In 2004, Sheryl Royster moved from Brockton, Massachusetts to Raleigh-Durham North Carolina. The cold weather and high cost of living left her looking for a change.
“I was paying $800 a month for a three bedroom house. You can’t even get a one bedroom apartment here for that,” Royster said.
She wishes she had moved years earlier.
She said that all of her friends in North Carolina moved from the Northeast. The population in the area she lived in was growing rapidly, with new kids flooding into the school system each year.
Royster is part of a growing trend called “The Great Re-Migration”.
According to the Brookings Institute, over the last two decades, the South has seen a steady increase in black migration to states such as Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. Inversely, the black population in Northern states is decreasing. They are calling it a reversal of history, and “no signs of a slow down are apparent” in what is now being called remigration.
Decades after desegregation and repeal of the Jim Crow laws, many African Americans who are living in the north have now chosen to remigrate back to the South. With many of the reasons they left no longer keeping them from the towns where their families once originated, many young and old are making the journey below the Mason-Dixon line.
Paulette Walker of Brockton cites a larger African American population as the reason her daughter moved south to go to college.
“She liked the southern culture, and down there, there were more people that looked like her,” Walker said.
She said her daughter was comfortable in the South at Spellman College in Atlanta because she was surrounded by people like her.
“She will likely never leave the South,” said Walker of her daughter.
People have moved south for many different reasons, whether it be the weather, education, socialization or money. Those who move do not seem to want to leave.
Royster eventually moved back to Brockton in 2012 to be closer to her family, however, she says, “I would go back in a heart beat.”