Going Home To The South

Tonight’s 60 Minutes episode had a great segment on the “children of blacks who once fled the South and segregation are now returning to find better lives than they had in the North.” If you missed the segment, go check out article titled: Going Home To The South. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Children of many blacks who once fled the South and segregation are now returning to find better lives than they had in the North. Reporters who covered the civil rights revolution of the 1960s know the bitterness felt by those who were back then known as Negroes – bitterness at the humiliation inflicted on them by Southern whites.
As a result, millions fled North in search of jobs, education, dignity.
But now, millions of their children are finding out that their best chance of living the American Dream is in the South, in places like the suburbs around Charlotte, North Carolina; Orlando, Florida; Houston, Texas; and especially Atlanta, Georgia.
And ironically, while their parents and grandparents may have fought for integration, many of them have chosen to live in all-black communities. Black suburban Atlanta may look like Beverly Hills, but it’s Mecca for many new migrants who are buying homes worth from $200,000 to more than $2 million. And new subdivisions keep sprouting, marketed especially to blacks.
Jeff Moten and his wife, Wanda, were in the first wave of this new migration. Ten years ago, they moved here from outside New York City. Most of their neighbors are also former Northerners.
“I blazed a trail to get out of New York,” says Moten. “I just wanted a better way for my kids.”
That better way includes a lower crime rate than up North, easy access to athletic facilities and to the arts, and several performances a week at Atlanta’s Chastain Park – which includes champagne, Chopin and Nancy Wilson.
It’s a marvelous life, one that more blacks can now afford. Black buying power nationwide has doubled in the last decade. Half of all black households are now middle and upper income. And more blacks are graduating from high school and college so they’re able to land better jobs and buy better homes.
Moten’s neighbors, Eduard and Shari Weathers, and Keith and Detra Burrell said moving South brought them the promised land.
“My father used to always say, ‘Stop asking for a piece of the pie. Make your own damn pie.’ And this is us making our own pie,” says Detra Burrell.

Heck, maybe I need to move South. I too, would like to find the promise land.

8 Comments
  1. Yay! Come be my neighbor in the suburbs of Tampa! 🙂

  2. I just might. My older sister talks about moving to Florida all the time…so if she actually moves, perhaps I’ll follow her down.

  3. I watched the show as well. And it was very interesting. I was particulary glad that several of the people interviewed pointed out that many whites have a certain “color ratio” that they can deal with & after that ratio gets too non-white in their neighborhoods they tend to flee elsewhere.
    Anthony’s being in real estate means I end up at dinner parties, etc., with lots of real estate people. I am still profoundly shocked by how much racist talk I hear at these gatherings. Here in Orlando it tends to be more focused on the growing Puerto Rican community, but comments are made constantly about the racial mix of neighborhoods. Some are direct, others are veiled with things like, “Oh, the property values in that neighborhood won’t be going up any longer.”
    In a way, I do find it sad that all of us tend to gravitate towards people like ourselves. However, I also completely understand the need to “feel like I could let my hair down here,” as one of the interviewees stated.
    I myself am just another example: my neighborhood is predominantly gay.

  4. Not linked to this entry but a reply to the comment you left on my blog about the new Harry Potter book. (Love your new colours, by the way!) The thing is that because I live in Barbados, the library probably won’t get a copy of the book until maybe next year, if at all. And I’m pretty sure the bookstores won’t get it till it comes out in paperback. So my choices are either to order it and wait a couple of weeks, or wait several months to I can get my hands on it here. Either way I have to wait. And I hate waiting.

  5. FWIW, as a white person who grew up in the South, I can say easily that I’ve seen/heard more racist remarks from people since I moved up North.
    The racism in the South does exist, but it’s different…it’s very financially stratified. The very low income and very high income (particularly old money) sectors are where you see/hear racist comments. Of course, those are the people the media seek out whenever they’re doing interviews.
    The middle classes, OTOH, are less likely to be racially biased, I think. There’s reasons for that, not the least of which is that the black population in the South seems larger…it’s hard to think of a group as an inferior minority when the group is clearly successful and clearly not that much of a minority.
    I’d elaborate, but this is already really long for a comment. Point being, I think there’s all sorts of good reasons to move to the South, no matter what race you are…and I can totally understand how someone who is black would be inclined to move down there, despite the history.

  6. I can definitely vouch for racist attitudes in the Midwest. It’s awful. And people seem to think it’s OK to say these things because everyone around them is white. But it’s NOT. My husband’s family is racist and xenophobic and just basically intolerant of anyone who is different or thinks differently than them – and that is a very hard thing for me. All this – and I’m white!
    I wish there was something I could do other than objecting. All I know is that my children will not be raised with these sorts of prejudices.

  7. Don’t be too quick in deciding to move back ‘down south’. I am a white, college education male in my mid-30’s and I grew up in south Georgia. I am not racist, but was exposed to racism, mainly against African Americans, my entire life. I grew to hate those who where racist. While living in a small, southwest Georgia town, I spoke out against the racist treatments against African Americans and lost my job because of it. I am angry against those that had me fired, but I am still passionate for speaking out on what I believe was wrong. I did it for the children that are innocent. I have since moved from southwest Georgia and will never return. But, I will still fight for what I believe.

  8. I live in los angeles ca. and I have family in atlanta and jacksonville florida and I have decided to make the move down south doing reserch I feel my best chance to achieve my goal and live better is down south los angeles since the o.j. trail has been treating black people real cold especially black males. As a black man living in los angeles I see a lot of racism here and I know it’s racism down south too but in cali like they say the more close towhite you look the more love you get. I’m leaving this holly wood wack city besides I make beats and I’m taking my talent to the dirty south.

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