The National Urban League released its annual State of Black America Report last week. This year’s reports is the 37th edition, with the title “Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America,” commemorating the milestones that have occurred in Black history in the 50 years since the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
The publication features essays from various leaders from the realms of politics, the corporate world, nonprofits and the media. Several elected officials also helped pen the report. Respect is paid in honor of those who fought during the Civil Rights Movement through a special collection of essays. Contributors to this year’s report include Marian Wright Edelman, Jonathan Capehart, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Dr. William Bell and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
“It’s a chance to go back to 1963 and come to 2013, and see how far we have come,” said Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial. “The truth is, there has been enormous progress. There have been tremendous changes in the nation. On the other hand, the level of violence, the level of economic disparity, the unemployment rate and joblessness rate are far too high.”
Following the years since the March on Washington, the publication notes that while African-Americans have been able to advance in education, when it comes to jobs, not much has changed over the last 50 years. Double-digit gains in education, employment and wealth contrast sharply with the single-digit gains made in those same areas compared to whites.
In the analysis of the 2013 Equality Index, the National Urban League focuses on current racial gaps in unemployment and income in relation to differences in education, economic status and geographic location. In light of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a special edition of the Equality Index features perspectives from noted champions of social and economic equality.
Among the statistics in the report, in the past 50 years, the Black-white income gap has only closed by 7 points (now at 60 percent). The unemployment rate gap has only closed by 6 points (now at 52 percent). As in 1963, the Black-white unemployment ratio is still about two to one, regardless of education, gender, region of the country or income level.
“This year’s State of Black America Report underscores that employment remains the biggest barrier to equality in our country,” said Chanelle P. Hardy, SVP for policy and executive director of the Urban League’s Policy Institute. “The National Urban League will continue to push for policies that support job growth now and for the next generation–such as the Urban Jobs Act and the Project Ready STEM Act.”
The year, the State of Black America is bringing the report to life with an eight-part web series available on the National Urban League’s website (www.iamempowered.org).
The series features panel discussions with several experts moderated by Jeff Johnson. George Curry, Ryan Mack and the Rev. Lennox Yearwood are among those included in the series.