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BLACKS' RETURN TO SOUTH NO PARADISE

BLACKS' RETURN TO SOUTH NO PARADISE

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To the editor:

Staff writer Dawn Kane's Jan. 15 article, ``Area draws blacks from North,' was a most revealing presentation highlighting the gradual increase of African-Americans in South and North Carolina.While interviews with university professionals provided revealing opinions about the reasons for this reverse migration, a few important facts were left out.

The article would have benefited by including the reasons for the migration out of the South by blacks in the early- to mid-1900s. Vicious Jim Crow living conditions and the resultant dismal prospects for decent employment and life opportunities forced many blacks who would not have left the South to migrate west, north and east.

With the civil rights movement producing a different legal and political atmosphere in which blacks could live, it is not unimaginable to wonder why some African-Americans would return home to a region where they have had a historical presence since the 17th century.

But to say that the South is a land of opportunity and promise for blacks is not entirely true. Blacks still live in the shadow of the plantation, be it the corporate office building, city hall or the university administration building. Although the cost of living is lower in comparison to other regions, the overall quality of life cannot compare when educational, cultural, business and financial opportunities are clearly examined.

The existence of black-oriented public and private schools is the key difference in the region, along with the historical black-support organization, religious institutions and black land owners in the rural areas. Low wages and a failing state educational system give North Carolina poor drawing power for anyone, especially a relocating, educated black American.

And then there is the question of the attitudes of many whites, as quiet as it is kept, toward their black brethren in the South. The day of the vicious racist is virtually gone. Yet the white population, as a whole, fails to speak out against racist terror groups, bombings or continued discrimination against the black community and its population.

Forsyth and Guilford County commissioners, respectively, denied funds recently to black-oriented holidays or public events. Except for some support from white liberals, the average white citizen could not have cared less. The time has come for this to change and for the decent, brotherly whites to speak out against these abuses so as to create a better community of brotherhood and trust.

Other challenges face African-American relocatees, however, these from within the black community itself. In Greensboro it is not uncommon for a relocated black to be questioned by a North Carolina-born black as to why he or she chose to live in the South. The agrarian attitudes and opinions of many first- or second-generation African-Americans who have relocated from farm-oriented counties in eastern North Carolina into the Piedmont cities often comes into conflict with the cosmopolitan ideas and experiences of the black relocatees from the North.

Much work remains to be done by community organizations and researchers to study this situation and to provide a mechanism for greater integration of cultures and ideas. This is most especially true when black single adults relocate here. If a case study were done it would probably show that, at least in the Triad, these black relocatees leave rather than stay, partly because of questioning attitudes by many (blacks included) as to why they are not married and the seeming lack of available and similarly-educated potential mates within the region itself.

Hopefully, my observations can help increase the knowledge about the true situation facing African-Americans as more and more migrate back home to the Southern United States.

Morris White Greensboro

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