Juneteenth, a once obscure commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved people in Texas has turned into an annual reminder of how slavery has stolen black Americans of generational wealth.
Why it matters: This lack of generational wealth still denies black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.
According to the numbers: About $ 50 trillion in economic resources and labor has not been paid to black people since slavery, Rochester told Axios. Proponents say this legacy of slavery must be addressed in order to combat systemic racism.
- By the end of 2020, the home ownership rate for black families was around 44%, compared to 75% for white families, US census figures showed.
- A Washington Post analysis found that a typical middle-class black household had $ 13,024 in wealth, compared to $ 149,703 for the middle white household in 2016 – a larger percentage gap than in 1968.
- Black households had $ 8,762 in cash or cash equivalent, compared to $ 49,529 for white households in 2016. an institute for economic policy Analysis of the government data found.
Context: In the 19th century, the US became an economic powerhouse through the use of enslaved labor in the growing cotton industry.
- Enslaved blacks built the Capitol, White House, roads and infrastructure, and various universities across the country with little to no compensation.
- The sale of enslaved people is also financed Universities like Georgetown.
- Until 1860, the worth of the enslaved people was “about three times the total amount invested in banks,” and it was “about seven times the total value of all the currencies in circulation in the country,” wrote Steven Deyle in Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life.
Shortly before emancipation, Black Americans – free and enslaved – owned only half of 1% of the national wealth.
- In the decades following slavery, black Americans were often banned from buying property, restricted legal rights, restricted voting, and banned from separate schools.
- Successful black companies thrived in enclaves like Tulsa, Okla. and East St. Louis, Illinois, only to be destroyed by white mobs. The entrepreneurs who had insured their businesses could not collect their premiums.
Driving the news: The death of George Floyd last year forced a national reckoning on social justice, and this year more events in June coincide with forums on how the nation has benefited financially from the enslaved life of blacks and how the work of all colored people was worth less than their white counterparts.
- The Black Lives Movement is using the June thirtieth celebrations to discuss reparations as a means of building wealth and Address racial differences in education, housing, and corporate ownership.
- of Georgetown Law School Institute for International Business Law and the Black economic alliance this week invited members of Congress to a forum in June on Involving Black Americans in the Digital Economy.
- And the McKinsey Global Institute and the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility released a report this week detailing black economic participation in the US economy and the disparities that persist after generations of marginalization.
The intrigue: A focus on the economic effects of slavery and segregation comes as a republican-controlled legislatureso Pass laws banning schools from studying systemic racism as part of the U.S. legal framework, an area known as Critical Race Theory.
Do not forget: For years the Juneteenth has been celebrated in Houston and Galveston, Texas to honor General Order No. 3, which was enacted one month after the official end of US Major General Gordon Granger Civil war.
- Galveston is one of the last places in America where enslaved people learned of their emancipation.