Great Migration : Journey to the North
by Greenfield, Eloise; Gilchrist, Jan Spivey (ILT)






Illuminates the experiences of families who left their homes in search of better lives during the move up north.





*Starred Review* Between 1915 and 1930, more than a million African Americans left their homes in the South and moved to the North, says Greenfield in an introduction to this stirring collection of poems that honors those who took part in the Great Migration, including the poet herself. Each spread looks at a different stage in the journey, beginning with the uprooting: "Saying goodbye to the land / puts a pain on my heart," says a farmer. The beat in Greenfield's free-verse poetry amplifies the feeling of momentum, from the way news travels-"They thought about it, talked about it, / spread the word"-to the rhythm of the train that is felt even in the northbound passengers' questions, "Will I make a good life / for my family, / for myself? / The wheels are singing, / 'Yes, you will, / you will, you will!' / I hope they're right. / I think they're right. / I know they're right." Greatly enhancing the impact of the words, Gilchrist's moving mixed-media collages layer drawings, maps, and color-washed archival images that have the slightly distorted look of photocopies, giving some of the figures an almost ghostly, translucent appearance. Together, the immediate words, striking images, and Greenfield's personal story create a powerful, haunting view of a pivotal moment in U.S. history even as they show the universal challenges of leaving home behind and starting a new life. A bibliography concludes. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.






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