Between 1900 and the 1970s, twenty million southerners migrated
north and west. Weaving together for the first time the histories
of these black and white migrants, James Gregory traces their paths
and experiences in a comprehensive new study that demonstrates how
this regional diaspora reshaped America by "southernizing"
communities and transforming important cultural and political
Challenging the image of the migrants as helpless and poor, Gregory
shows how both black and white southerners used their new
surroundings to become agents of change. Combining personal stories
with cultural, political, and demographic analysis, he argues that
the migrants helped create both the modern civil rights movement
and modern conservatism. They spurred changes in American religion,
notably modern evangelical Protestantism, and in popular culture,
including the development of blues, jazz, and country music.
In a sweeping account that pioneers new understandings of the
impact of mass migrations, Gregory recasts the history of
twentieth-century America. He demonstrates that the southern
diaspora was crucial to transformations in the relationship between
American regions, in the politics of race and class, and in the
roles of religion, the media, and culture.