The Great Migration of 1915-1960 saw over six million African Americans move from the rural South to the big cities of the North and West. It was one of the largest mass migrations in human history, and one whose consequences defined American domestic politics throughout the 20th century. But it wasn’t the first time the industrial cities of America had experienced massive demographic transformation, and the black migrants would run smack into the immigrants of previous generations. In the 1960s, frustration and anger turned to conflict, as race riots drove what was left of the white ethnics out of the inner cities. Today we tell the story of the battle for control of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district in New York City – a topic which might sound a bit dull, but was one of the most intense periods of racial conflict in recent American history. The conflict captured the attention of the country for months, and led to a split in the alliance between American blacks and American Jews that had powered the civil rights movement until the late 1960s.
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