Redeem the Dream

The National Urban League released its annual State of Black America report on April 10. It is disheartening and dismal. The non-profit organization concludes that equality between black and white Americans hasn’t improved much since 1963, which is considered the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

The State of Black America – Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America is commemorating the 50 anniversary of the Great March on Washington by including a “retrospective analysis conducted through the lens of The Equality Index®” according to PR Newswire.

Overall the report shows minimal improvement in black America, particularly in education and employment.

  • More blacks are finishing high school. The completion gap has closed by 57 percentage points.
  • There are more than triple the number of Blacks enrolled in college compared to 1963.
  • Fewer blacks are living in poverty. This number declined by 23 points.

However, there is still a widening achievement and wealth gap between blacks and whites. Some of the startling findings include:

  • The Black-White income gap has only closed by 7 points. It is now at 60 percent.
  • The unemployment gap is still at 52 percent, which is only a 6 point decline.
  • No improvement has been made in the unemployment ratio. It is still two-to-one, as it was in 1963.

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League contributes this lack of progress to budget-cutting in Washington.

“As the budget debate continues in Washington on whether to cut critical program funding, the State of Black America 2013 highlights a harsh reality: budget-cutting fever will cause economic pneumonia,” he said in the report. “If we are to move toward lasting economic recovery and full equality and empowerment, we must apply sustainable solutions — keenly focusing on jobs for all Americans and closing the gaps that result in a ‘tale of two Americas.”

Chanelle P. Hardy, SVP for Policy and Executive Director of the Urban League’s Policy Institute, agrees. “This year’s State of Black America report underscores that employment remains the biggest barrier to equality in our country,” she said in the report. “The National Urban League will continue to push for policies that support job growth now and for the next generation—such as the Urban Jobs Act and the Project Ready STEM Act.”

What do you think is impeding the progress of Black America?

State of Black America

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