Jun 7, 2023
Join us on Wednesday, June 7 at 6:00PM EST with Blake Gumprecht for a virtual talk on his new book, North to Boston: Life Histories from the Black Great Migration in New England, which tells the story of Black migration to the city primarily through the life histories of 10 individuals.
Between World War II and 1980, tens of thousands of Black people moved to Boston from the South as part of the Great Migration, one of the most consequential mass movements of people in American history. Black migration from the South transformed the city, as it did urban areas across the country. North to Boston traces the history of this migration and explores its impacts in greater depth through the lives of ten individuals, each the subject of one chapter. They fled racism, limited opportunity, and hopelessness, and moved north in pursuit of better jobs, equal treatment, and greater freedom. They settled in neighborhoods such as Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. They worked as teachers, factory workers, welders, and security guards. Their stories are emblematic of the experiences of Black people everywhere who left the South, and provide a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary people living in one city’s Black community.
Blake Gumprecht taught geography for more than two decades at the University of New Hampshire, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of two previous books, The Los Angeles River: Its Life, Death, and Possible Rebirth and The American College Town, both of which won the American Association of Geographers’ J. B. Jackson Prize. He now lives and writes in El Paso, Texas.