The Distribution of African American Workers From 1900-1960
African Americans also known as Afro-Americans or Black Americans are citizens or residents of the United States bearing origins from any of the black populations of Africa. The first recorded Africans in British North America were “20 and odd Negroes” who came to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 as indentured servants. As slaves, they were brought from West Africa to work on plantations in the American South. Nevertheless, many African Americans managed to escape from slavery and build new lives for themselves, especially after the Civil War (1861-65) when they were emancipated. By the end of the 19th century, African Americans had made significant progress in education and economic security, but they still faced discrimination and violence, especially in the South. The early 20th century saw the rise of important black leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington who worked to improve conditions for African Americans. In the mid-20th century, the civil rights movement emerged as a powerful force for change, culminating in the 1964 Civil Rights Act which outlawed segregation and discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
2. The Distribution of African American Workers From 1900-1960:
The following table shows the distribution of African American workers from 1900 to 1960 by occupational category. It is important to note that these statistics reflect only those workers who reported their occupation to the Census Bureau; many African Americans were not able to find work during this time period due to segregation and discrimination.
In 1900, nearly 80% of African American workers were employed in agriculture; this number dropped to just over 40% by 1960. The decline in agricultural employment was due to a number of factors, including the mechanization of farming and the Great Migration of black workers from rural areas to cities in search of better opportunities.
The percentage of African American workers employed in manufacturing increased from 6% in 1900 to 14% in 1960. This growth was largely due to the expansion of southern industry during World War II (1939-1945), when many blacks migrated from rural areas to work in factories producing war materiel. After the war, many blacks continued to work in manufacturing, although they often faced discrimination in terms of job assignments and pay.
5. Private Households:
In 1900, nearly one-quarter of all African American workers were employed as servants or other workers in private households; by 1960, this figure had dropped to just over 10%. The decline was due to a number of factors, including the Great Migration (which led to a decrease in the demand for domestic workers in cities) and the increasing availability of public services such as electricity and running water (which made private household employment less necessary).
The category of “service” includes a wide range of jobs such as janitors, maids, cooks, waiters, and porters. In 1900, nearly 20% of African American workers were employed in service occupations; by 1960, this figure had risen to 30%. The increase was due largely to the growth of the hotel and restaurant industries during this time period.
The percentage of African American workers employed in sales occupations increased from 3% in 1900 to 8% by 1960. This growth was due largely to the expansion of the retail sector during this time period.
The percentage of African American workers employed in clerical occupations increased from 1% in 1900 to 5% by 1960. This growth was due largely to the expansion of the office work force during this time period.
The percentage of African American workers employed in professional occupations (such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers) increased from less than 1% in 1900 to 3% by 1960. This growth was due largely to the increase in opportunities for blacks in the professions following the Civil War.
10. Technical and Administrative:
The percentage of African American workers employed in technical and administrative occupations (such as engineers, managers, and executives) increased from less than 1% in 1900 to 2% by 1960. This growth was due largely to the increase in opportunities for blacks in these occupations following the Civil War.
11. Officials and Managers:
The percentage of African American workers employed as officials and managers increased from less than 1% in 1900 to 2% by 1960. This growth was due largely to the increase in opportunities for blacks in these occupations following the Civil War.
In conclusion, the distribution of African American workers changed significantly from 1900 to 1960. The percentage of blacks employed in agriculture declined sharply, while the percentage employed in manufacturing, sales, and service occupations increased. The number of blacks employed in professional, technical, and administrative occupations also increased during this time period.
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