Selling the american dream myth to black southerners: The chicago defender and the great migration of 1915–1919

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31 Scopus citations

Abstract

After the broken promises of reconstruction, African Americans looked towards the North as a place where their dreams could be fulfilled. From towns and farms they poured into northern cities in pursuit of the American Dream. The apex of this diaspora lasted from 1915–1919 and is referred to as “The Great Migration.” Literature dealing with this exodus is dominated primarily by economic determinism and socio-emotional explanations. While both explanations supply valuable insights, both neglect the role of rhetorical discourse in constructing social reality. This study addresses that omission by showing that the Chicago Defender, a black, nationally distributed newspaper, sought to persuade discontented southern blacks to migrate to the North by waging a migration campaign that utilized the recurring themes found in the American-Dream Myth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-511
Number of pages38
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume62
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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