With four historically Black colleges, including the all-women's Spelman College, Black Mayor Bill Campbell and dozens of professional organizations and clubs aimed at Black women, "Hot-lanta" is considered by many to be the Sister's mecca. "There are so many Black women here, we have kind of a special Sisterhood," says Shonnta Barnett, a 27-year-old systems manager for Bell South.
Professionally, Atlanta is the place to be, she says. Many of the local businesses track and recruit Black students straight from college to the corporate world. Major companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta and Bell South all have headquarters in the Southern city. "I think Atlanta is becoming a haven for young, Black people to find jobs," she says.
The pace of the Georgia town is another attraction. Atlanta combines the opportunities of big-city living with the personality of a smaller town.
Culturally, the perks of Atlanta are hard to match. Historical sites abound in the area from the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the APEX (African-American Panoramic Experience) Museum, a collection of art and exhibits. The city houses four professional sports teams, hundreds of entertainment venues and restaurants, museums, theaters, concert halls and nightclubs for every taste from jazz to hip-hop to reggae.
The only disadvantage to Atlanta living, Barnett says, may be the ratio of men to women but that depends on your outlook
With its enviable location on the cusp of the North and the South, Baltimore is a top choice for the Sister of 2000. Karen McClearn lived in New York City until her husband's job brought them to Baltimore five years ago. "Baltimore is a link to other cities," says McClearn, the Baltimore Urban League's program director for the Partnership for Fragile Families. African-Americans comprise nearly 60 percent of the area's residents, making it the second-largest population of Blacks in the U.S. Culturally, the area has a lot to offer with a vast array of museums. "There are also plays and concerts that are brought here all year," says McClearn. "Our nightlife is great. There are clubs that cater specifically to the 30-and-over crowd. I have single friends and they aren't pressed [to find a man]. You have a huge hybrid of professional Black men here; there are more than enough to go around."
Black women looking for a big city they can get their arms around should consider Chicago, a vibrant metropolis filled with culture, sports and natural beauty. A lakefront dotted with beaches, museums and bordered by trendy neighborhoods set this Midwestern city apart from other cities of its size. It's also the home of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Job opportunities in Chicago are plentiful, say area natives. "I think most people feel like they don't have to leave Chicago to find opportunities," says Irene Reed, a 26-year-old literary agent and native Chicagoan.
You can meet young, African-American doctors, lawyers, programmers, writers and artists at monthly events that attract a professional crowd or at one of the city's many poetry and jazz clubs, restaurants and bistros. "There are men and women here doing positive things," she says. "I moved back to Chicago from school a year ago and met my boyfriend within five months of being here."
Reed attributes some of that opportunity to Chicago's social environment. "Culturally, it's great," she says. "You have a little bit of everything here,"
The "Windy City" also has a strong tradition of Black history with plenty of sites for a Sister to explore, including the DuSable Museum of African-American History. Chicago has long been associated with Black activism. Both the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and the Nation of Islam call the city home.
It's that mix of Black history, political leadership and urban opportunity that keeps it on the list of must-consider cities for Sisters.
Cleveland insults are legendary. People once poked fun at the Midwestern city with nicknames such as "Slowhio" and "Mistake on the Lake." But Cleveland's renaissance has given its natives the last laugh.
Ohio's largest city may be one of the unknown gems of the Midwest. The mix of Fortune 500 companies, universities and industrial employers makes it a good place for professional Sisters looking for economic opportunity.
Politically, Cleveland has strong Black leadership, beginning with African-American mayor Michael White. Nearly half of its residents are Black. Cultural sites abound in the area, including the African-American Museum, St. John's Episcopal Church (once a stop on the Underground Railroad) and the Karamu Theater.
The dating situation gets mixed reviews from Clevelanders who say there are more opportunities for women in their 20s to meet a man than for those in their 30s. (OKAY I WON'T BE MOVING HERE!!!) LOL
When some people think of Dallas, they envision the White oil barons from the TV series of the same name. But Sisters in the Texas city say Black folks have just as much fun. Thirty percent of the city's residents are African-American. "The quality of life in Dallas is excellent," says Carole Davis, Women's Business initiative Coordinator for Dallas. "I have lived here all my life. I feel comfortable here, and I feel I have room to grow and excel. I have been enriched here."
You can find Sisters doing community service through sororities and civic organizations and see them demonstrating their expertise in every political level from the city council and state legislature to county judges, says Davis. Professional Black women find opportunities with up-and-coming businesses and the more established companies such as American Airlines and Frito-Lay.
And for girls who want to have fun, they're in the right town. Along with clubs, restaurants, museums, such as the Museum of African-American Life and culture, and theaters, Dallas offers plenty of things to keep boredom at bay.
"Dallas is one of the premier shopping areas in this country," says Davis. "We have the Dallas Black Academy, which produces several original plays annually and brings in top Black entertainers. The arts district is unparalleled."
Some say one of the trendiest spots is the Deep Ellum neighborhood, a strip of galleries, restaurants, boutiques and clubs. And there is no shortage of Brothers to show you the sights.
"There are over 100,000 Black men in Dallas between the ages of 22 and 44," says Don Walker, a local statistician. "Nearly half of the men have never been married. The ratio of Black men to women is 9 men for every 10 women."
"The opportunities for Black women in Detroit are tremendous, if the women who are currently serving in leadership position in the city are any indication," says Greg Bowens, press secretary for he city's Museum of African-American Detriot mayor Dennis Archer. "sisters are On the move here."
Home of the blues, Memphis possesses an eclectic charm. Black folks comprise more than 50 percent of its population. The spirit of soul permeates from Beale Street to the National Civil Rights Museum on Mulberry Street.
"You can't get any better than Memphis when it comes to culture," says Tina Birchett, owner of Birchett and Associates, a local publishing company. "Every culture basically has its home roots here in the Delta, including the blues. We have a rich sense of history and heritage."
Sisters are making amazing strides in the Southern city, from Black women entrepreneurs to mothers who save to make sure their children get educational opportunities they missed. Birchett bristles when someone describes Memphis as being "stow," saying, unlike big cities, Tennessee natives take time to think things through. Another perk of living in a smaller city, Birchett says, is the low cost of living.
"You get a whole lot for your money," says the 39-year-old. "I challenge anybody to find what you can buy for $100,000 in Memphis in other cities. We still have grass in our yards. You can still hear the crickets and smell the rain. That gets lost in other cities."
The combination of Black culture, Southern charm and eligible men--particularly Brothers from one of the area's Naval bases makes Norfolk an attractive choice for Sisters, says Carletta Waddler, who has called the city home for 20 years.
"The Hampton Roads area has about 1.6 million people and still keeps that small-town feeling," says the 40-something married mother of two. "We have all the advantages of the city with cultural and job opportunities."
Then there's the men. "I was single for more than 10 years in this area," says Waddler. "We go through the same challenges that Black women everywhere go through, but the ratios are definitely better here than in other areas. We have a large military presence, so there are a lot of eligible men.
The city is blessed with sun, temperate winds and beautiful scenery. Jeannette Edgerly, executive assistant to the city manager, says she would never think of leaving. "The climate is good here and there are a lot of African-American people going places and doing things," she says. "Oakland is a [unique] city of diversity, not like I've seen anywhere else."
Philadelphia, home of the '97 Million Woman March, is a city worth considering for Sisters who seek the pulse of an urban locale. With nearly 40 percent of its population made up of Black residents, there are plenty of activities and sites geared to culture-hungry African-Americans, including African-American festivals and historic monuments
"I think the quality of men here is great," she says. "African-American men are progressive, business and political leaders, and many of them are eligible." ()
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE LIST?