The Atlanta Inquirer reports that the South, the historic home of Black Americans, was going through a “whitening” process, as the Southern Black population was decreasing.
1974 (Sep 28)
The Atlanta Inquirer reported a study by the Southern Regional Council (SRC) which showed that the South, the historic home of Black Americans, was going through a "whitening” process despite increasing Black concentrations in the urban areas of the region. All Southern states, except Texas, were losing more Blacks than were being replaced by the birthrate and the migration of young Blacks from the North. According to the study, the Black exodus from the South continued at such a steady pace that the region's Black population, as shown in the 1970 Census, was down to 20 percent—the same percentage recorded in 1790. The loss of Black populations was particularly acute in the rural areas. In Georgia, two-thirds of the state's 152 counties were losing Blacks; in Mississippi, 90 percent of the counties had declining Black populations. A similar story was told for Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas, all of which had 80 percent or more of their counties losing Blacks. Conversely, 51 percent of the population of Atlanta was Black. Augusta, Georgia, had a 50 percent Black population, and New Orleans, Charleston, and Savannah boasted Black populations of 45 percent or more. In sum, the study reported, there were ten metropolitan areas in the 11 southern states where the Black population was 40 percent or more. The SRC report's authors, Jack Tucker of Atlanta University and Everett S. Lee of the University of Georgia, concluded that the growth of the Black population lagged behind that of whites, such that year by year, "the South becomes increasingly white. Losses of Black population are frequent and heavy in rural counties, so Southern Blacks are increasingly concentrated in metropolitan areas. And within the metropolitan areas, Blacks are clustered in central cities with relatively few making their way into the more affluent suburbs.” “Generally,” the report says, “people move from one area to another for one of two reasons, either the attractiveness of destination outweighs that of origin or there are so many negative features at the point of origin that any place seems better.” Migration thus becomes a movement of the upper socioeconomic classes to seek better opportunities and of the lower economic classes to escape oppression that can no longer be endured.