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These negative perceptions among minorities led a group of business leaders to discussions in the late s. Did she like Dallas?

But the biggest difference they saw was that those other cities had a more visible presence of high-achieving blacks in political and business circles. But the scene is here, if you know where to find it. The Claytons picked Dallas over other cities, believing it would be the best place to raise their children, ages 6 years, 3 years, and 4 weeks.

She researched neighborhoods online and got excited about North Oak Cliff, with its diverse demographics and older, historic homes. I like the people. In New York, she never had a problem finding a crowd of black professionals, in restaurants, at the gym. As the days passed, Payne was pleased with some of the perks of her new life: an easy commute to her office in Uptown and a much lower cost of living, which allowed her to upgrade to a 1,square-foot condominium, more than double the space she had in Brooklyn. She, too, had been worried about the social experience of living in Dallas.

One catch: the job was in Dallas. But Dallas Irving TX women date black men emerged as a key player in the migration shift, Frey says. His social life is, in part, dictated by groups such as Facebook and Meetup. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area ranked fourth for attracting the largest of African-Americans between anddrawing a yearly average of 7, new residents, according to William H. Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.

Coming in first was the Atlanta area, with an average of 23, new black residents a year; then Houston, with 11,; followed by Charlotte, with 10, Clearly, Atlanta remains the overwhelming magnet for African-Americans in the South, attracting triple that of Dallas and more than Dallas and Houston combined. To find friends, she leaned on her alumni networks, eventually assembling a group of five close black female friends.

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Atlanta has several historically black colleges, as does Houston, with Texas Southern University. When Reeves relocated to Fort Worth, his housing decision largely was driven by the quality of schools for his two children, who are now ages 12 and 4. Frey believes the Dallas metro area will continue to be a major draw for blacks in coming years. We should find you a nice condo in Uptown.

Curry acknowledges that it might be harder for black professionals to find their social niche in Dallas than some other cities. They decided to forsake the nebulous and focus on the concrete: recruiting minorities to North Texas.

After Harvard Law and a stint in Boston, Clayton and his wife, Tonika, also a Harvard graduate, decided to move to DeSoto and build a home in a gated community with a mix of black and white residents. Pinnock and her friends felt that the Dallas sprawl made it feel more segregated, because black professionals were spread out across the suburbs. While mayor, Kirk was dressed in a tuxedo at a charity event, standing beside his wife, who was wearing an evening gown.

They had long heard that minorities had a negative impression of Dallas. Most simply, clients searching for attorneys, ants, or bankers like to see a little of themselves in the company ranks. For comparison, Atlanta is 32 percent black. At her Brooklyn apartment, Payne picked up the phone and dialed one of the few people she knew in Dallas, a classmate from Harvard Business School who also was black. The future of the city, Clayton believes, is tied to the future of its south. And Emanuel Cleaver, the first black mayor of Kansas City.

Like many thirtysomethings on a fast-track career path, Payne was ambitious.

Payne asked. The executives were having trouble recruiting and retaining minority professionals, particularly blacks. She parted ways with that agent and hired one who lived in North Oak Cliff. Despite ificant growth in the black population here, the Dallas metro area is still only 15 percent black. Are there many black professionals there?

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Yet, interestingly, this perception is at odds with the data. Curry, 30, returned to Dallas, bought a condominium downtown, and works as a senior communications and marketing analyst for Dell. There was also the charismatic Willie Brown, the first black mayor of San Francisco. Dallas scored slightly better than Atlanta, which came in as the 41st most segregated area. Reeves says he believes the area suffers from not having more integrated, diverse communities.

The women hoped that perhaps with the continued growth of the Dallas Arts District and the new downtown deck park, a more diverse group of professionals will linger in the city and cross paths. But one thing was immediately troubling. Here, when she went out after work, she often was the only black person in sight. Dallas has benefited from the reversal of a long-term Great Migration north by thousands of black residents throughout the early part of the 20th century, as they went in search of better jobs and more tolerant communities.

He notes Dallas ranked second nationally for overall black population gain between andwhich included migration and local births. With an overwhelmingly white work force, company leaders knew they needed to diversify to survive. In the s, demographers noticed that the s had fully turned around, with African-Americans leaving former magnets like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and repopulating southern cities such as Dallas.

Consider, he says, Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of Atlanta. That led him to North Richland Hills, a mostly white suburb. A quiet pause followed, then a string of hesitant utterances. Kirk, now the U. Trade Representative under Obama, says the city was struggling with the same racial issues when he arrived in the s as a young lawyer.

When Clayton ran around the track at the DeSoto Recreation Center, he watched the 9- to year-old boys gather to play basketball. Cedric Mims is also on the list. And it has long been neglected by the city. Then he went off to Harvard. Reeves answered politely, then drove away.

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They started and ended practice with a prayer. He graduated from Cedar Hill High School, received a law degree from Pepperdine University, then was ready to come home. Knowledge of different cultures means access to more consumers.

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There, his family lived in a diverse upper-class neighborhood with great schools in Sugar Land. His immediate neighbors included families who were white and black, as well as families from India and China. Ken Reeves came to North Texas six years ago as a human resources executive. When Allen was recruited from Harvard Business School, she tried to avoid this experience by picking a neighborhood with a diverse population of whites, blacks, and Hispanics. As Kirk glided across Stemmons Freeway, he rolled down the window, cocked his arm, and flung them out.

They feature phrases, including "he's much more likely to abuse you," "he's much more likely to have stds" and "your kids probably won't be smart."

She bought a one-way ticket, stopped at a BMW dealership to pick up a car, and drove to her newly purchased condominium in Uptown. Over dinners, they talked about living in Dallas and how it fell short in some ways compared to other cities, particularly Atlanta. Demographers call it the New Great Migration. In one of the more notable demographic shifts of recent decades, blacks have been moving by the thousands to southern cities, including, and especially, Dallas.

He was born in Dallas. He moved with his family to DeSoto when he was 18 years old. You want to have these role models, to see people who look like you, doing the things you want to do. During the same period, the black population dropped in the metropolitan areas of New York and Chicago for the first time. Reeves says he initially was hesitant to leave Houston.

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He was born in Waxahachie. At a time of striking growth among the black population in the Dallas area, the city still suffers from an image problem among black professionals who perceive other cities—Atlanta; Chicago; or Washington, D. Michael Boone, founding partner of the Dallas law firm Haynes and Boone, says his firm still struggles to recruit African-American attorneys to Dallas and has resorted to sending out letters to the top black student law groups in the country, encouraging members to apply.

Census data. Dallas has never really embraced its responsibility to educate an increasingly ethnic population. Young black lawyers often are told that if they want to work in the South, they should go to Atlanta, not Dallas, he says. So we perceive there is a glass ceiling, and we leave.

But when she got a call from the relocation real estate agent, the woman tried to dissuade her. Taj Clayton and family at his campaign headquarters.


What would it be like, Payne wondered, to live in Dallas as a thirtysomething black woman? In a time of shifting demographics, and an extraordinarily connected world economy, these company leaders knew they must court diversity for competitive edge. His eyes kept falling on Reeves as he took in the car and the suit. Attorney W. Where are they? One of the women was Lauren Graye, a black professional who moved back to her hometown of D. It seems much more likely for me to achieve a certain level of success in a company that already has African-Americans in executive positions.

A man walked up and tossed his keys to Kirk, mistaking him for the valet. He was born in East Texas.

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Race was still a top issue 20 years later when he ran for mayor. The top spots went to Milwaukee, New York, and Chicago. Ken Reeves and family playing basketball. There are those who have left and come home again.