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The ‘Black Metropolis’ Revisited


  • Robert L. Boyd


The conventional wisdom on the Black metropolis of the early 20th century holds that urban Black communities in the South lagged far behind their counterparts in the North in terms of providing opportunities for Blacks to enter occupations that were associated with Blacks’ socioeconomic progress. Yet, analyses of census data in the present study offer mixed support for this wisdom. The odds of Black participation in art, show business, public service and professions were, as expected, lower in the urban South. Yet surprisingly, the odds of Black participation in most entrepreneurial ventures were approximately similar in the urban South and urban North. The results imply that the conventional wisdom should be modified to indicate that, at the beginning of the Great Migration, the benefits to Blacks of the large Black communities of northern cities were more cultural and political than economic.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert L. Boyd, 2012. "The ‘Black Metropolis’ Revisited," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 49(4), pages 845-860, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:49:y:2012:i:4:p:845-860

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