Burundian refugees fleeing political violence arrive in Mboko, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2015.
Photo courtesy of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees © UNHCR/Federico Scoppa
While we often think about people moving to seek a better life, the World on the Move exhibition also includes many examples of people who were forced to move. This includes cases where people were trafficked or coerced, such as the enslaved Africans whose Yoruba religion was one of the roots of Santeria and the Japanese Americans who were forced into concentration camps by the U.S. government during World War II. In other cases, people are forced to move to escape dangerous situations; they may be refugees, such as Jewish children escaping Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s and ‘40s and people fleeing present-day political violence in Central Africa, or if they do not cross international borders, they are considered internally displaced people such as the African Americans of the Great Migration who were fleeing lynching and Jim Crow. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has more information on refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people.
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World on the Move also includes an excerpt from the poem “Home” by Warsan Shire; the website Facing History and Ourselves has the complete poem, along with some suggestions for using it in the classroom, but readers should be aware that it includes a racial slur as well as mentions of sexual violence.