The Great Migration and the Democratic Party:

Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century

The Great Migration and the Democratic Party provides two major contributions to the literatures in American political parties and Black politics.

First, the book describes interactions between political parties, mayoral candidates, and Northern migrants in Detroit, New York, and Chicago. As the Black population grew in the North, politicians came to believe that Black migrants might be the balance of power in local elections. I argue that the Great Migration led them to change their behavior to manage interactions with the Black electorate. 

Second, the book considers the political participation of the migrants themselves. In spite of the challenges that come from moving across states, many Black Americans were successful at getting elected to political office once they arrived in the North. For each city, I distinguish the migrant elected officials from the pool of all Black elected officials and consider whether they had distinct policy goals and preferences.