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The processes of industrialization and deindustrialization shaped and redefined U.S. economic, social, and demographic structures and have influenced the lives of African Americans ever since the late nineteenth century. Early in the twentieth century, industrialization contributed to a mass migration of African Americans from the South to northern cities in search of work. After World War II, growth of the industrial sector in the West fueled another movement of African Americans seeking economic opportunities. But as the industrial economy began to decline in the 1960s, tensions mounted in cities where residents tried to cope with the loss of jobs and deteriorating urban conditions. By the early twenty-first century, former industrial centers such as Gary, Indiana; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Cleveland, Ohio, were struggling to rebuild their economies in the wake of deindustrialization—and they were not alone.

The period known as the Industrial Revolution occurred in two parts the First Industrial Revolution ...