was more of rebellions, ah, some people call it riot, I call it rebellion stages, um, in the North than it was in the South. The South was activists. Moving, protesting, so on. In the North, it was more of the rebellious corps rioting and so forth. Because of the disillusion. We know what we had to do. They was frustrated and wasn't too sure. And the anger come out, in, in different ways.