Wealth Matters Home Ownership, Housing Values, and the Model Minority Myth of Black Meccas in The New South

Main Article Content

Maretta McDonald
Lori Latrice Martin


Black Meccas symbolize the structural—albeit residentially segregated—incorporation of a population subset identifying as both Black and middle-class, measured largely using income, and ignoring indicators of wealth. Given the tenuous nature of Black middle-class status and the challenges associated with measuring social class, we challenge conventional metrics categorizing Black Meccas, which often ignore asset ownership, values specific to housing, and Black population heterogeneity, including ethnic diversity. We examine racial and ethnic disparities in housing values across Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the New South in an effort to reevaluate definitions of Black Meccas. Using an underutilized perspective, the politics of respectability, and census-based data and regression modeling, we address a gap in the literature on race, place, and class by examining variations in the types and levels of assets owned and the appearance and/or disappearance of Black Meccas in the United States from the 1990s to 2016. We found that in Black Meccas of the New South wealth disparities, as reflected in the values of Black homes in comparison to their White counterparts, still exist.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Maretta McDonald

Maretta McDonald , University of Wisconsin-Madison - Professor McDonald is a National Poverty Fellow for 2022–2023 in residence at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). McDonald is a 2021–2022 American Sociological Association (ASA) Minority Fellow and a member of the inaugural 2021–2022 cohort of ASA/NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant awardees. Her current research interests are racial inequality, criminology/criminal justice, family, gender, spatial analyses, and public policy.

Lori Latrice Martin

Lori Latrice Martin, Department of African & African American Studies - Louisiana State University: Lori Latrice Martin is Associate Dean in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences and Professor in the Department of African & African American Studies at Louisiana State University.  Professor Martin is the author of many scholarly works, including Racial Realism and the History of Black People in America.