African American News and Genealogy

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Region's Fringes Draw a 'New White Flight'

Calvert's Black Residents Feel Pushed Out by Newcomers By Amit R. Paley, Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, May 11, 2005; Page A01 Doris J. Spencer decided to move to Calvert County because it seemed to have everything. Taxes were low, the countryside was beautiful and every spot on this tiny Southern Maryland peninsula was just minutes from the water. But she quickly noticed something different from her old home in Alexandria: not many African Americans. "I spent days traveling around the county when I didn't see a single minority," said Spencer, 65, an African American who moved to Calvert five years ago. "I was in total cultural shock." It wasn't always like this. A century ago, Calvert was a majority-black outpost of freed slaves who farmed tobacco and harvested oysters. But over the past three decades, tens of thousands of whites have moved in, quadrupling Calvert's population and making it the fastest-growing county in Maryland. Today, blacks make up 12 percent of the population -- down from 22 percent in 1980. The percentage of white residents has risen from 63 percent in 1970 to 77 percent in 1980, to almost 86 percent today. The racial shift positions Calvert to rival Frederick County, which is almost 90 percent white, as one of the region's most racially homogeneous jurisdictions. Most of the Washington region has become increasingly diverse, with Asians, Latinos and other minorities making up two-thirds of the area's recent population growth. But some counties such as Calvert on the region's periphery are experiencing a different trend: They are becoming whiter. The demographic shift is transforming the map of the Washington region into something like a misshapen pizza, with counties such as Calvert, Anne Arundel and St. Mary's in Maryland and Fauquier and Culpeper in Virginia forming an increasingly white crust around the region's multicolored inner counties. In each of those five majority-white outer counties, the proportion of white residents has increased at least slightly in recent years. Full Story:


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