of Black America 2005
EVEN AS U.S.
ECONOMY GETS BETTER
JOBS AND WEALTH GAP GETS LARGER ON THE
Urge the President
and Congress to Create Commission on Economic Opportunity for
Jobs and Business Growth
Washington, DC (April 6, 2005)- Equality between blacks
and whites in urban America is not improving, and changes in
national policies and priorities must be made to help, according
to a report released today by The National Urban League,
entitled The State of Black America 2005: Prescriptions for
The annual report's Equality Index (a statistical
measurement of disparities or equality gaps between blacks
and whites in economics, housing, education, health, social
justice and civic engagement) revealed that despite societal
progress, the overall status of black Americans is just .73 or
73 percent, compared to the conditions of their white
counterparts, marginally unchanged from 2004 index results.
After a decade where Black America began to see drops in the
unemployment rate and gains in income, the post-9/11 recession
is marked by economic stagnation. Although the overall equality
index shows that black status remains at 73 percent, the numbers
inside the index tell a troubling story in terms of
unemployment, income and wealth, said Marc H. Morial, President
and CEO, National Urban League. Our
nation must wake up. The growing wealth gap in this country is
not just leaving behind Black America, it's leaving behind, the
middle class, urban America, rural America and Hispanic America,
too. When one community in America suffers, our entire economy
suffers. That is why we're recommending specific changes in our
national priorities and policies.
Highlights of the Equality Index findings in the five main
1. Economics - Still the largest divide, black economic
status measures 57 percent of white counterparts, an equality
gap 20 percent wider than any other category. Black unemployment
remained stagnant at 10.8 percent while white unemployment
dropped to 4.7 percent, making black unemployment more than
twice that of whites.
2. Health - Black health status is 76 percent of whites.
Obesity rates for blacks are increasing faster and the life
expectancy rate for blacks is 72 years vs. 78 years for whites.
3. Education - Black education status is 77 percent of
whites. Teachers with less than 3 years experience teach in
minority schools at twice the rate that they teach in white
4. Social Justice - When measuring sentencing,
enforcement and victimization, black vs. white equality under
law is 68 percent of whites (5 percent less than 2004the
worst decline overall.). Blacks are three times (3X) more likely
to become prisoners once arrested and a Black person's average
jail sentence is six months longer than a white's for the same
crime; 39 months versus 33 months.
5. Civic Engagement - Blacks out-measure whites in the
area of civic engagement (voter registration, volunteerism and
government service) at 1.08. However, volunteerism is declining
for both blacks and whites, due to an upsurge with the 2004
Total Equality Index states that Black status is 73% of their
What Can Be Done? For the first time, The 2005
State of Black America report also offers recommendations
for specific policies and actions the nation collectively
(government, business and communities) should take to stem the
backslide of progress. They include:
1. Congress should extend the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which
expires in 2007.
2. Raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour and tie
future increases to an objective standard. The minimum wage must
be a living wage, not a poverty wage.
3. Close the home ownership gap by lowering down payment
requirements and making mortgages more available and affordable
to all. Strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act which has
helped to guide the banks in this area.
4. Increase Business Development and Entrepreneurship in the
African American and other urban communities by doubling the
size of the New Markets Tax Credit Program.
5. Strengthen and improve the Community Development Block Grant
program and other urban economic opportunity and job training
programs. Do not cut nor gut funding.
6. Expand job training and career counseling efforts with a
focus on young urban males. Develop a comprehensive re-entry
program for ex-felons in need so that they can become working,
able citizens and contribute to society. We applaud the
Department of Labor's support for the National Urban League's
pilot program which is seeking to put young men and women to
work in 15 cities across the country through career counseling
and job training.
7. Make full day access to quality pre-school education
mandatory for every child starting at age three years old. The
best way to leave no child behind is to give every child an
early and equal start.
8. African Americans must energize their focus on savings,
investing and estate planning.
9. African Americans, especially the African American middle
class should increase their commitment to civic tithing.
Civic tithing means financially supporting as well as giving
volunteer time to African American institutions like
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, churches, civil
rights organizations like the Urban League and more.
The nation cannot reverse the potential backslide of
economic progress without changing its focus and priorities.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial has urged
President Bush and the leadership of both parties in Congress as
well as the chairpersons of both the Congressional Black Caucus
and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to get together to examine
and act on policies and programs that will move economic
progress forward in all communities. The National Urban League
proposes the creation of a bi-partisan Commission on Economic
Opportunity for All.
We need members from both parties and both houses of
Congress to get together and realize that the responsibility of
our nation to provide economic opportunity for all of its
citizens is the great civil rights challenge of our time. said
Morial in his letter to the President and Congressional members.
Finally, The State of Black America 2005 continues its rich
tradition of essays and commentaries focused on economics,
wealth, education, health and voting rights from some of
America's most prominent thinkers. Dr. Cornel West, Thomas
Shapiro, Dianne Pinderhughes, Annelle B. Primm and Marisela B.
Gomez, James P. Comer, Martin L. Kilson, Dr. James Lanier,
Robert Taylor, David Burnham, Marc H. Morial and Marvin Owens
offer their perspectives on why the disparities between blacks
and whites persist as well as some compelling solutions to these
For example, Tom Shapiro's essay, The Racial Wealth Gap,
discusses the actual widening of the wealth gap. During the
recession and jobless recovery, Hispanics and African Americans
lost more than 25 percent of their wealth, while the wealth of
white families grew slightly for African American families,
stock and mutual fund investments plummeted by nearly
The National Urban League is committed to filling the equality
gaps through measures such as job training, business
development, and educational assistance. For a copy of the State
of Black America 2005, visit www.nul.org.
# # #
League ( www.nul.org ) Established in 1910, The Urban League is the
nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to
empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social
mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New
York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local
affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National
Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia
providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide
through programs, advocacy and research.
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* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * *
Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
* * * * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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