Houston Public Media

UH Moment: Great Migration

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From 1917 to 1970, more than six million African-Americans moved from the rural south to other regions of the United States, bringing their music, food and faith with them in what is now known as the Great Migration.


“It shaped us tremendously in so many ways,” said Debbie Harwell, adjunct professor of history for the University of Houston Honors College.

Students from the Honors College have studied the Great Migration and other immigration patterns from the mid-19th century to the present to see how the different migrations of African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans have shaped Houston into the most diverse city in the United States.


“We can’t ignore that past if we want to understand what has changed our demographics in the city of Houston today,” Harwell said.

The students created artistic, literary, film, computer and music projects about the importance of these migrations. You can see their works on display through August 19th as part of the “Great Migrations: Past and Present” exhibition at the Heritage Society Museum Gallery.


“The exhibit really illustrates the importance of this movement in understanding what is going on in our world today,” Harwell said.

The exhibition runs through Aug. 19 in The Heritage Society Museum Gallery at 1100 Bagby; hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information, please visit Houston Heritage Society and UH Honors College.