Importance of Negro's Economic Status
Link With Solution of Major Social Problems
The drive of the American Negro for an equal place in the sun is focused increasingly on economic goals. To the Negro today, civil rights mean first of all the right to earn as much and to live as well as the white man. The evidence is unmistakable that, as a group, he has not accomplished that objective. But is he catching up? Or is he catching up fast enough? Here the evidence is mixed, the conclusion uncertain. In some ways the pace seems rapid, in other ways discouragingly slow.
The question of how fast the Negro is advancing has obvious bearing on the aspirations of individual Negro citizens, but it is also of broader concern. More and more it is recognized that the pace of Negro advancement will be a measure of the nation's, or more particularly the city's, success in getting the better of major ills of American society. Entrenched poverty, racial antagonism, crime, delinquency, dependency, street disorders, slum growth, school inadequacies, shortages of trained personnel, and sundry public health questions lead the list of problems that would be greatly eased if Negroes in this country could swiftly attain economic levels on a par with those of the remainder of the population. It is not enough that the Negro make progress; if the forward movement is too slow, the problems will deepen and become progressively more difficult to overcome.
Potential Benefits From Negro Advancement
The emphasis on economic goals in the Negro rights movement is understandable enough. To a disadvantaged minority, economic advancement goes hand in hand with a rise in status on all counts. More income for the Negro implies more education, higher levels of employment, more amenities in daily living, greater self-confidence and heightened respect from the community at large. The benefits are social and psychological as well as material.