A View from the Black Depression

In the decade leading up to the Great Recession, Wanda Nolan grew accustomed to steady progress.

From an entry-level job as a fill-in bank teller, she forged a career as a commercial banking assistant, earning enough to become a homeowner. She finished college and then got an MBA....

But in September 2008, everything changed.

A bank human resources officer called her into a private conference room. “All I heard was, ‘Your position has been eliminated,’” ...

More than two years later, Nolan is still looking for a job and feeling increasingly anxious about a future that once felt assured."


“Over the course of the recession, the unemployment disparity between college educated blacks and whites actually widened,” says economist Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and Economy program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. “If black workers who are the most prepared to compete and work in the new economy can’t find jobs, that’s something that we as a country have to take seriously.”

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