I genuinely believe this magazine cover was a pivotal moment in the history of Atlanta.
For one, after this issue people outside of Atlanta started referring to the city as the “New Black Mecca”, but also it put the city on the map as a contender with regards to being the BEST city for Blacks to live, work, raise a family, have fun, etc.
Since 2002, the demographics have changed dramatically in the city. A significant portion of those that lived in the City of Atlanta in 2002 now live in the outer counties of Atlanta.
Also, based on a quick visual (and Census) scan, the City has become “less” Black, with other populations moving in, especially a substantial White flight back into the city limits. This was so much so that in 2010, the idea of Atlanta having its first White mayor since 1974 looked like a serious possibility.
I bring up all of this, because an article came out in the NYTimes a few days ago entitled, “For New Life, Blacks in City head South”.
The article does talk about the regional migration, but after reading it, one gets the sense the majority of these Black New Yorkers are moving to Atlanta.
“Three generations of her family — 10 people in all — are moving to Atlanta from New York, seeking to start fresh economically and, in some sense, to reconnect with a bittersweet past.”
“But today, there is less of a struggle to survive in the South than in New York. Many blacks also have emotional and spiritual roots in the South. It is like returning home.”
“She plans to join her 26-year-old son, Rashid, who moved to Atlanta from Queens last year after he graduated with a degree in criminology but could not find a job in New York. In Atlanta, he became a deputy sheriff within weeks. She is hoping to open a restaurant.”
“‘My grandmother’s generation left the South and came to the North to escape segregation and racism,’ she said. ‘Now, I am going back because New York has become like the old South in its racial attitudes.'”
“She said the Atlanta she discovered was a cosmopolitan place of classical music concerts, interracial marriage and opulent houses owned by black people.”
“Ms. Ross said she had experienced some culture shock in the South, and had been surprised to find that blacks tended to self-segregate, even in affluent neighborhoods.”
Living in New York, it’s interesting to hear people talk about your city. It’s even wilder hearing people say that one day, THEY want to move to your city and settle down. I don’t mind Atlanta becoming more of a melting pot and more of a transplant city, because (unselfishly) it diversifies the city and (selfishly) it makes me even more proud to be a 3rd generation ATLien.
Thank you, Allison Zimmer, for passing this article along to me.