An Analysis of the Topic of African Americans Return to the South in Call to Home, an Ethnographic Account by Carol Stacks

Call to Home is an ethnographic account written by the author Carol Stacks following the lives of African American immigrants as they travel back south. The book reveals African American roots, emotions language, and family aspects, The book examines the motivation behind the new trend that has not been captured in other contexts. The
interesting factor about the ethnography i that it recognizes the fact that the south is considered a ‘vexed place one of the least promising economic regions in entire America, Carol’s story interweaves compelling human experience against the background of socio-economic aspects of migration and poverty.

To this extent this essay will examine the reasons behind the movement, focusing on how migrants maintained social bonds amidst changing family structure, the role children played, skills transferred to the South, and how poverty affected decision-making.
may seem ironic that people began migrating back to the South, a region tack describes as a vexed place and “persistent poverty counties”. However, an important motivator for this phenomenon was the notion amongst migrants that they possessed the necessary power to transform opportunities for the southern community; some came home with a mission “to mobilize their community against old scourges”.

Stack exemplifies this phenomenon using an admission of Eula Grant, a migrant from a family of five children, who returned to the South after working in Brooklyn, New York. While Grant acknowledged that the North had better economic opportunities and social amenities, she attested that she moved back to the South to provide for her family, and had a desire to initiate real changes while she could.

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It pushes her to realize she needed to return to her homeland.

Another reason for the reverse migration back to the South was the importance of family ties. As a minority group in the United States, African Americans had over generations realized that the only way to survive in extremely racial environments was to have support from one’s social background; “family life is a resource sometimes the only readily available resource that poor people can turn to in times of trouble” (Stack, 112). To galvanize one’s social security, a lot of emphases was placed on maintaining communication and cooperation amongst one’s family members. For this reason, most of the African Americans migrating from the North felt indebted to their relatives in the South, most of who had Brown old and needed support from people with whom they could easily identify. With the appreciation that their relatives in the South needed them, African Americans moved out of the North to reunite with their families. Children played a significant role in making linkages between the households in the North and those in the South. For one, children would occasionally be sent South between 1975 and 1980, either to be cared for or to assist their elderly relatives. As  asserted, “In some families, a summons to provide such care was directly linked to an individual’s decisive move back home.” In effect, their very presence amongst families in the South ensured the family unit remained intact through cooperation; distant relatives could not feel deserted by their kin. This was important given that the African American family structure was organized in such a manner that the extended family, especially uncles, aunts, and grandparents were culturally responsible for the welfare of their relatives, especially the young.

Poverty was a constant factor in decision making, For instance, Grant eventually got involved with Holding Hands, a non-profit organization based in the Chestnut County formed to supply poor folks with basic needs — food, wood for fuel, and furniture, Similarly, the implications of poverty on decision-making are further shown by the actions of another migrant, Billie, She used 16-years’ worth of savings accrued from a job at a beauty shop in the North to purchase an S-acre piece of land in the Chowan Springs, her Southern homeland. From another dimension, persons who could not make a living in the North and whose economic opportunities were not readily available for minority groups as a result of racial discrimination opted to move to the south where most of the African-American community lived. By so doing they hoped that, even though racial discrimination was also significant in the South, tir presence in the South would protect their land against the white man; without land, a person is at the mercy of the white community”. With the migration, the South benefited primarily with an income of skilled labor from people who were previously working in the industrialized North. Those who were skilled but unemployed would hope to practice their trades in the South in the spirit of bettering the lives of their relatives.

Following their migration into the South, social bonds were maintained in a variety of ways, Apart from the lining role played by children, social relationships were maintained through the formation of self-help groups. This was accomplished by conscious efforts initiated by returnees to maintain social cohesion; like new immigrants, they sought each other out, organized themselves into coalitions eventually started to get things going,

In conclusion, the migration to the south was a tremendous experience for the families involved. It presented a set of challenges ~ the distance threatened the cohesion of the family unit and the social bonds of the African American community. However, unity was preserved by parents sending their children south to link up with their kin, especially the old and weak. Additionally, the formation of groups taking care of the interests of the community was also equally important in the face of a myriad of challenges, especially poverty. Allin all, the great migration back to the south also presented a set of beneficial outcomes ~ relatives were reunited and got to learn new attitudes and economic skills from their incoming kin.

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An Analysis of the Topic of African Americans Return to the South in Call to Home, an Ethnographic Account by Carol Stacks. (2022, Jun 13). Retrieved from

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