MLK Day: Unemployment Rate by Race

In honor of MLK Day:

Now, in order to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” which is our theme, we must first honestly recognize where we are now. When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was sixty percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare he is fifty percent of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus, half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we turn to the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share: There are twice as many unemployed; the rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites; and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population.

-Martin Luther King Jr, Where Do We Go From Here? speech, 1967, (emphasis mine)

Below is a chart of the US unemployment rate over the past 25 years, segmented by race. Despite the progress of the past 50 years (since Dr. King made the above speech), the black unemployment rate has persistently remained at nearly double the white unemployment rate.

sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bloomberg

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