- To Leave or Not to Leave?: The 'Boomerang Migration' of Lillian Bertha Jones Horace (1880-1965), Texas's Earliest Known Black Woman Novelist, Diarist, and Publisher
- Black Women, Gender & Families
- University of Illinois Press
- Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 2010
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Migration historians have outlined the various kinds of migration shaping African American history in the early twentieth century. But the predominant migration narrative emphasized for African American southerners during the Jim Crow period has depicted a collective centrifugal experience, with black southerners fleeing deadly epicenters of racial violence, poverty, and discrimination as they headed northward or westward to freedom and economic opportunity. Their presumed unidirectional movement away from the South is generally described as constructive, while the decisions of others to remain in the South are often associated with dearth or stasis. Lillian Bertha Jones Horace's many migrations and returns to, from, or within Southern, Western, Northern, and Eastern spaces—including Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, and New York—affirm that migration was more nuanced than the predominant South-to-North paradigm suggests. Pushed and pulled by various life exigencies, including educational pursuits, professional opportunities, and family and personal matters, Horace never left the South "for good" but departed and returned many times over the course of her life. Her nuanced migration experience, which began and ended in Texas, suggests the need for examining what I call "boomerang migration" and its implications for African American history in general and the history of African American Southern women in particular.