As the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom approaches on August 26, FPWA has released an alarming analysis on the enduring inequalities Black Americans face 60 years later. The comprehensive analysis – A Look at the March on Washington 60 years Later: Dreams and Promises Yet to be Realized — finds that since the march, racial disparities across housing, education, employment, wages, and voting rights have remained stagnant, or in many cases widened to a staggering degree.
“60 years ago, hundreds of thousands marched on Washington demanding civic and economic equality. Today, millions of Americans remain disenfranchised and denied access to the most basic freedoms taken for granted by others — simply because of their race,” said FPWA CEO and Executive Director Jennifer Jones Austin. “Deep inequalities persist across nearly all measures of wellbeing.
Black Americans earn 20% less than their white counterparts, even with identical college degrees. This racial wealth gap has long-term detrimental impacts on families: 1 in 3 Black children live in poverty, compared to less than 1 in 10 white children. For incarceration rates, the disparity is yet more severe: 1 out of 3 Black boys born today can expect to be sentenced to prison in their lifetime, versus 1 out of 17 for their white peers. We need more aggressive policy change. Leading up to the March on Washington anniversary, FPWA is launching a campaign to ignite awareness and galvanize action to dismantle the structural barriers that maintain inequity for Black and brown Americans.”
“As we honor the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, we must also remember why we continue to march and carry the torch of Dr. King’s vision today,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network. “Conservative hate and racist policies threaten to take away our rights and undermine democracy. This analysis shows just how dire our situation is. This August, we will all come together to issue an urgent call to policymakers that more must be done to protect our marginalized communities.”
“As we reflect on the dreams set forth by my dad at the March on Washington 60 years ago, we see they have yet to be realized. This data reveals that our work is not over. We must continue the fight to ensure equality for Black and brown Americans,” said Martin Luther King, III, Chairman of the Drum Major Institute. “This moment calls for us to recommit to further action. With better policy, we can finish off my dad’s mission to secure freedom for all.”
“Many of the struggles affecting Black women and girls during the civil rights era continue to linger today,” said Arndrea Waters King, President of the Drum Major Institute. “FPWA’s work points to the persisting significant wage gap for women of color, who earn nearly half of what white men make. As a mother, I’m particularly disheartened by the disproportionate maternal mortality rates that Black women continue to experience in our country. I want a safe and just world for my daughter. In the months leading up to the anniversary of the March on Washington, let us continue the fight for equity.”