Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in Where Do We Go From Here? Chaos or Community, he writes of the attitudes in the early 20th century:
“At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s ability and talents… the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber… We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent.”
King’s analysis is spot on in terms of poverty being largely caused by an economy that doesn’t provide full employment.
Lesley Odom Jr, who has an new jazz album out right now, has a voice that delivers the modern ethos of the struggle right now,
Here are a few facts no one is talking about:
Overall Poverty Rate: 13.5%
- Percent of people who fell below the poverty line—$24,250 for a family of four—in 2015
Twice the Poverty Level: 31.7%
- Percent of people who fell below twice the poverty line—$48,500 for a family of four—in 2015
Half the Poverty Level: 6.1%
- Percent of people who fell below half the poverty line—$12,125 for a family of four—in 2015
Child Poverty Rate: 19.7%
- Percent of children under age 18 who fell below the poverty line in 2015
African American Poverty Rate: 24.1%
- Percentage of African Americans who fell below the poverty line in 2015
Hispanic Poverty Rate: 21.4%
- Percentage of Hispanics who fell below the poverty line in 2015
White Poverty Rate: 9.1%
- Percentage of non-Hispanic Whites who fell below the poverty line in 2015
Native American Poverty Rate: 26.6%
- Percentage of Native Americans who fell below the poverty line in 2015
The below stats are courtesy of the U.S. Census.
Lesley’s album is out now.