Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Decades after 'Dream' Speech, Outlook Still Cloudy for Blacks

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Decades after 'Dream' Speech, Outlook Still Cloudy for Blacks

Article excerpt


It's been 47 years since Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the August sun and tried to get segregated America to visualize a future for everyone that was just as bright as that day.

But now, more than four decades later, many black people see cloudy days for black children.

New research released by the Children's Defense Fund in Washington and done on behalf of The Black Community Crusade for Children, shows that seven in 10 black adults believe these are tough times for black children.

Two-thirds of black adults, in fact, say that things have improved for just some or a few black children since 1994 - the last year the survey of black leaders, adults and caregivers was done.


And while many of the adults said that violence, drugs, failing schools and teen pregnancy remain problems, the majority of those surveyed said high unemployment had emerged as a bigger obstacle.

It hinders black children from being able to grow up amid healthy circumstances, and it helps feed the disproportionately high incarceration rates that have made stints in the slammer something to shrug at, rather than something to be ashamed of.

It sows family instability, which in turn makes it tough for black children to apply themselves in school and to not be pulled into whatever swamp of hopelessness that might surround them.

"I think the connection has to be made between what's going on with our children and what's going on with their parents," one black leader said. "The truth of the matter is, even if that mother, that single mother, is doing her best to provide for her children, she still faces the reality that she might not have a job at a living wage."

And for young black people, that problem is worsening: According to a companion report to the survey, last year the unemployment, underemployment and hidden unemployment rate for black 16- to 29-year-olds was 40 percent. …

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