ATLANTA — A year ago this week, I packed some bags and left New York City for Atlanta.
I’d lived in New York for 26 years. The city made me feel awake and alive — buildings tickling the sky, trains snaking underfoot. There was a seductive muscularity to the city, a feeling of riding the razor between your destiny and your demise.
I had become a New Yorker, a Brooklyn boy. There I had raised my children. There I planned to live out my days.
But the exquisite fierceness of the city, its blur of ambition and ingenuity, didn’t hide the fact that many of my fellow Black New Yorkers were locked in perpetual oppression — geographically, economically and politically isolated. All around the North, Black power, if it existed, was mostly municipal, or confined to regional representation. Black people were not serving as the dominant force in electing governors or senators or securing Electoral College votes.