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50 Years Later, Still a Racial Divide on Jobs

Fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, 60 percent of blacks believe that whites have better chances than they do to get jobs for which they are qualified, a new Gallup poll shows.

Back then, 74 percent of the blacks polled felt that whites had better chances at jobs. And the perception of unequal opportunity was stronger among blacks under 50 (81 percent) than among blacks 50 and older (73 percent). Now the numbers are virtually equal, according to figures provided by Gallup.

Earlier this summer, however, a Gallup poll found only only 31 percent of all Americans believe that blacks are at a disadvantage on the jobs front.

"Americans as a whole are more positive about equal opportunities for blacks than blacks themselves are," Gallup says. "Thus, Americans overall may see the United States as closer to realizing King's vision than blacks do."

On Aug. 28, speaking at a remembrance of King's historic speech, President Obama noted that it would dishonor civil rights activists like King to say either that no progress has been made or that the fight for equality is over.

"The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn't bend on its own," Obama said. "To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency."


Featured image by mikek7890 via Flickr

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