50 Years After the March: Has Blacks' Income Inequality Improved?

Workers attend an economic rally in December 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Workers attend an economic rally in December 2012. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Fifty years after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dedrick Muhammad, senior economic director of the NAACP, explores discrepancies in wages and income between African Americans and whites. In a piece for the Huffington Post, he says not much has changed.

… There has been far less progress in bridging racial income inequalities. In 1971, for every dollar Whites earned, African Americans only earned 58 cents. By 2011, wages only increased 5 cents to where African Americans were earning 63 cents for every dollar earned by White Americans.

If this trend continues, it will be 370 years until the gap is closed and African Americans have an income on par with Whites.

We must remember — and Dr. Martin Luther King often reinforced — that the March on Washington was not just for civil rights but a campaign for economic equality. "We call our demonstration a campaign for jobs and income because we feel that the economic question is the most crucial that black people, and poor people generally, are confronting," says Dr. King. Even 50 years later, truer words could not be spoken.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will look at education and graduation rates of African Americans over the past 50 years.


Read Dedrick Muhammad's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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