Beginning in the 1890s and lasting well into the 1970s, a "Great Migration" of southern African Americans to the West and North changed the demographic structure of North America. African-Americans turned to the "Promised Land" of the Northwest in search of jobs and greater racial tolerance. The paper shows that the migration permitted African-American/Canadian culture to rise and develop its own forms of political and personal expression, which developed conflicting responses within the African American/Canadian internal class structure. The Cultural expression of the African-American/Canadian working class was now an object of debate between black middle class reformers, writers, scholars and working class religious leaders. Investigation in this paper of the working class culture (i.e. music and dance) and the responses to it, prove how historically significant it had become. For the first time African-Americans/ Canadians had a public forum in which to express themselves despite different opinions on how it should be done.
"Historically, this particular cultural period is crucial in the development and gradual empowerment of the African Americans/Canadians. The culture wars offered each class group the opportunity to define themselves while they underwent a cultural and social transformation. For the first time they could express themselves in a manner that no one could take away. Music and dance empowered the black culture/community and paved the way for a gradual improvement in the definition of what an African American/Canadian could be, rather than what they should be!"