The first Great American Migration was the movement of nearly 1.5 million African Americans out of the rural South to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West between years leading through WWI and the start of the Great Depression. African-American populations increased by about forty percent in Northern states as a result of the migration, mostly in the major cities including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and New York City. Many African Americans would travel north to seek and fill the industrial jobs as part of the massive mobilization to meet the Great War effort.
As African Americans made the difficult transition from rural lifestyles to urban life and work, there was also a major period of integration between black and newly arriving white immigrants within densely compacted neighborhoods. This would give rise to new levels of racial adjustment, tension and discrimination.