“It’s like leaving an abusive relationship,” some have said as they have left the U.S. ``permanently,” in search of new digs---a decent living situation that is the opposite of soul-killing. Some have more recently exited to Costa Rica (particularly Puerto Viejo), a warm weather environment complete with beaches, peacefulness, some jungle, and a wholly different vibe. Many have also moved to different African countries, spurred on by the positive images of the two recent Wakanda movies.
With state authorities in more than one area (Florida is not the only perpetrator) literally outlawing the teaching of balanced American history which demonstrates Black creativity, genius, and survival skills which have helped make this country great, many Black folk who can make the choice to leave, are currently doing so. Thousands have moved to Africa, particularly to Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Liberia, etc. Hundreds more have immigrated to England, Portugal, Mexico, Barbados and many other places. Getting their paperwork straight (dual citizenships, etc.) remains a vexation in many instances—they otherwise have to exit those countries every 60-90 days and later try to finagle the necessary paperwork to regain entry-- but there is a general sense that relief is on the way in that regard, and that cogent systems to obtain permanent residency are in the very near future.
This modern movement has been heavily promoted on social media where influencers and relocation services regularly regale viewers with scenarios showing that there is happiness beyond America for those willing to be a little adventurous. On WhatsApp and Facebook, for example, there are “Blacks in Bali”, “Brothas and Sistas” in Mexico City, etc. where there is always abundant information on how to make the transition, get hair braided, pay local bills, etc.
So far, there have not been many official calculations and statistics on how big a deal this has already become, but several noted authors, lecturers and teachers have already begun to announce that this phenomenon may become the next Great Migration of Black folks---this one not to Chicago, New York, Detroit or Paris, but actually way out of here in search of “better suns.” Like a marriage in a permanent decline, sometimes the only answer left is just to break it all apart and simply leave.
Famous author James Baldwin, when asked why he had abandoned New York for Paris, answered that he moved to France in 1948 “with the evolving theory that nothing worse would happen to him in Europe than had already happened to him in the U.S.”
A sister who chose to emigrate to Ghana in 2021, expressed it this way: “It was a time when America seemed to be splintering, with state laws banning the teaching of critical race theory — effectively barring the teaching of historical truths — and constant warnings about real dangers to democracy and the possibility of a new civil war. Eleven months earlier, I had watched as insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol, scaling walls, beating police officers with American flags, breaking historic glass windows, bursting doors and trampling through a federal building built by enslaved Black people. Someone erected a gallows and noose outside. One man carried a Confederate flag, a symbol of entrenched racism, through the halls of Congress. The fight for racial justice seemed to be failing. The moral floor had cracked. Democracy appeared to be imploding, and the country seemed to be increasingly dangerous for Black people. “ So she looked for new options, and I can’t blame her.
Is the American glass about to permanently shatter? Truth does not seem to prevail here anymore, and gun nuts seem to be gaining the ascendancy.
Maybe it is that time for us. Echoes of different places with open spaces seem to be wistfully calling. We must listen.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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