"Since 1968," said John Kinard, director of the Anacostia Museum and a Washington native, "things have eroded or gotten worse."
"The fact that blacks are in charge politically has made no difference in terms of people's lives," he said. "That political power has not empowered the masses to have more in terms of upward mobility or economic power. The political stimulation has not created noticeable opportunities for the masses of people in their lives."
Despite the political success of blacks in Washington, Kinard said, black youth seems to be losing hope. He said that fewer blacks seem to be interested in school, and that "there is less spirit to achieve and less spirit of confidence that 'I can make a difference to myself, my family and my race.' "
Kinard says he also believes that the gulf between blacks and whites has widened, not shrunk.
In 1968, he points out, some whites and blacks were united in the civil rights movement. Today, he says, there is no issue that links the two. He says the increasing number of racially integrated working places has done little to break down racial barriers.
Anyway, the integrated working place is nothing new, Kinard adds, pointing out that "We always worked together, even in slavery."