Now, why would blacks move out of big cities in the Northeast, the Midwest and California and into the South and the suburbs? In part for the same reasons nonblacks do: in search of better economic opportunities and quality of life. But also because the factor that drove blacks in particular to leave the South no longer exists. Jim Crow is now long dead, but it had been dead a decade at most by the time the New Great Migration began. As Frey summed it up in 2004:
“This full-scale reversal of blacks’ “Great Migration” north during the early part of the 20th century reflects the South’s economic growth and modernization, its improved race relations, and the longstanding cultural and kinship ties it holds for black families. This new pattern has augmented a sizeable and growing black middle class in the South’s major metropolitan areas.”
Half a century ago, life was brutally oppressive for blacks in the South. Today the South is the most attractive place for black Americans to live. Charles Blow would have you believe that is bad news about the state of race relations. Who knows, maybe he actually believes such nonsense himself.