On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, the Office of the President at Hostos Community College hosted the second installment of the College’s three-part Spring 2022 Black at Hostos series. Titled “The Origins of the Great Migration,” the lecture was presented by educator-activist Anamaría Flores, Professor in Hostos’ Black Studies Unit, and moderated by La Toro Yates, Ph.D., Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management (SDEM).
President Daisy Cocco De Filippis offered greetings and introduced Flores, who hails from Detroit, Michigan. Flores opened the lecture with a Land Acknowledgement, modeled after Queerception cofounders Sara Flores and Courtney Hooks, in which she, on behalf of the Black Studies Unit, recognized that the “people of the global majority, queer and straight, trans, gender fluid, and cis, disabled and able-bodied, undocumented and documented, neurodivergent and neurotypical, build and nourish chosen families and families of origin on Lenapehoking, the land that the Indigenous and Black ancestors have direct ties to.”
Flores’ lecture focused on the period from 1910 through the 1970s when Black United Statesians — a term she used to differentiate between people living in the United States from people living elsewhere within the Americas — migrated from the rural South to cities in the North/Northeast, Midwest, and West, such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle, and New York City. During her talk, she discussed the driving force behind the Great Migration and noted the longstanding and permanent social, political, and economic impact southern migrants have had on the cities they moved to. She also shared images from Jacob Lawrence’s “The Migration of the Negro” photo series, in which he documented the first wave of the Great Migration, from 1910-1940. The lecture concluded with an insightful question and answer segment, during which Flores discussed the importance of looking at Black history — and history in general — through an intersectional lens.