The Black Exodus from New York: The 21st Century "Great Migration Back South" Begins

Something strange is happening in America (we said this yesterday, but it’s true… something strange is happening in America).

America’s biggest cities are seeing their Black populations decrease exponentially. New York City, once known as the Black Mecca in America, has seen a mass exodus of Black people:

New York City holds a special place in the collective conscience of Black America. 

Not only does it have the highest concentration of blacks — according to the 2000 Census, there were more blacks living in New York City than in all but four whole states — much of black intellectual power and cultural capital has been accrued within its borders. 

It gave voice to Shirley Chisholm, refuge to Malcolm X, legs to Althea Gibson and opportunity to Jackie Robinson. It was the incubator of the Harlem Renaissance, the proving ground of jazz and the birthplace of hip-hop. 

It was a black Mecca and magnet. Was. 

Next week, the Census Bureau will release local data for New York. And if those data come in as expected, they will show the first drop in the black population of New York City on a census since at least 1880, according to Professor Andy Beveridge, a sociologist at the City University of New York. (The white, Asian and Hispanic populations are all expected to grow.) 

Part of the shift is likely from an overall trend in black migration toward the South and the suburbs. For example, the 2010 Census figures show that Georgia’s black population grew by 23 percent and Florida’s by 25 percent, but as The Associated Press reported Friday: ”The share of blacks in large metropolitan areas who opted to live in the suburbs climbed to 58 percent in the South, compared with 41 percent for the rest of the U.S.” 

There is also the city’s continued shedding of manufacturing jobs and shrinking middle class that is pushing it ever closer to becoming a dim, stilted wasteland of the wealthy, from edge to edge. 

But to the soup of reasons and recriminations I would like to add one more possible factor that must be considered if not studied: the hyper-aggressive police tactics that have resulted in a concerted and directed campaign of harassment against the black citizens of this city. 

According to a report in The Times last year, there were a record 580,000 stop-and-frisks in the city in 2009. Most of those stopped (55 percent) were black (a large portion were also Hispanic), most were young and almost all were male. For reference, according to the Census Bureau, there were about only 300,000 black men between the ages of 13 and 34 living in the city that year. A mere 6 percent of the stops resulted in arrests. 

The Times article revealed that in one eight-block area of an overwhelmingly black neighborhood in Brooklyn, the police made 52,000 stops in just four years, an average of nearly one stop for each resident each year.
And many of those arrested are charged with having small amounts of marijuana. According to an analysis of these arrests by Harry Levine, another sociologist at the City University of New York, the New York Police Department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made more of these minor drug arrests than under his previous three predecessors combined. These targeting tactics mean that blacks are arrested for minor drug possession at seven times the rate of whites although on national surveys whites consistently say that they use marijuana more than blacks or Hispanics. 

Why would people stay and withstand this if they had the wherewithal to leave? 

If this is even part of the reason blacks are fleeing from, or simply not coming to, our great metropolis, then the city, knowingly or not, is engaged in its own subtle form of ethnic cleansing — a sort of eradication by intimidation.

It’s a bloody shame that New York City, once a city infested with crack users and crime, got tough on Black crime in a way that Seattle never would. In 2007, City Journal reported these sobering statistics:

Though blacks, 24 percent of New York City’s population, committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city last year, according to victims and witnesses, they were only 55 percent of all stop-and-frisks. Of course, the Times didn’t give the actual crime figures. Even a spate of vicious assaults on police officers in the week before the indictments didn’t change the predominant story line that officers were trigger-happy racists.

Worse,the majority of murder victims happen to be Black people:

A Daily News review of the latest NYPD crime statistics shows drugs are a factor in at least half of city homicides – and two out of three victims are black.

Stats through Tuesday reveal 49% of all murder victims are involved with drug use and/or drug sales. The figure is 53% for murder suspects.

The numbers say 67% of murder victims are black, with 25% Hispanic and just 4% white.

In 12% of city slayings, drugs are the exclusive motive. Police say that figure is much higher when other factors such as previous disputes and criminal histories of victims and suspects are included.

The days, times and places where death is most imminent for New Yorkers:

  • The deadliest day of the week: Saturday (89 murders).
  • The safest: Tuesday (58 murders).
  • The deadliest time of day: 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. (41 murders).
  • The deadliest weapon: Guns, used in 62% of all killings.
  • The deadliest precinct: Brooklyn’s 75th, with 30 murders. 


Much of the data mirrors past years, when black men were most often targeted in fatal shootings.

The city’s homicide total stands at 476 through Tuesday, compared with 470 for all of 2009. Police suggest the bump indicates the NYPD is also a victim – of its own success after last year’s record low.

Tony Fields, whose barbershop sits in the city’s most lethal precinct, never noticed much change around his East New York business. “It’s not that complicated,” said Fields, 44. “Lots of guns and drugs equals a high murder rate. Get rid of the drugs. Get rid of the guns. Get rid of the murders.”

Mr. Fields is wrong. Getting rid of the Black population will, conversely, get rid of murders. It’s that simple. Just look at Washington D.C., where violent crime rates are dropping with the dramatic rise in the white population.

High rates of stop and risk for Black people in New York City happen because of high rates of criminality by Black people. It’s why even Black taxi drivers don’t want to pick up Black taxi patrons.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Black people all over America are participating in a reversal of the “Great Migration” of the 20th century. They are headed BACK to the South in unbelievable numbers.

The fate of Gotham City as depicted in Escape From New York City is no more. As Black people leave, order is restored.

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