Pittsburgh and the Great Migration: Black Mobility and the Automobile

The automobile transformed the American landscape, and in doing so, it changed the lives of Black Americans. Two million African Americans courageously fled the South during the first wave of the Great Migration from 1916 to 1945. Pittsburgh neighborhoods like the Hill District became a haven for Black communities to thrive.

Buying a car was one of the first steps many took as they transitioned into the middle class. For Black Americans, buying a car in the mid-20th century was more than a symbol of making it; the automobile provided freedom of mobility.