The Hernando De Soto Bridge crosses the Mississippi River near Horn Lake, MS. Credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk
Percentage of African American residents: 35.1%
African American households make $154 more than white households
Percentage of African American homeowners: 51%
Percentage of New African American residents: 15%
8. Horn Lake, MS
What Horn Lake, MS, lacks in size – the population is fewer than 27,000 people – the town more than makes up for in quality of life. Located near the Tennessee-Mississippi border, just a few miles south of Downtown Memphis, Horn Lake offers the best of both worlds – small-town charm with easy access to big-city amenities, making it one of the Best Cities for African Americans in the U.S.
Horn Lake has experienced significant growth among its African-American population – from 12 percent in 2000 to 35 percent today – most likely due to the city's prime location and affordability.
Horn Lake's location makes it easy to commute to the Memphis area, which significantly opens the job pool for African Americans. Many of the jobs in Horn Lake are in sales, office and administrative support, though there is a growing manufacturing industry. A new Walmart Supercenter, which opened in 2016 and added 500 jobs, is a good example of growth in the Horn Lake's retail sector. This economic diversity means the city is a healthy mix of both blue-collar and white-collar workers.
More good news: Horn Lake's unemployment rate is well below the national average, and both the income gap between blacks and whites and the poverty rate for African Americans are among the lowest of the cities on this list. The Horn Lake campus of Delta Technical College offers hands-on training to ensure students are job ready.
Horn Lake's housing costs are also much lower than neighboring cities, which most likely accounts for the fact that more than half of African-American residents are homeowners. Horn Lake's neighborhoods are flanked by more than a dozen parks and recreation areas that feature walking trails, playing fields, fishing holes and even skateboard ramps. Many African-American families are involved in youth sports and regularly cheer on the Horn Lake High School Eagles football and basketball teams.
Even though Memphis entertainment, nightlife and culture are just a short drive away, Horn Lake residents are fortunate to have most conveniences right in their own backyard. For example, instead of crossing the border for barbecue, families can drive down Highway 51 to Tom's Barbecue and Deli. Tom's is known for its Greek rubbed barbecue and has even been featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
Each summer, Horn Lake celebrates Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the announcement of the end of slavery. The North Mississippi Cultural Foundation hosts the Juneteenth Family Fun Festival at Latimer’s Lake Park. African-Americans can also find black-owned businesses, such as barber shops, beauty salons, shops and restaurants as well as African-American-owned professional services, in Southaven, MS, the city's next-door neighbor.