The New York City neighborhood of Harlem became a major cultural center for African Americans. Black artists, musicians, and writers based in Harlem created a social and artistic community, producing major works and challenging barriers created by Jim Crow.
The Chicago Defender was an influential black newspaper founded in 1905 that, during the early and mid-twentieth century, was a major force in encouraging the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North.
Labor agents were facilitators of black migration during the Jim Crow era. Labor agents were paid by northern industrialists to recruit southern blacks to work in factories in the North. Though labor agents helped bring black workers to the North, many African Americans eventually returned to the South after finding work and living conditions in the industrialized North untenable.
Scabs are workers who break labor strikes or who are hired to replace striking workers. During the Jim Crow era, African Americans were sometimes hired as scab workers (often for much lower compensation than the white workers they were replacing).
The Ku Klux Klan was organized as a secret society during Reconstruction to restore white supremacy. The Klan used violence and intimidation to restrict and terrorize African Americans. In 1870 and 1871, Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Enforcement Acts to limit Klan activity and increase sanctions on perpetrators. Organized Klan activity fell off, but the Klan re-surged and re-organized in 1915 after the release of D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 by black and white leaders including Mary White Ovington and W. E. B. Du Bois. Created as a civil rights organization, the NAACP has throughout its existence worked to improve the lives of African Americans by fighting segregation, discrimination, and racism, and by securing legal rights and social equality through court cases, legislation, and protest.
The National Urban League was founded in 1911 for improving the lives of African Americans in urban areas. During its early years, it focused particularly on helping African American migrants from the South transition to northern city life and find jobs and housing.