A progress report for Black History Month 2013: How far we’ve come and how far we’re going

Clarence Otis, CEO of Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, is one of the 35,000 black millionaires in the U.S.

Clarence Otis, CEO of Darden Restaurants, which operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster, is one of 35,000 black millionaires in the U.S.

In the words of Kane Kinnebrew III, Black History Month is often spent mainly focusing on historic achievements. But what about the accomplishments of today’s African Americans? Despite how the media often portrays the black community in a bubble—or from one extreme to another—it’s time that we recognize the progress we’ve made in recent years, not just in the past. This is the first of what I hope will be many Black History Month report cards.

Number of black millionaires


according to The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires

Oprah Winfrey is richest black female billionaire and is one of only six black billionaires in the world. All other five are outside of the U.S.

How many black middle-class families?


Ever since President Obama has taken office, there has been a lot of debate about what constitutes a middle-class family. I think it’s safe to say that if your household makes between $50,000 and $150,000, your family is considered middle-class nowadays. Since that is the case, 30% of black families fall in that category, according to the most recent census figures. Compare that with 43% of white families, 46% of Asian families and 33% of Latino families.

Number of black-owned business

1.9 million

From 2002 to 2007, the number of black-owned businesses reached 1.9 million and they raked in $137.5 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners. Critics will still note that 1.8 million of those black-owned businesses are sole proprietors with no employees.

Buying power of black Americans

$1.1 trillion

According to Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA)’s 2011 “State of the African-American Consumer” report, it was projected that black buying power will reach $1.1 trillion by the year 2015.

If you want to know how influential black spending habits are, check out this fun fact: African-Americans are a driving force for popular culture. 73% of whites and 67% of Latinos believe blacks influence mainstream American culture.

Here’s another fun fact about the buying power of blacks: Black people buy more hand and body lotion at a rate of 54% higher than the general population (you know we don’t like being ashy!).

Number of registered black voters

11.1 million

According to the census, the country saw an increase in black voters from 10 percent of the total electorate in 2006 to 12 percent in the 2010 congressional election.

Average income of African Americans


The annual median income of black households actually declined by 2.7% from 2010 to 2011, according to census figures.The median income for white families also declined during the same period while the numbers for Asian and Hispanic households didn’t change.

Number of black-owned banks


down from 54 in 1994, according to the FDIC

Physical health of black people

In terms of the spread of HIV and cancer, there is some good news to report. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the first time, the rate of new HIV infections among black women declined between 2008 and 2010.

A recent report also found that cancer rates among blacks in the United States are on the decline, especially among black men.

Still, blacks continue to be more likely to die of cancer than whites.

Even more alarming, heart disease remains leading cause of death of all Americans. African Americans have the highest death rates due to heart disease and stroke. In particular, black adults are much more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart attack and stroke deaths than whites.

17 thoughts on “A progress report for Black History Month 2013: How far we’ve come and how far we’re going

  1. More Blacks are entering the ranks of Middle and Upper Middle Class like never before, I know this for a fact because of certain friends and family I know right now fit that demographic right now. 3/4 of African Americans in this nation are doing fine. We are not on welfare, living off the government, or going in and out of jail and by the way, incarceration rates amongst black men over the last decade have gone down. Its less than 10 years ago and its more of us in college, getting degrees and graduating than going to jail. Thats a fact. 15% of black men is the U.S. cant vote due to criminal records but the other 85% are good and can vote and do. Thats good news. The proliferation of all these black pathologies, speaking of the dire predicament of blacks is blown out of proportion by the mass media and overdramatized by bunch of poverty pimps who capitalize on the hopelessness and despair of the black underclass. They write books and give speeches for big money and do fundraisers to raise money to line their pockets from capitalizing on the misery of others. Guys like Jesse Jackson, Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, and even Louis Farrakhan are all a bunch of poverty pimps. They exploit the predictament of the black underclass for their own monetary gain. They do it through speeches, book deals, corporate endorsements, fundraisers through their churches, mosques, and other business ventures from the people who patronize and/ or work in their respective enterprises, whatever college or university they are professors at, and so on. When Cornell West and Tavis Smiley have town hall meetings to discuss poverty and other black issues who’s sponsoring those town hall meetings-some big corporation and when their do speeches and lectues who cuts them a check- some big corporation, Stevve Harvey called them jokers out. This has been their hustle for a long time, and it is a hustle cause neither of them are hanging out in the projects or in the pool halls, greasy spoons, or basketball courts in the hood unless they putting on show for somebody. They hanging out with their millionaire friends sipping champagne and vintage wines and dining @ upscale restaurants eating gourmet meals living it up, while the people who they represent suffer. Its a business for them, poverty is big business, which is why I listen to the Les Brown, Zig Zigglers, and Tony Robbins’s of the world cause they bring a message of hope, motivation, self empowerment, self
    help, and positve thinking. Not this victim mentality. We need hope and motivation, not internalized victimization. Peace.

  2. I do enjoy the way you have framed this particular difficulty and it does supply me a lot of fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, from everything that I have personally seen, I just hope when other feed-back stack on that people today stay on issue and not embark upon a soap box of the news of the day. All the same, thank you for this superb piece and even though I can not go along with the idea in totality, I regard your perspective.

  3. 85 percent of Black Adults have a High School Diploma
    Or higher. That shows that Black Families still have made
    Education top priority in the household for their children.
    And over the last 50 years Millions of African-Americans have broken
    The cycle of Poverty. So looking @ the progress in terms of
    Education, Economic Advancement, Business Ownership, Home Ownership
    Marriage Rates, and the explosion of large Upper Middle Class Black
    Enclaves in cities like L.A., Chicago, D.C., Atlanta and other places around the country, its proves that Education is the answer to poverty. We live in
    A nation where the Public School is free and the library is free
    And if you don’t take full advantage of that your a damn fool and got no one to blame but yourself. That 25-27 percent of African-Americans who have got stuck and stay stuck in poverty and lack of education have chosen that for themselves. That Submerged tenth Dubois talked about
    The beggars, loafers, whores, whoremongers, and criminals are people who have chosen poverty, crime, and dysfunction for themselves. They are hellbent on making all the wrong choices and doing the wrong thing.
    Those folks who are loud, vulgar, ghetto, and ignorant choose to be that way. Its not the environment, its them and their stinking thinking cause they think its cute. Its all boils to choices. That’s what Life is about; Choices.

  4. first and foremost I want to thank you for the distinctive information that you have provided in reference to our culture as a black race of people, considering in retrospect the emotional and physical pain suffering and humiliation we endured for four or more centuries we as a people need to be reminded that we are not in that state anymore, so there is hope, there are many opportunities, we need to motivate ourselves I also thank you for shedding some light on the subject of tavis smiley Cornel West Jesse Jackson nand Louisis Farrakhan we need leaders who are willing to be led beby God we need leaders were determined to truly lead without looking for anything in return.

  5. Exactly. We are not in slavery anymore, we don’t have to keep carrying on the behavior of slaves, we don’t. Too many of us are doing that. When I see black women with blonde, brunette, red, and even black hair weaves, its disgusts me. Cause we shouldn’t want to look like our former oppressors. We are supposed to be proud of our lips and our hair, we are supposed to love our black skin and facial features. We got melanin to protect us from the sun avoiding skin cancer, the European doesn’t have that. We don’t have to feed into White Supremacy and Racism, we need to make this monster starve to death. Their is too much accessible knowledge and information out here for us to eradicate the effects of White Supremacy for forever and wipe it off the face of this earth, so we got no excuse for not doing it, none A lot of the violence taking place in our community is the result of the internalization of White Supremacy and Racism. Cause some of us turn to violence on one another out of a feeling of powerlessness under a system which makes us feel inferior, powerless, angry, hopeless, and isolated. Poverty and high unemployment exacerbate this even more. When we were segregated we were one community which offset a lot of the negative side effects of slavery and institutional racism. Now that the sense of community is gone for a lot of us, its created a lot of hopelessness. Cause its left the poorest and most vulnerable of our people without a safety net and nowhere to turn for help and support. And that has opened the floodgates for all the negative elements our society has to offer to consume the most vulnerable of us. Its also reinforced a victim’s mentality which is garbage. Cause we are not products of our environment, we are products of our thoughts and decisions. Life is all about choices. “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Proverbs 23:7. Until you change your inner thinking, your outer circumstance will never change. Simple as that, end of story.

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  7. Mr. Coombs
    I respectfully submit that you and your rah rah cheering section a wit the sophomoric Stockholm syndromatic B.S..
    From the school that bought Amos and Andy then still Aunt Jemima Jazz junkies conkalines cocaine enriched RnB jerry curled oversexed funk selling mandingo studery to miss Anne with hoop highlights to espn and all the rest rest of us have say halieluu and all are problems will go away.
    Wrong again.
    You want to debate it bring you and your amen section at me.I have said black men here have 2 choices bad and worst and I caution you am that
    (Metaphorically) born crack addicted of teenage mother drug dearler daddy from a 40 story drug infested tenement

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