Dr. King Yesterday Led the Creation of More Jobs and Higher Incomes for Black Folks Than 'Rich Black Money Men/Women' Multi-Millionaires and Black Billionaires Have Today
"Capitalism is always in danger of inspiring men to be more concerned about making a living than making a life. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity." - Dr. King
Let me begin this post by stating that the Civil Rights movement resulted in the greatest overall period of higher incomes for Blacks as a whole. In contrast Rich Black Money Men/Women today have primarily created higher incomes for themselves and wealthy whites.
Let me also begin this post by defining the term Rich Black Money Men/Women - it is the belief by Blacks especially those 40 and under, some older, that being rich and obtaining wealth is the 'great equalizing solution' model in racist America. These Black folks highlight billionaires like Kanye West, Jay Z, Tyler Perry, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, and other multi-millionaire Black athletes, actors, entertainers, business executives, etc.
The truth is that these Rich Black Money Men/Women multi-millionaires and billionaires have lots and lots of money personally but another truth is that these Rich Black Money Men/Women have not created good paying jobs and higher incomes for Black folks in general!
Kyle T. Mays professor of African American studies at UCLA said Malcolm X regarded Rich Black Money Men/Women who had proximity to capital, fame, and fortune not being able to align or reconcile with the 'Black masses'. Malcolm framed them as a group separate from the people they claim to represent.
The reason is that these Rich Black Money Men/Women besides their narrow class interests have not created massive numbers of jobs for Black folks is that they don't own large scale industries, corporations, factories, businesses, and hospitals that can employ millions of Black folks; they have not built a Black economic infrastructure; they have money 'riches' but not mass institutional 'economic power'.
Despite having more Rich Black Money Men/Women billionaires and multi-millionaires today, current research shows that presently the typical Black American family is virtually no closer to equal footing with its white peers in terms of income and wealth than it was 50 years ago, when Civil Rights-era reforms were enacted to expand opportunity and limit outright racial discrimination.
I want to highlight the fact that the political civil-rights movement led by Dr. King resulted in massive employment opportunities and higher incomes for Blacks. King's famous 1963 “I Have a Dream” Speech was about racial economic inequality. Indeed research shows that the median income of Black households grew from the late 1960s into the 1970s in the wake of several federal reforms, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in employment and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The huge efforts of the civil rights movement helped create the greatest rise in the Black upperclass and middle-class in history; it shrank the difference between the median incomes of Black and white families during that time. The civil rights movement with its affirmative action advocacy forced the white public and private sectors to hire hundreds of thousands of Blacks for the first time.
Due to the Civil rights movement Black folks gained employment across the job spectrum; they got good paying jobs with benefits and pensions. Dr. King 'advocated' to the American government for full employment for Black folks by creating jobs to 'enhance the social good' for those people who could not find work.
King's racist detractors viewed his full-employment initiative as a form of socialism, to this he stated: "Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God's children."
To King full-employment was about the fundamental right to work so that everyone could reach their potential. King understood clearly under a racist capitalist system that it was impossible for all Blacks to become Rich Black Money Men/Women but it was realistic to struggle for full employment with livable wages.
In the post-civil rights era Black leaders failed to maintain King's emphasis on economic justice consequently the racial wealth gap between whites and Blacks widened with us losing ground. According to Ellora Derenoncourt, an assistant professor of economics and public policy at University of California, Berkeley, "over the last half century the wealth gap, the income gap, and the earnings gap of Blacks have stagnated."
In ending, Black folks with so many many more Black multi-millionaires and billionaires than during King's time why do Blacks currently suffer overall from economic stagnation? Let us also answer the question of how did a civil rights movement led by Dr. King who had no money 'financial investment capital' create more jobs and higher incomes for Black folks than the Rich Black Money Men/Women who now have 'multi-millions and billions of dollars in investment capital'?