The Great Migration


In the latest episode of Many Rivers To Cross, the Great Migration was briefly discussed. It got me to thinking about my family who pretty much all left the south in the early 1900s. I wrote an earlier series about the Graham side of my family and their move from Montgomery, Alabama to Detroit in 1917. You can read about that at these links:

To continue the story, I will start by writing about my Grandfather Albert B. Cleage and his siblings move from Athens, TN to Indianapolis, IN and finally to Detroit, Michigan, with mention of Uncle Edward Cleage and his family who remained in Athens.

Next I will cover my Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage and the Reed family’s move from Lebanon, KY first to Indianapolis in the 1890s and on to Benton Harbor and Detroit, Michigan, with Uncle Hugh (Reed) Averette moving out to Los Angeles California.

Finally I will write about Eliza and Dock Allen’s children leaving Montgomery for Chicago, Detroit and New York.

I wanted to add my husband’s family, not sure if I will write them up soon though. They started in Dermott, AR. Catherine Williams went to Seattle, WA. Vennie Jean Williams went to Arkadelphia. Sterling Williams spent time in Little Rock before going to Chicago. Chester and Theola (my in-laws) moved to St. Louis, MO. Members of both the Davenports and the Williams migrated to Chicago.  Many relatives remained in rural AR, although none of my husband’s aunts or uncles.

As I write I will probably come up with stories within stories. This should provide me with writing material for weeks!

To see other posts I’ve written about this series , click this link My Responses to Many Rivers to CrossYou will also find links to other bloggers responding to this series by sharing their own personal family stories.

For those interested, I found the map I used at this site about the Great Migration.

12 thoughts on “The Great Migration

    1. When one spends 12 hours a day on the computer for years on end, skills are bound to improve as general health deteriorates. Even my grandchildren are impressed.

  1. I can do some good with this map. I didn’t realize The Great Migration in terms of looking at it on a map. This is Great, can’t wait to hear all abt it!

  2. This is really good, I can’t wait to read the rest of your stories. They are so interesting. Love the map, it’s a great idea.

  3. Thank you for these links. I am going back to read these fascinating stories in order, since I hadn’t read any of this series yet. What a feeling, to know where the different branches of your family came from and the routes they took as they migrated-(roots and routes, as Paul Gilroy and others have put it). What a lot of hard traveling people have done! The 19th and 20th centuries were truly centuries of uprooting and migration, as much internally and internationally. What new moves lie ahead?

  4. The map is really interesting. I hadn’t realized that there were regional differences in where people tended to migrate, but it makes sense that people would tend to relocate to areas that weren’t too distant where some of their friends and relatives had previously moved.

    1. They tended to go straight up, following the shortest route, taking the shortest train route from where they were. Then, after the first groups relocated, their friends would follow them. Except for those going west to California.

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