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Once again, Atlanta was far and away the top gainer, growing by 39 percent, or 473,493 people, more than Dallas and third-ranked Houston combined, according to Frey’s analysis of U. And yet the negative perceptions of Dallas endure among black professionals.“For all the growth and opportunity and dynamism of Dallas, the racial divide persists,” says James Waters, a black attorney who moved to Dallas in 2000 from New York to join Haynes and Boone.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 1,750-square-foot condominium, more than double the space she had in Brooklyn. In New York, she never had a problem finding a crowd of black professionals, in restaurants, at the gym.Here, when she went out after work, she often was the only black person in sight.But Dallas has emerged as a key player in the migration shift, Frey says.“Dallas is one of the major magnets for blacks, and professional blacks, in the U. “You’re talking about Dallas in the same breath that you’re talking about Atlanta or Houston or some of the North Carolina cities.” 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.“There is definitely a cultural divide, where blacks do the black scene, and whites do the white scene,” says former Dallas resident Kari Pinnock, a black professional who left Dallas for her hometown of Toronto last fall. Dallas scored slightly better than Atlanta, which came in as the 41st most segregated area.“In other cities, there is more of a cultural mix.” In rankings of the country’s top 100 metro areas in terms of black-white segregation, Dallas falls in the middle of the pack, coming in at No. The top spots went to Milwaukee, New York, and Chicago.

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area ranked fourth for attracting the largest number of African-Americans between 20, drawing a yearly average of 7,678 new residents, according to William H.

“I’m not entirely certain why that is so, but I think many thoughtful people are concerned about it.” Despite significant growth in the black population here, the Dallas metro area is still only 15 percent black. Black professionals who have moved to Dallas say they often don’t see other blacks at their corporate headquarters, in their neighborhood grocery stores in Uptown or Lakewood, or at happy hours downtown.

Nationally, it ranks ninth for having the largest black population, behind New York; Atlanta; Chicago; Washington, D. That was Payne’s experience when she first moved to Dallas in the fall of 2006.

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. Young black lawyers often are told that if they want to work in the South, they should go to Atlanta, not Dallas, he says.

“We’ve got to work harder to convince people that Dallas is a good place to be,” Boone says.

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