Modern Black Migration: Why the South Is Drawing Communities Back and Other Patterns to Watch

“No other group of Americans has had to act like immigrants in order to be recognized as citizens,” once said the author Isabel Wilkerson. Her name has most recently circulated as it inspired Ava Duvernay’s newly released film, Origin, but this is from a TED talk that she gave in 2017 about the Great Migration, the mass movement of Black folks out of the Jim Crow South in pursuit of purported equality and economic opportunity in the North. From the 1910s to the 1970s, six million Black people migrated from the likes of Georgia and North Carolina to Chicago and New York. But Wilkerson might as well have been talking about the current exodus of Black people from Northern communities back to Southern cities, which is being driven by younger, college-educated Black Americans who, for myriad reasons, are seeking Houston over Harlem. In the words of Brea Baker, freedom fighter and author of Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership: “What goes up must come down.” But why?

The initial trigger isn’t surprising: housing. “What we have in America is a stark contrast. If it’s not Whole Foods, it’s a food desert—there’s almost no in-between,” says Tawan Davis, a founding partner and CEO of The Steinbridge Group, the investment firm working to increase Black homeownership across the US. These, of course, are the symbols of gentrification, the result of racialized policies from redlining to land zoning that make way for middle- to upper-class white residents and leave behind historically Black communities. Scattered across the country are predominantly white neighborhoods that, over decades, have swallowed Black legacy residents whole, with interspersed, segregated affordable housing blocks that lack a staple grocery store and limit the mobility of low-income primarily Black and brown people. Below, we look at a number of circumstances that are defining the modern Black migration experience today.


The full article can be found on Architectural Digest or Yahoo! Life

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