From Pike Road to the Big Apple: A Glimpse of Madge Allen
What struck me first and foremost about Ms. Allen is her energy. She speaks with an enthusiasm and speed that most 20 year old’s don’t match, lively and willing to laugh. What may have struck me next is her straightforwardness- when you ask her a question, Ms. Allen answers it simply, briefly sharing the reasoning behind a decision and leaving out emotions.
She’s happy to share her experiences from earlier in life, but not looking to talk about them either.
I was drawn to speaking to Ms. Allen for a low reasons. Firstly, though I’m from the North, I spent four years of college in Alabama, and I myself am á migrant to New York. I only realized after she pointed it out that she grew up during segregation in a state I too had experienced during a formative part of my life. And the opportunity to speak to Ms. Alleni was also appealing because the preservation of African American history, which I have spent this summer studying, is something she genuinely cares about In this essay, I attempt to explore Ms. Allen’s personal story as a migrant from the rural South, as well as color it with the broader historical context of the time. Ms. Allen’s story is one typical of the Second Great Migration– a story of relocating for better economic prospects at least partially and implicitly due to worse treatment of African Americans. As we will see, it’s also an optimistic one that tells a story of someone striving for a better life in America who, in New York, was able to achieve it.