Drawn to the South

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I have always looked toward the South with curiosity. I have been equally curious about why the idea of living and working somewhere between the Mason-Dixon Line and the Gulf of Mexico continues to sound appealing. Sure, I have sojourned briefly to Atlanta, Florida, Mississippi, New Orleans and North and South Carolina. But a three-day conference or a daytrip is hardly my definition of an "experience."

So I was excited after discovering a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center report about a huge wave of Latino migration to six southern states, including Arkansas. My initial reaction was, "Latinos in the South?" But as I began researching the topic, the migration made sense. The region was flush with jobs in the 1990s, opportunities also drew whites and blacks. The Latinos who came were not just recent arrivals from south of the border. Many have left established "gateway" states like California, Illinois and Texas.

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Leonard Sparks
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