There’s a gap between the haves and the have-nots, and for Black Americans it’s only grown wider with time. As Atlanta Black Star previously reported, in the fifty years following the Kerner Report, African-Americans have fallen even further behind, resulting in a chasm that has kept Black families from achieving true economic freedom.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, “The substantial progress in educational attainment of African Americans has been accompanied by significant absolute improvement in wages, incomes, wealth, and health since 1968. But black workers still make only 82.5 cents on every dollar earned by white workers, African Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be in poverty as whites, and the median white family has almost 10 times as much wealth as the median black family.”
When it comes to home ownership — a well proven method of attaining and passing down generational wealth — the news is even more dire. With EPI also finding that in terms of family wealth, “One of the most important forms of wealth for working and middle-class families is home equity. Yet, the share of black households that owned their own home remained virtually unchanged between 1968 (41.1 percent) and today (41.2 percent). Over the same period, homeownership for white households increased 5.2 percentage points to 71.1 percent, about 30 percentage points higher than the ownership rate for black households.”
African-American families have also faced numerous legal hurdles, including policies created by the Home Owners Loan Corporation and later institutionalized by the U.S. Housing Act. Established during the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration, for years federal housing agencies were allowed to determine which areas were “fit” to receive home loans, often resulting in low-income and minority neighborhoods being denied such access.
After years of largely ignoring Black and Hispanic families, the 2008 housing crisis exposed a startling new trend, as financial institutions began targeting minorities in order to deliver high-interest subprime loans and mortgages, an effort that decimated strides gained in the years following the passage of the Fair Housing Act.
Read the full story at Atlanta Black Star - March 2018