What's New About the New South? Race, Latino Immigration, and Inter-group Relations

As a result of the Durham Pilot Project: St. Benedict the Black meets the Virgin of Guadalupe, we now have site-specific answers to some of the questions raised earlier, but in order to see whether attitudes identified in Durham manifest themselves in other Southern cities that have been the recipients of substantial Latino immigration. Thus, I submitted a proposal to the Russell Sage Foundation to resurvey Durham and expand the project into four additional cities—Memphis, TN, Little Rock, AR, Greensboro, NC, and Dalton, GA. The Russell Sage Foundation awarded a grant to fund three of the cities, e.g., Durham, Memphis and Little Rock. I will be searching for additional funds to include the other two. The grant is for $157,000 and runs from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2008.

The Durham Pilot Project: St. Benedict the Black meets the Virgin of Guadalupe

The past 10 to 15 years has seen a tremendous increase in the Latino population in the South. What is different about the South, especially the states of the Old Confederacy, from the other cities that I have studied over the years, is that Latinos, for the most part, are an entirely new population introduced into the region. Historically, the racial dynamic, rooted in slavery and solidified during Jim Crow, has been wholly black and white. The increasing presence of this third group, Latinos, has created and is creating conflicts and tensions among blacks, Latinos and whites. This project is aimed at identifying the sources of the conflict among blacks, whites and Latinos, and the effect Latinos are having on the politics and socioeconomic status of blacks and whites in a Southern context. It is a pilot study using Durham as the research site.

The project, begun in 2001, has several data sources--historical, elite interviews and a survey. We developed a questionnaire and are in the process of interviewing black, Latino, and white elites. Our goal is to complete fifty interviews. The Ford Foundation has funded the city-wide survey which was conducted by the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia and completed in July 2003. The sample consists of 500 black, white, Latino and other residents of Durham, NC.