“On Feb. 20, Time magazine asked Henry Louis Gates Jr, the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard, about America’s “missed opportunities for racial equality.”
One of the most dramatic shifts to the structure of the African-American community has been the doubling of the Black middle class and the quadrupling of the Black upper middle class since 1970.
Gates was drawing attention to the fact that from 1995 to 2017, the number of Black Americans with advanced degrees — Masters, Ph.D., M.D. or J.D. — tripled, going from 677,000 to 2.1 million. Over the same period, the percentage of Black adults with college degrees more than doubled, from 11 to 24 percent.
One of the most significant changes in recent decades is the remarkable gain in income among more affluent blacks. When we adjust for inflation to 2014 dollars, the percentage of Black Americans earning at least $75,000 more than doubled from 1970 to 2014, to 21 percent. Those making $100,000 or more almost quadrupled to 13 percent (in contrast white Americans saw a less striking increase, from 11 to 26 percent).
These gains have not been restricted to affluent Black Americans.
Since 1966, two years after passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the percentage of African-Americans with incomes below the poverty line has been halved, from more than 40 percent to 20.8 percent in 2018.
Decades of defamatory rhetoric from Donald Trump — as both citizen and president — notwithstanding, Black America is doing vastly better than it was before the advent of the civil rights movement.”