Sernett Response

One of the parts of the African Methodist Episcopal Council of Bishops’ Address on the Great Migration (Chapter 38) that I found really interesting was the section called “Evils to be Avoided.” This section talked about how newcomers to an area will be exploited by the people who already live there. The Bishops say that the newcomers will get lost in “leisure and idleness” and this will lead them to being taken advantage of. They warn against going to a new city because they say that it will end in a new “form of bondage.” I think this is a really interesting argument because the “new city” that the Bishops are talking about is the North, where many of the African Americans are moving during the Great Migration. However, I don’t know that this argument holds much weight because it seems to me that the North would be safer for and more welcoming of African Americans. Not to say that everyone up North is going to be welcoming; that’s of course not true. But in terms of degree, the North is likely to be a better, safer place for African Americans to live during that time period than the South. I think that a more valid argument would be to point out the importance of maintaining and growing an African American religious community in the South, where such a community could do a lot of good for the African Americans living there.

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