Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
This study uses a transnational lens to examine the migration of Black Americans from Oklahoma to Canada in the early 20th century. Although scholars have documented this movement, they have not fully explored the vital and durable transnational connections among African American immigrants themselves. The use of family histories, newspaper articles, and immigration files show how black migrants searched for land and equality in Canada and attempted to build all black communities. Encouraged by the promises of Canadian immigration recruiters, black migrants left their homes and Jim Crowism in Oklahoma to settle in a “free country” and to realize the goals of American citizenship in a foreign land. But, Canada wanted white—not black—American settlers and immigration officials closed to African Americans the once porous boundary between the U.S. and Canada. Canadian authorities recognized the power of transnational connections among black migrants in promoting migration and settlement and, ironically, by effectively sabotaging that network, they ensured that African Americans had to abandon their quest for equality and opportunity in Western Canada.
This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.