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Hunter passes Resolution creating Great Migration recognition council

Springfield, IL State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) unanimously passed a Resolution through the Senate today creating the Illinois Great Migration Centennial Commission.

The Great Migration was a historical movement of the African-American community during which over 500,000 African-Americans relocated from the South to Chicago and other Northern cities. Prior to the diaspora, African-Americans only made up two percent of Chicago’s population. That number grew to 33 percent by the end. During The Great Migration, the largest migration in American history, almost seven million African-Americans relocated to Northern cities between 1916 and 1970.

Senate Joint Resolution 3 creates the Commission to commemorate the centennial of the movement starting in January 2016. The Commission will bring together legislators, historians, authors and celebrities to develop a curriculum and a year-long event calendar to promote awareness of the importance of The Great Migration.

"The African-American population has grown because our ancestors made the brave move from the South into Northern communities," Hunter said. "In our not too distant past, our ancestors were facing prejudice both socially and economically. Our parents and grandparents uprooted their families to seek opportunities, jobs, and relief from injustice in the South so that we could have a better life. This Commission will help to honor one of the most important eras in our history."

Many elements factored into The Great Migration including job recruitment from growing industries in the North, the right to vote and an escape from "Jim Crow Laws."

The Resolution now moves to the House for further consideration.