Throughout the twentieth century, millions of African Americans, many from impoverished, historically black counties, left the South to pursue what they thought would be a better life in the North. But not everyone moved away during what scholars have termed the Great Migration. What has life been like for those who stayed? Why would they remain in a place that many outsiders would see as grim, depressed, economically marginal, and where racial prejudice continues to place them at a disadvantage?
Through oral history William Falk tells the story of an extended family in the Georgia-South Carolina lowcountry. Family members talk about schooling, relatives, work, religion, race, and their love of the place where they have lived for generations. This “conversational ethnography” argues that an interconnection between race and place in the area helps explain African Americans’ loyalty to it. In Colonial County, blacks historically enjoyed a numerical majority as well as deep cultural roots and longstanding webs of social connections that, Falk finds, more than outweigh the racism they face and the economic disadvantages they suffer.