"Lest We Forget"
Research compiled by: Domonique J., Keith M., Micah W., Lindsay B., and Akia S.
By 1931, Pilgrim Baptist Church was established on the corner of 25th and Hamilton in North Omaha. The church, started by migrants from Alabama, was now flourishing with members active in developing the North Omaha community and the church itself. The picture shows some members of the congregation participating in Vacation Bible School in 1931 (Photo courtesy of Durham Western Heritage Museum).
In addition to promoting the African-American community in North Omaha, The Monitor served as a recruitment tool to bring southern African-Americans north. The Monitor sent copies of their paper to the South at this time to get the message out about what was going on in the North. People came to Omaha for work in the packing houses, railroads, and other jobs (Article courtesy of Omaha Monitor).
During WWI, white men left to fight overseas. Many employers began recruiting southern African-Americans to come North to fill the labor void. The primary industries in Omaha that attracted black workers were the packing houses, railroads, and stockyards. African-Americans hoped these new opportunities would provide the basis for a new and better life, away from the Jim Crow South. (Photo courtesy of Douglas County Historical Society).
William Brown was a 40 year old black man who was wrongly accused of attacking a white woman; this event sparked the Omaha Race Riot of 1919. His grave is at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Potter’s Field. The quote “Lest We Forget” means we should never forget this situation and reminds us that everyone should be treated fairly, regardless of their race.
“African Americans in Omaha.” Omaha Commons. https://omaha.ne.us.towncommons.com/African_Americans_in_Omaha
Williams, Rev. John Albert. The Monitor. 3 March 1922, 1.
Additional Making Invisible Histories Visible content on the Great Migration:
The interactive MIHV "Great Migration" eBook is available for free download here From the Nebraska Department of Education website!
The Great Migration
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One thing that amazed me was Will Brown's case where everybody had it wrong. Another thing I enjoyed was when we did our interveiw with Mrs.Campbell; she took us on a tour of the church and showed us the Bible that survived the church fire.
— Micah W.
I enjoyed learning about the migration to Omaha. In the early 1900s African-Americans first settled in South Omaha for the packing jobs. Then they moved to the North part because of the available housing and because they could own their own businesses.
— Domonique J.
The camp has given me a better understanding of Omaha's history, and Will Brown. I wish this type of history would have been reflected more in elementary & middle school.
— Keith M.