Through an in-depth look at first-person accounts, primary documents, and archival research, this project broadens the scope of information available about the interwar migration of Black Americans to the Soviet Union for agricultural, industrial, and artistic initiatives which helped advance the Socialist Project. These men and women had different motivations for their emigration stemming from racial solidarity with various Soviet peoples, economic reasonings, and safety from American racism. This paper hopes to bring to life the stories of those whose legacies have been lost to history by uncovering their lives under communism, their achievements and recognitions, and that of their families and descendants. Some stories include the advancements in cotton made by Oliver Golden and his group in Soviet Uzbekistan in 1931; Langston Hughes and his group's artistic collaboration with the Soviets on the anti-racist film "Black and White"; and the industrial inventions propelled by Robert Robinson. By tracking the lives and emigration stories of these Black men and women, this thesis offers a complete and comprehensive overview of three distinct migratory groups between 1920 and 1945. This thesis examines these migration patterns through the lens of policies put forward by the Communist International at the various Congresses of the 1920s and shapes the understanding of how policy influenced migration.
Volfson, Alice, "Black October: The Migration of Black Americans to the Soviet Union in the Interwar Period" (2023). Slavic Studies Honors Papers. 8.
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The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.