Boll Weevil Effects on the South

The effects that the Boll Weevil had on the south and the cotton harvest was devastating to all who relied on cotton as a source of income and living. The Boll Weevil was an insect who’s larva lived off of the cotton boll, . It originated in Mexico and came into Texas, and from there migrated into the Southeast, starting with reaching Louisiana in 1904, crossing over the Mississippi River, then some years later it arrived in South Carolina in 1917. The insect greatly reduced cotton production and left destruction in its wake.

It is believed that it is because of the Boll Weevil that the largest migration of African Americans to the North. Over a ten year period, it has been estimated that as many as half a million African Americans left their homes and jobs in the South and went to the North in search of better wages that the south was not able to provide due to the economic unrest after World War I, and also due to the lack of political and social equality that they believed could be given to them in the North. It was African American tenant farmers who were especially devastated by the Boll Weevil. As in many aspects of life for African Americans in the South, they were treated unequally in having a say in the cotton they produced. Cotton was demanded by creditors leaving blacks with not much say in the crops they were able to plant. Therefore, in addition to obviously not being able to get the better mix of the cotton crops, the crops they were able to plant were destroyed by the insect. Not having a strong mix of cotton to plant in the first place combined with the Boll Weevil’s infestation, left the black tenant farmers with little to no marketable cotton to sell. Due to this blow to their income in addition to higher wages being offered in the north, there was not much reason for African Americans to continue their livelihood in the South.

The changes to the Southern economy due to the Boll Weevil was that the soil was all but destroyed due to...