The "New" Black in the New South: Negotiating Race and Space in North Carolina's Immigrant Communities

Masonya J Bennett, Florida International University


This dissertation explores identity and subject formation among black immigrant populations in Charlotte, N.C, a non-traditional gateway city. It interrogates claims made by regional scholars and policy-makers that, due to recent demographic shifts and economic development, Charlotte embodies the “New South”, a designation signifying the transition from an agricultural to a corporation-based economy and from a racially polarized to a multicultural society. Based upon 18 months of ethnographic research utilizing a mixed method approach among immigrants of African descent in the trans-ethnic enclave of East Charlotte, the dissertation focuses on the role of space, place, material culture and affect in black subject formation, demonstrating that East Charlotte is a trans-ethnic alternative community fostered by affective kinship. It argues that black subjects are compelled to create alternative spaces of belonging and inclusion and that these alternative spaces are representative of what I propose is an “Alternative New South,” one that more truly embodies the character of the New South articulated in mainstream narratives. The people, spaces, places and things that compose this Alternative New South reflect the alterity, contention, and solidarity that black immigrant subjects in Charlotte encounter, embrace, and embody. By asserting the model of a trans-ethnic-alternative community, my work (re)places the agency of constructing the projected narrative of the New South in the hands of black and brown subjects, not policy-makers and corporate entities.

Subject Area

Public policy|Public administration|Black studies

Recommended Citation

Bennett, Masonya J, "The "New" Black in the New South: Negotiating Race and Space in North Carolina's Immigrant Communities" (2019). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI28151047.