We are pleased to share day XIII of 540’s 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign
As we celebrate Black History Month, we can take pride in the progress we’ve made while also acknowledging how far we have to go. Here at 540, Inc it is our core value that a vital part in learning about Black History is also understanding the long lasting events of the transatlantic slave trade; the over three generations of purposeful and systemic genocide, raping, stealing, and pillaging of Nigerian, Malian, Ghanan and other men, women, children, doctors, business owners, scientists, and leaders and enslaving them for the profit of white men. Even though the achievements of our most precious historical figures like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and more are nothing sort of miraculous it can be easy to forget that the effects of U.S slavery continue to impact the descendants of those African slaves continue through today. The road to undoing slavery in America is still a vibrant and real issue in present day.
Wealth is a crucially important measure of economic health. Wealth allows families to transfer income earned in the past to meet spending demands in the future, such as by building up savings to finance a child’s college education. Wealth provides a buffer of economic security against periods of unemployment, or risk-taking, like starting a business. And wealth is needed to finance a comfortable retirement or provide an inheritance to children. In order to construct wealth, a number of building blocks are required. Steady well-paid employment during one’s working life is important, as it allows for a decent standard of living plus the ability to save. Also, access to well-functioning financial markets that provide a healthy rate of return on savings without undue risks is crucial.
Failures in the provision of these building blocks to the African-American population have led to an enormous racial wealth gap. The racial wealth gap is much larger than the wage or income gap by race. The wealth gap measures the difference between the median wealth of blacks versus the median wealth of whites. Almost all studies calculate wealth by adding up total assets (e.g., cash, retirement accounts, home, etc.) then subtracting liabilities (e.g., credit card debt, student loans, mortgage, etc.) The resulting figure is your net worth. Until the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery legally prevented blacks from building wealth. Until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jim Crow laws continued segregation in the south. They detailed what jobs blacks could take and how much they could be paid. They created indentured servitude. They restricted where blacks lived and traveled. Public parks, transportation, and restaurants were segregated. Even some towns were off limits to blacks.
“Black and brown people of color have been systemically and systematically prevented from building wealth as a collective in the U.S”
Every day throughout the month of February 540Blog will devote space to sharing Little Known Facts About Black Americans Throughout History. For us every month is Black History Month but we recognize and support the continuous need to take time and space to put a special spotlight on the accomplishments of Black and brown Americans from all ethnicities that have literally changed the course of history and yet have legacies that are not know by the masses.