50 years of recessionary-level unemployment in black America

In 1963, civil rights activists were keenly aware that blacks were suffering disproportionately from high unemployment, and, therefore, one of the demands of the march was for a jobs program that would provide a job to every American who wanted to work. As this recent EPI report explains, we have not yet achieved this goal and blacks have persistently endured what can be considered a “permanent recession.” [Read more]


Local GOP Leader Calls a Black Former Miss America a "Street Walker"

A former Miss America winner who is now a GOP candidate for Congress was called a string of profane names today, including "street walker," "love child" and "Miss Queen. " Her attacker? A local Republican Party chairman in central Illinois. [Read more]


Economic Goals of the 1963 March on Washington Still Unrealized

"But the hard economic goals of the march, critical to transforming the life opportunities of African Americans, were not fully achieved. The organizers of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also demanded decent housing, adequate and integrated education, a federal jobs program for full employment, and a national minimum wage of over $13.00 an hour in today’s dollars." [Read more]

Infographic: The Unfinished Business of the 1963 March on Washington


How Latino Immigration Boosts African American Employment and Wages

The positive economic impact of Latino immigration is related to population. Many metros, particularly in the Midwest, including Cleveland, Dayton, Detroit, and St. Louis, are not experiencing vibrant population growth. Instead, aging baby boomers and negative net migration are leading to a hallowing out of cities, declining school revenue, falling housing prices, big businesses moving their headquarters, and a dearth of small businesses. St. Louis, for instance, has experienced a sharply declining population, and at the same time, very little Latino immigration. As a result, Saint Louis has closed more than a dozen schools in recent years, which has cost the jobs of hundreds of African American teachers, administrators, and staff. Our research shows that an increase in immigration from Latin America would have sustained St. Louis’s population, tax base, school enrollment, and most of the lost African American jobs. Further, it would have reduced crime among young African American men by giving them more economic opportunities. [Read more]

A black history collection with a surprising collector

How did a white guy of modest means who grew up in Takoma Park amass one of the largest and most significant private collections of African American artifacts in the country, and become an unseen force in the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture? [Read more]

Health Care Lessons from Sweden

The United States spends more than $8,000 a person per year on health care, well more than twice what Sweden spends. Yet health outcomes are far better in Sweden along virtually every dimension. Its infant mortality rate, for example, was recently less than half that of the United States. And males aged 15 to 60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year in the United States than in Sweden. [Read more]

Faces of the Minimum Wage

AT least one part of the labor force has expanded significantly since the recession hit: the low-wage part, made up of burger flippers, home health aides and the like. 

Put simply, the recession took middle-class jobs, and the recovery has replaced them with low-income ones, a trend that has exacerbated income inequality. According to Labor Department data, about 1.7 million workers earned the minimum wage or less in 2007. By 2012, the total had surged to 3.6 million, with millions of others earning just a few cents or dollars more.  [Read more]

How Jim Crow Damaged Black Swimming Culture

about 70 percent of African-American children, 60 percent of Latino children and 40 percent of white children are nonswimmers. Lack of access and financial constraints account only partly for these numbers. Fear, cultural factors and even cosmetic issues play a role as well.

“Before the Civil War, more blacks than whites could swim,” Lynn Sherr, the author of “Swim: Why We Love the Water,” said in an interview. “There are many stories of shipwrecks in which black slaves rescued their owners.”

But as Ms. Sherr learned from Bruce Wigo of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, segregation destroyed the aquatic culture of the black community. “Once whites discovered swimming, blacks were increasingly excluded from public pools and lifeguarded beaches,” Mr. Wigo told her.

As a result, many minority parents never learned how to swim. [Read more]

Blacks Have Highest Rate of Diabetes-Related Deaths in NYC

Diabetes-related mortality rates have reached an all-time high in New York City, with people of color hit the hardest, according to a report released this week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Approximately one person dies of diabetes-related causes every 90 minutes in the city— a mortality rate that has nearly doubled in two decades, from 6 percent in 1990 to 10.8 percent in 2011, says the report.

Of any racial group in the five boroughs — Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx — blacks have the highest diabetes-related mortality rate, with 116 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Hispanics (81), whites (45) and Asian and Pacific Islanders at 41, the report added. New York City has a population of more than 8 million, according to the latest U.S. Census data.
[Read more]


Spike in Black College Graduates

"After decades of slow growth, the number of Americans graduating from college has surged in the wake of the recession" [Read more]


It’s Not a Housing Boom. It’s a Land Grab

The reality of the current real estate renaissance is that the rich and those on Wall Street are raking in the cash while large segments of the population—especially historically marginalized communities—remain stuck in a downward, alternate housing reality. 

Generally, housing recoveries are fueled by millions of Americans with new jobs, higher wages, available credit from banks and overall confidence that things will get better. But the real economy that most people live in day-to-day is too weak for all of that. Jobs are in short supply, wages are at historic lows and credit for middle and working class Americans is tight. With their economic ladder into homeownership taken away, many Americans can no longer participate in the housing market. [Read more]

Housing discrimination persists in U.S. in more subtle ways, HUD report says

Housing discrimination remains problematic, according to a government report released Tuesday that found that although blatant acts of racial prejudice in the selling, buying and renting of homes have been declining in the United States, more subtle forms of housing bias “stubbornly persist.”

“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic and educational opportunities,” said Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. [Read more]

BMW and Dollar General Accused of Racial Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday accused two major companies of indirectly discriminating against African Americans by using criminal background checks to screen out workers.

The commission said BMW effectively fired 70 black employees with criminal histories from a facility in South Carolina, even though many had been there for years. One woman with 14 years under her belt was let go after a misdemeanor conviction surfaced that was more than 20 years old and carried a $137 fine, according to the EEOC’s lawsuit. [Read more]


How for-profit colleges prey on African-American ambition

As I’ve reported on the twin housing and unemployment crises in black neighborhoods in recent years, I’ve heard the same refrain from struggling strivers up and down the educational ladder: “I’m getting my papers, maybe that’ll help.” GEDs, associates degrees, trade licenses, certifications, you name it, we’re getting it. Hell, I even went and got certified in selling wine; journalism’s a shrinking trade, after all.

But this headlong rush of black Americans to get schooled has also led too many down a depressingly familiar path. As with the mortgage market of the pre-crash era, those who are just entering in the higher ed game have found themselves ripe for the con man’s picking. They’ve landed, disproportionately, at for-profit schools, rather than at far less expensive public community colleges, or at public universities. And that means they’ve found themselves loaded with unimaginable debt, with little to show for it, while a small group of financial players have made a great deal of easy money. Sound familiar? Two points if you hear troublesome echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis. [Read more]

Juvenile Incarceration -> Adult Incarceration

Over 130,000 juveniles are detained in the US each year with 70,000 in detention on any given day, yet little is known whether such a penalty deters future crime or interrupts social and human capital formation in a way that increases the likelihood of later criminal behavior. This paper uses the incarceration tendency of randomly-assigned judges as an instrumental variable to estimate causal effects of juvenile incarceration on high school completion and adult recidivism. Estimates based on over 35,000 juvenile offenders over a ten-year period from a large urban county in the US suggest that juvenile incarceration results in large decreases in the likelihood of high school completion and large increases in the likelihood of adult incarceration. These results are in stark contrast to the small effects typically found for adult incarceration, but consistent with larger impacts of policies aimed at adolescents.[Read more]

The black/white marijuana arrest gap, in nine charts

As you’re probably aware, black Americans are arrested for marijuana possession far more frequently than whites. You may also know that there’s not much evidence that black people consume marijuana with greater regularity than whites do.

But the extent of the disparity between the rate of arrest and the rate of use for white and black Americans may surprise you. The ACLU has an absurdly comprehensive new report tracking marijuana possession arrests for blacks and whites at the national, state and county level. Sure enough, they find that black and white people use marijuana at roughly the same rates: [Read more]


Ken Emanuelson, Texas Tea Party Activist, Calls GOP Black Voter Comments 'A Mistake'

A Texas Tea Party activist is in hot water over comments charging that the Republican Party doesn't want black people to vote because of tough odds.

Audio posted by Democratic group Battleground Texas on Tuesday has Ken Emanuelson, a leading state Tea Party figure, answering a question about black voters at a May 20 Dallas County GOP event.

“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Emanuelson said. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.” [Read more]

Houston Cops Attack Black Teen

In video footage from a security camera that caught the March 2010 beating, then-15-year-old Chad Holley is seen falling to the ground after trying to hurdle a police squad car. He's then surrounded by at least five officers, some of whom appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen and legs. Police said that Holley and three others had tried to run away after burglarizing a home.

Holley's beating prompted fierce public criticism of Houston's police department by community activists, who called it an example of police brutality against minorities.

McClelland said that in seeing the video footage, he was disturbed that Holley, who had given up, offered "no active resistance and the force that was being used against him was excessive and unnecessary." [Read more]

Black America shouldn’t give Obama a pass

Gays didn’t pretend to be happy. Neither did white women or Hispanics. They pressured Obama into addressing their concerns.

“Other identity groups are looking strong because their membership is more easily mobilized,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “Our civil rights organizations are not nearly as strong as they used to be. They need to be rebuilt and grown to the point that meaningful political pressure can be applied.”

Said Johnson, “Many black people feel that it would be a betrayal if we tried to push Obama to do more than the system would allow him to do.”

But how does anybody know what the system will allow unless it is tested?[Read more]


Video captures Jasper, Texas, police officers beating woman

"A southeast Texas town with a history of racial unrest on Monday fired two white police officers recently captured on video slamming a black woman’s head into a countertop and wrestling her to the ground.

“'The amount of force used was abominable,' the woman's attorney, Cade Bernsen, told Yahoo News.
The incident was captured by security cameras at the Jasper, Texas, police headquarters." [Read more]

New Survey Takes A Snapshot Of The View From Black America

"You might think African-Americans might be more pessimistic about their lives. The housing crisis decimated pockets of black wealth. The black unemployment rate has been nearly double the national average for several years.

"But according to findings from our survey of more than 1,000 African-Americans, you'd be wrong.

"A new poll released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health found that the overwhelming majority of black people (86 percent) said they were satisfied with their lives. Nearly 60 percent said they would eventually achieve the American dream of financial security and homeownership. A little more than half of those polled (53 percent) said they felt their lives had gotten better in recent years." [Read more]

Violent Crime in U.S. Rises for First Time Since 2006

"Violent crime rose in the United States in 2012 for the first time in six years, led by an increase in major crimes in large cities, according to preliminary data released Monday by the F.B.I." [Read more]

Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests

"Black Americans were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010, even though the two groups used the drug at similar rates, according to new federal data" [Read more]