The Great Migration

Total time for this activity: 20 minutes

Read this article and short video about the Great Migration on The History Channel.

After reading the article and watching the short video, discuss these questions with the members of your group.

  1. When did the Great Migration take place?
  2. What factors led to the Great Migration?
  3. What impact did the Great Migration have on the distribution of African-American English throughout the United States?
  4. Why do you think regional variants of African-American English are linguistically more similar than other regional dialects of American English (such as Appalachian English and Brooklynese) are linguistically similar to each other? Hint: Think about the amount of time involved in the separation of the speakers of various varieties of American English (African-American English and regional dialects) from their earlier common speech communities.