During the Great Migration, African Americans began to build a new place for themselves in public life, actively confronting economic, political and social challenges and creating a new black urban culture that would exert enormous influence in the decades to come.
The Great Migration drained off much of the rural black population of the South, and for a time, froze or reduced African-American population growth in parts of the region Because the migrants concentrated in the big cities of the north and west, their influence was magnified. Cities that had been virtually all white at the start of the century became centers of black culture and politics by mid-century. Informal residential segregation and the tendency of people to settle with others of their home communities led to concentrations of blacks in certain areas
The "Black Belt" geographical and racial isolation of this community, bordered to the north and east by whites, and to the south and west by industrial sites and ethnic immigrant neighborhoods, made it a site for the study of the development of an urban black community.