Opinion: 5,872 reasons why we truly do need each other

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Chattanooga's skyline is seen over the ridge on Moccasin Bend, in this photo made from Lookout Mountain on November 16, 2021.

Perhaps we're wrong.

Not about the numbers.

The numbers - based on census data - are clear.

Between 2010 and 2020, the African American population in our city declined. In that decade, some 5,872 Black Chattanoogans left Chattanooga.

And 5,279 white Chattanoogans moved here.

But the reasons?

"Why it's happening, we don't necessarily know," said Ken Chilton, associate professor of public administration at Tennessee State University. "We do know that African Americans in and around downtown neighborhoods have been either displaced to suburban locations or are choosing to vote with their feet and move elsewhere for better opportunities, lower costs of living or whatever."

Last Sunday, Chilton presented during the Unity Group's 52nd annual MLK Week. He summarized this trend in two words.

"Black flight," he said.