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.