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A Call to Action: Charles Blow on Why Black Americans Should Migrate to the Southern States (online)

Charles M. Blow sets out his bold plan to help Black Americans take political power and change American politics forever in the process.

In the aftermath of the killing last year of George Floyd, Charles Blow had an idea. Black Americans, reasoned the celebrated New York Times columnist, could gain political power not by waiting patiently for white voters  to support more Black candidates but by reversing the Great Migration and moving to the South en masse. 

In the first census after the American Civil War, Black people in Georgia were almost in the majority. But in 1916 Black Georgians, along with Black people from all over the Southern States, headed north to get away from the deeply rooted racism of the South. By 1970 six million Black Southerners had departed, leaving the Southern states with overwhelming white majorities.

In March 2021 Blow came to Intelligence Squared to explain the arguments he makes in his new book The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto. He argued that if enough African-Americans move south, the demographic balance in the Southern States will be tipped in favour of Black voters and politicians. His new home state of Georgia he practises what he preaches and left Brooklyn for Atlanta – recently voted for a Democrat presidential candidate and two Democratic Senate candidates, one of whom became the first Black senator in the state’s history. The growing African-American population in Georgia was pivotal in these votes, Blow believes.




Charles Blow

Columnist for the New York Times and author of the bestseller The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto

Acclaimed journalist and op-ed columnist for the New York Times who appears frequently on CNN. He is the author of the memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones and most recently the instant New York Times bestseller The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto.

Dele Olojede

Journalist and former foreign editor for Newsday

Dele Olojede is a writer, editor and publisher, whose career in journalism spans nearly four decades and took him to more than 100 countries, including stints as bureau chief in Johannesburg and Beijing for New York Newsday. In 2005 he received journalism’s highest honour, the Pulitzer Prize. He was educated at the University of Lagos and Columbia University in the City of New York. He serves on the board of EARTH University in Costa Rica, The Mark Up, in New York, and on the advisory board of Luminate, the civic investment arm of the Omidyar Network. He is also chair of the board of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellowship.