Before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the unemployment rate among black teenagers, those aged 16-19, was 41.6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was double the unemployment rate among white teenagers, 20.3 percent.
Speaking at the Lincoln Memorial yesterday, President Barack Obama acknowledged the economic message of the march, and how those goals have fallen short.
“There have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half-century ago,” Obama said. “But as has already been noted, black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white employment, Latino unemployment close behind. The gap in wealth between races has not lessened; it’s grown.”
Obama said that inequality has increased even as corporate profits grow.
“Upward mobility has become harder,” he said. “In too many communities across this country — in cities and suburbs and rural hamlets –the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives of fortress of substandard schools and diminished prospects, inadequate health care and perennial violence.”