Blacks should move to the South to gain greater political, economic power: NYT columnist

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow is this year's recipient of the Hank Meyer National Headliner Award, sponsored by the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews-MCCJ, on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (C.M. Guerrero/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Kristin Myers-Mon, February 1, 2021, 9:06 AM

New York Times columnist Charles Blow has outlined a new proposition to increase Black political power: a mass migration of Blacks in America to the South to create Black-majority states and cities.

Blow calls for a “Second Great Migration,” a reversal of the Great Migration that saw millions of Black Americans flee oppression and a lack of economic opportunity in the South for cities in the North, Midwest, and the West.

“I understand why people migrated during the Great Migration,” Blow, author of ”The Devil you Know: A Black power manifesto,” told Yahoo Finance Live. “However, if they had not migrated… Black people would conceivably have the controlling interest in multiple southern states.”

“They could control the Senate seats for up to 14 senators, they could control more electoral college votes in California and New York state combined. That’s what state power looks like.”

During the Great Migration, cities like Chicago, Detroit, New York City, and Philadelphia “experienced substantial changes in racial composition,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “During and after WWII, Black migrants flooded into many of the cities that were destinations before the war, following friends and relatives that had made the journey earlier.”

Blow said that through a migration reversal, Blacks could “reclaim power that was stolen from them because they were forced out by terror.”

The South is prime for this reclamation of power, Blow explained, because Blacks will “never be a large enough percentage of the population in the West to have any real power. The thing about the South is that many of these states are already about a third Black.”

“It doesn’t take that many Black people to move back to the South in order to change the dynamic,” he said, adding that it would give African Americans greater political power and enable Black states and communities to demand necessary allocation of resources, and enact policies favorable to minority communities.

“There may be some fluctuation in Black political representation during the course of a reverse migration, and, in the beginning, positions added in the South may not balance out those lost in the North,” Blow said. “This is a function of how political machines operate.”

And while Blow writes that white people respond “forcefully” to Black progress, that concentration of African Americans to the South wouldn’t be a vulnerability, because of the political power it would create.

A study from the Brookings Institution indicates that a reverse migration is underway, and “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 sizable and growing Black middle class in the South’s major metropolitan areas,” the research noted.

But Blow’s hopes to provide an “adrenaline boost” to the free market that is drawing Blacks back to the South.

And with the migration and the drain of employee’s from the country’s businesses, the South — which Blow said is “already a haven” for Black-owned and operated businesses — will be able to create companies that compete with white-owned businesses nationally.

Blow adds that Africans Americans should “force” companies to chase them.

“When I look at the boards of the companies in Silicon Valley, and I look at how much Black people actually use social media — and it’s not reflected in those companies,” he said. “Make them set up shop where you are.”

A huge economic possibility from this migration, would be reparations that could be enacted on a state, and eventually, federal level, Blow said.

“First, you need to change the nature of the Senate,” he said. “You need to move back to consolidate power so that you can get more senators into those ranks, who believe what you believe” and “if you take over a state you can actually proceed in progress” and enacting policies like reparations.

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