While African Americans have made significant economic gains since the 1960’s the definition of wealth and success remains a tale of the haves and the have nots when black achievement is compared to the success of whites.
The National Urban League made this conclusion during the release of their annual “State of Black America,” report on Capitol Hill, where they highlighted the economic forecast of black America in the context of the budget debate now raging in Congress.
“There has been important progress in the last 50 years: decrease in poverty, increases in high school graduation rates and enrollment rates,” said Urban League President Marc Morial. “But the disparity between black America and white Americans when it comes to jobs, income, health care and wealth remain too large.”
While the “State of Black America,” report has been an annual event for decades, the Urban League commissioned a 50 year study this year to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington. The study concluded that for every black that made it to college in 1963 there are now five and the number of blacks living in poverty has decreased by 23 percent. But when contrasted to whites the income gap has only closed by 7 percent.
Morial and scores of Urban League members used the report’s release to lobby members of Congress. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) said that the landscape on Capitol Hill is changing in terms of Democrats and Republicans working together.
“It's without contradiction that African Americans have made extraordinary progress in the State of Black America report,” said Fattah, who is sponsoring an “Urban Jobs bill,” in the House that is strongly supported by the Urban League. “But compared to the majority we still have some room to grow.”
The Urban Leagues gathering on Capitol Hill came before the weekly meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and according to CBC chair, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH): “Passing a jobs bill is our number one priority.”
“If we can get people to work that would solved an awful lot of problems,” Fudge said. “No matter what the President wants to do it still has comes to Capitol Hill. We are still are the people who ultimately need to move that agenda.”