Over the last 100 years, most US blacks migrated from the South to the North. Did they find what they sought?

Yes and no. Better income and better social conditions, but also a black-white pay gap that changed little over time. Why?

Leah Platt Boustan, UCLA economist (and my friend), just wrote a book on it, Competition in the Promised Land: Black Migrants in Northern Cities and Labor Markets.

This is from James Ryerson’s New York Times review

In her rich and technical account, the economist Leah Platt Boustan employs the tools of her trade — resourceful matching of data sets, rigorous modeling of labor phenomena, sweeping use of census figures — to analyze the demographics and economics of the Great Migration as a whole… Her investigation both deepens our understanding of what we think we know and adds new complexities and wrinkles.

I expect it’s excellent.

the power of the poor

He [Petr Chelcický] saw war as a conspiracy in which the poor were duped into fighting to defend the privileges of the rich. If all poor people refused to fight, he argued, the rich would have no army and there would be no war. (from Kurlansky, Nonviolence, p51-2)

This is reminiscent of Aminata Sow Fall’s Beggar’s Strike, in which the poor deprive the rich of essential blessings made by giving offerings to the poor – that doesn’t do it justice; I recommend the book, it’s clever and subversive.