Date of Degree

2-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Sociology

Advisor(s)

Vilna Bashi-Treitler

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Sociology

Keywords

afro-caribbean, atlanta, immigration, migration, return migration, west indian

Abstract

In the 21st century, Atlanta, Georgia has become a major new immigrant destination. This study focuses on the migration of Afro-Caribbeans to Atlanta and uses data collected from in-depth interviews, ethnography, and the US Census to understand: 1) the factors that have contributed to the emergence of Atlanta as a new destination for Afro-Caribbean immigrants and 2) the ways in which Atlanta's large African American population, and its growing immigrant population, shape the incorporation of Afro-Caribbeans, as black immigrants, into the southern city. I find that Afro-Caribbeans are attracted to Atlanta for a variety of reasons, including warmer climate, job opportunities, higher education, lower costs of living, and opportunity for homeownership, but the most salient reason is race. Being black plays a significant role in Afro-Caribbean's decision to migrate to Atlanta and in their experiences living there. Atlanta is a 21st century Mecca of black wealth, higher education, and power. These characteristics, and Atlanta's large black population, especially its large number of black professionals, are attracting Afro-Caribbeans from traditional immigrant destinations in the US (i.e., New York City, Boston, Miami), the Caribbean, and other cities abroad. Afro-Caribbeans are developing their own communities, organizations, and spaces in Atlanta; however, they are also using their experiences and networks from their former communities to adjust to their new lives in Atlanta. Afro-Caribbeans' reception and incorporation are greatly shaped by the presence of "visible" immigrants, particularly Latino immigrants, and by their relationship with the city's large African American community. Though Afro-Caribbean's shared racial status with Atlanta's African American population has allowed them to seamlessly integrate into Atlanta, unlike the city's growing Asian and Latino immigrant populations, it has not automatically granted them access to networks long-established by the city's African American middle class. Over the past two decades, the influx of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, and a large, diverse group of other migrant newcomers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States, to Atlanta has triggered an unprecedented series of changes in the social, cultural, economic, political, and ethno-racial landscapes of the southern metro and has ushered in a new era in its history.

 
 

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