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“I’m not entirely certain why that is so, but I think many thoughtful people are concerned about it.” Despite significant growth in the black population here, the Dallas metro area is still only 15 percent black. Black professionals who have moved to Dallas say they often don’t see other blacks at their corporate headquarters, in their neighborhood grocery stores in Uptown or Lakewood, or at happy hours downtown.
Nationally, it ranks ninth for having the largest black population, behind New York; Atlanta; Chicago; Washington, D. That was Payne’s experience when she first moved to Dallas in the fall of 2006.
“I quickly realized that if I wanted to socialize with other black professionals, I was going to have to work for it,” Payne says.
She bought a one-way ticket, stopped at a BMW dealership to pick up a car, and drove to her newly purchased condominium in Uptown.“It’s not really legal for me to say this, but it’s not the right demographic for you.We should find you a nice condo in Uptown.” Allen hung up the phone, confused.In a glass skyscraper on Park Avenue in New York, executives offered Onay Payne her dream job. A quiet pause followed, then a string of hesitant utterances. “I suppose if it’s a great professional move—but socially, I wouldn’t recommend it.” At a time of striking growth among the black population in the Dallas area, the city still suffers from an image problem among black professionals who perceive other cities—Atlanta; Chicago; or Washington, D. “Dallas is a tough sell,” says April Allen, the friend Payne called, and executive director of KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth, a nonprofit charter school organization that has had trouble recruiting education reformers to the area.The bosses at her real estate private equity firm wanted Payne to oversee a new 0 million fund, a significant promotion. What would it be like, Payne wondered, to live in Dallas as a thirtysomething black woman? “There is definitely the perception that Dallas isn’t as progressive as other cities for African-Americans.” Michael Boone, founding partner of the Dallas law firm Haynes and Boone, says his firm still struggles to recruit African-American attorneys to Dallas and has resorted to sending out letters to the top 100 black student law groups in the country, encouraging members to apply.