Tag Archives: African American History Month

African American History Month – A time to gather, learn, create community

Many years ago my friend Marvin R. Anderson patiently helped me understand one of the very special features of Martin Luther King’s Birthday and African American History Month.   What I learned was that both the month and the day offer unique opportunity for all of us to learn and to celebrate as a community. Other holidays focus on gathering the family; MLK Day and Black History Month emphasize our need to know and strengthen our common heritage. A key to creating this essential sense of community is to learn together.

The Black History Month programs sponsored by the East Side Freedom Library (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org) offer a rich opportunity shape a community in a setting conceived to foster the concept of learning for all. As many Minnesotans know, the East Side Freedom Library is growing as the reincarnation of the Carnegie Library that for a century served residents of a vibrant, often needy, neighborhood in flux. The story of the ESFL is captured in a recent Star Tribune piece by Curt Brown (http://www.startribune.com/check-out-a-100-year-old-st-paul-library-s-rebirth/365543561/) and in an earlier Poking Around blog post. https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/arlington-hill-branch-library/

All are invited to join fellow learners at the ESFL during this year’s African American History Month to experience a robust mix of films, speakers and presentations designed – all designed to share information and inspire ideas that will expand visitors’ appreciation of African American history.

Each Monday in February the Freedom Library will feature a film related to Black history; the film series is free and open to all; show time is 7:00 p.m. The rich schedule includes these films:

  • Rize (February 1,
  • The Watermelon Woman, February 8
  • Brother John, February 15,
  • Ghosts of Amistad, February 22,
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, February 29 (a leap year special!)

***For more information about each film, including story and stars, check the ESFL website

February gets an early start with a unique event on Saturday, January 30, when retiring U of M professor Paula Rabinowitz will formally present her unique collection of pulp novels, many written by African American authors, to the ESFL The collection is featured in Rabinowitz’ award-winning book American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street. The presentation is at 3:00 p.m. at the Library.

On Saturday, February 13, 1:00 p.m. the Black Storytellers Alliance will share stories of the African American experience with learners of all ages.

Friday, February 19, is Twin Cities Labor Film Night at the ESFL. There will be a screening of the documentary From Selma to Soweto, one film in the Have You Heard from Johannesburg, the well-known series that “places the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa in the context of international solidarity.”

The East Side Freedom Library is located at 1105 Greenbrier Street on St. Paul’s East Side. For more information about the Library or the programs planned for African American History Month contact ESFL: info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org or 651 774 8687.

 

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Delilah Leontium Beasley, Self-directed researcher, Journalist, historian of African American History and Trailblazers

Delilah Leontium Beasley (1867-1934) deserves special recognition during African American History Month. Many of the stories of Black Americans, particularly Black Women, would have been lost to history without her bold and self-directed work.

Though most of her professional life was spent in California, Beasley was born in Cincinnati.  She published her first piece in the Cleveland Gazette at the age of twelve, then wrote a column for the Sunday Cincinnati Enquirer. She also worked at the Colored Catholic Tribune during her teens.

Life for Beasley changed dramatically when her parents both died when Delilah was still a teen. In order to support her younger siblings she took a job as a domestic for a local judge, then moved to Chicago where she had a successful career as a domestic, then hairdresser, then as a successful masseuse.   During all of this time she pursued her interest in the history of Blacks, particularly African Americans in California.

Her focused interest in the history of Blacks in California led her to move to Oakland in 1910 where she immersed herself in her passion for historical research. Working as a nurse and therapist, she began her independent research in the archives at Berkeley where she delved into black newspapers, recorded oral histories and stories. In 1915 Beasley began writing a weekly column. “Activities among Negroes” in the Oakland Tribune, a column that reflected the surge of public interest in African-American rights and history that was fueled by the furor over Birth of a Nation.

Beasley continued her independent study of historical and archival research. She sought out archival resources, including personal papers and diaries and conducted oral interviews with older Black Americans. In 1919 she published her research in a monumental history entitled The Negro Trail Blazers of California. The groundbreaking work chronicled the everyday lives and contributions of hundreds of Black Californians from pioneer days up to the early 20th Century. One unique feature of Beasley’s research was her emphasis on the strong role that women played in California history; the book includes several African American women whose stories might otherwise have been lost to history.

Beasley biographer, Lorraine J. Crouchett, writes that “the undertaking was extraordinarily difficult. Beasley found that Black Californians had no history; their records had been discarded from the collections that documented the state’s development. Yet in reproducing the words and photographs cherished by individuals, she caught their humanity as no one before her had done. Nonetheless, she was never completely accepted as a historian. While they seemed proud of her work, neither Black or white writers included her on any list of historians, nor has anyone before me attempted to examine her life and works with any thoroughness.”  Lorraine J. Crouchett, Delilah Leontium Beasley: Oakland’s crusading journalist. El Cerrito, CA: Downey Place Publishing House, Inc. 1990.

In her role as journalist, researcher and concerned citizen Beasley reported the news and did not hesitate to share her personal opinion on the issues of the day. Her overall effort was to promote a positive image of the Black community in the nation and in Oakland. She worked aggressively with the faith community, the NAACP and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers to support efforts to reduce racist language and activities. In the 1930s she was a leader in the community struggle to pass anti-lynching legislation. She also shed the spotlight on African American leaders she wanted her readers to know.

Beasley’s involvement with the 1929 celebration of Negro History Week, established just four years earlier by Carter G. Woodson who also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The organization and Negro History Week were both a response in part to the Harlem Renaissance and the era’s national prominence of writers including Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Dubois. According Beasley’s “News among Negroes” column, librarian Barbara Coles of the Oakland Free Library invited Beasley to prepare a list of books by American-American authors; Beasley published Cole’s supportive rationale: “The public library has a vital and important place in the scheme of adult education. Unrestricted by any curriculum, unhampered by any single purpose, we have been able to accumulate all that is known of ancient or modern culture. Supported by taxation, and no dependent upon individual support, we have been able to put at the disposal of every member of the community the resources which make possible understanding not only of ourselves, and of our forebears, but of our neighbors. We diffuse through our channels a survey of the historical significance of many peoples, the undertaking of which surely cannot but help to advance that great brotherhood of man, which will outlaw the sword and uplift the banner of the Price of Peace.”  Oakland Tribune, “Activities Among Negroes,” August 25, 1951. Quoted in Crouchett, p. 53

Those words must have convinced Beasley that her research and journalistic efforts had borne fruit – and that the stories of the Negro Trailblazers of California – and the hundreds of Americans of whom she had written over her lifetime, would live on.

Beasley continued her “News among Negroes” throughout her life. She died August 18, 1934 in Oakland. She is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery where a monument has now been erected to her memory.  Friends who attended her funeral 80 years ago were asked to remember Beasley by reciting this pledge:  “Every life casts its shadow, my life plus others make a power to move the world.  I, therefore, pledge my life to the living word of brotherhood and mutual understanding between the races.”

 

 

 

 

Harriet Robinson Scott – A Tireless Quest for Emancipation

It was a couple of years ago when the Bloomington Human Rights Commission and its partners inaugurated the Dred and Harriet Scott Legacy of Courage and Freedom program that I became curious about Harriet Robinson Scott.   Black History Month 2015 inspires me to dig a bit to fill the gap in my learning – or my memory.

Harriet Robinson Scott was born a slave in Virginia in about 1815. Her owner was Major Lawrence Taliaferro, an Indian agent assigned to Fort Snelling circa 1820. In the early 1830’s Taliaferro brought teenager Harriet Robinson with him to Fort Snelling where she became a house servant, contrary to territorial law but allowed by military rules. Fort Snelling was a military fort and fur-trading outpost, well-known to today’s Minnesotans. Though Harriet lived with the slaves, she later based her claim to freedom in the Missouri courts in part on the fact that her having lived in a free territory while at Fort Snelling made her a free woman.

Born into slavery in Virginia about1799 Dred Scott was owned first by Peter Blow from St. Louis. Around 1830 Blow sold Dred to Dr. John Emerson, a military surgeon stationed at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. Dred traveled to posts in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory with Dr. Emerson.

Dred arrived at Fort Snelling in May 1836 with Dr. Emerson. There he worked as the personal servant to Dr. Emerson. Harriet would have been about 21 years old at this time; Dred Scott would have been about 36. Harriet and Dred were married in a civil ceremony in 1836 or 1837; officiating was Major Taliaferro who has also Justice of the Peace for the Fort. Marriage meant that Harriet became the property of Dr. Emerson and assumed duties as the property of the new Mrs. Emerson, Eliza Irene Sanford.

Pregnant but indentured, in April 1838 Harriet had to follow the Emersons when the doctor was transferred to Fort Jessup, Louisiana. In a short time the Emersons relocated to St. Louis, then soon back to Fort Snelling. En route North Harriet gave birth on board the steamer Gipsey. Her first daughter Eliza Scott was thus born in free territory. Harriet stayed with Mrs. Emerson at Fort Snelling for two more years.

When Dr. Emerson was transferred to Florida in 1840 the Scott family was sent to St. Louis where they were hired out to work for other people while the Emersons collected their wages. In St. Louis Harriet gave birth to a second daughter, Lizzy.

In 1843 Dr. Emerson died suddenly leaving Dred, Harriet and their two daughters in the hands of his widow. Mrs. Emerson moved in with her proslavery father, Alexander, on his plantation in north St. Louis County. For the next three years, Harriet and Dred worked for other people while Mrs. Emerson collected their wages.

Then came the turning point in the Scotts’ lives. In 1846 Harriet Robinson Scott took legal action to claim her freedom. On April 6 of that year the couple filed separate petitions in the St. Louis Circuit Court to gain their freedom from Irene Sanford Emerson. The Scotts had friends in St. Louis who had been granted freedom if they had lived in free states. The hope was that the Scotts had a chance for freedom, based on their years living at Fort Snelling. When their cases came to trial in June 1847 they were dismissed on a technicality.

Though their lawyer requested a new trial, before that retrial took place Irene Emerson made arrangements for the Scotts to be under the custody of the sheriff of St. Louis County. There they remained for nine years, until March 1857; during all this time the sheriff was responsible for hiring them out and collecting and keeping their wages until the freedom suit was resolved.

After several delays, including a huge fire and a cholera outbreak, Harriet Scott’s case was heard in January 1850. The jury ruled in her favor….

Mrs. Emerson and her brother John A Sanford were disinclined to lose their valuable human property. Mrs. Emerson appealed her case to the Missouri Supreme Court. Before it came to trial, a decision was made to combine the cases of Harriet and Dred Scott, the understanding being that the outcome of the case would apply to Harriet and their two daughters. Harriet’s wait to be free continued.

Meanwhile, Cupid came to the rescue. Irene Emerson moved to Springfield, Mass where she met and married Dr. Calvin Clifford Chaffee, an antislavery Congressman

Later, the groom claimed ignorance of his wife’s pending court case and of the fact that she owned slaves. The case was turned over to Mrs. Chafee’s brother, John Sanford. In March 1852 the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the right of slave owners, reversed the earlier ruling and rejected the Scotts’ plea for freedom.

The Scott’s were undeterred. In 1852 Charles Edmund LaBeaume, a supporter of the Scotts, hired Harriet from the sheriff.   Harriet worked for LaBeaume for $4 a month, Dred for $5 a month. Meanwhile, they continued their quest for freedom. Five years later, after moving the case through the Missouri courts to the Supreme Court, Harriet received a dreaded decision. On March 6, 1857, the court ruled that Harriet, Dred, Eliza and Lizzie Scott should remain slaves. Soon thereafter, when John Sanford died, Dr. Chaffee insisted that ownership of the Scott family be transferred to Taylor Blow, son of Peter Blow, Dred Scott’s owner. Blow then freed the entire family.

Dred Scott lived as a free man for just one year. In 1858 he died of tuberculosis. Harriet worked as a “free Negro” laundress in St. Louis for many years. She died of “general disability” at age 71 on June 17, 1876. She was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, a St. Louis cemetery for Black Americans.

The Dred and Harriet Scott Interpretive Plaques were unveiled two years ago. The Plaques and Dred Scott Playfield, originally dedicated by the City of Bloomington in 1971, are at 10820 Bloomington Ferry Road. For additional information contact the Bloomington Human Rights Commission (humanrights@bloomingtonMN.gov) or Bloomington Parks and Rec (parksrec@bloomingtonmn.gov)

 

Exploring African American History Month – the Gov Docs Approach

 

Maya Angelou tells us that “history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”   And so, whether or not we slow down to think, we as a people set aside occasions – a day, a week, a month – to commemorate a the stories of the people, events, eras or movements that shape our nation’s history.

As we pass the halfway mark of African American History Month I have finally stopped to think.  Because at this juncture I cannot free my thinking from the confines of information by and about the federal government this post explores those singular and massive resources. With a nod to February, these national treasures are accessible to the snowbound learner with time to ponder the wonders of the African American story.

Sound stuffy?  Try tweeting Beglan O’Brien, fictional Civil War reporter – he’ll fill you in on what’s happening on the battlefront and direct you to amazing backup resources you can explore from the comfort of your home or cubicle.  (https://twitter.com/CivilWarReportr)

Feel like viewing a documentary film?  They’re online, too. There are several films covering a range of topics including The Loving Story relates the troubled tale of a mixed race marriage in 1958;  Freedom Riders documents the story of the diverse and determined riders, black and white, many of whom traveled great distances, to join the struggle for civil rights;  The Abolitionists brings to life the men and women — Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe and their contemporaries — who led the battle to end slavery; and Slavery by Another Name, the unacknowledged story of African American men charged with petty crimes, treated as indentured slaves. (http://createdequal.neh.gov)

Want to get into the creative mind of Zora Neale Hurston?  Feel free to explore the digitized manuscripts of many of her plays now readily accessible online from the Library of Congress.  (http://www.loc.gov/collection/zora-neale-hurston-plays/about-the-collection)

Also at the Library of Congress find Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project from the Library of Congress. (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/)

At the Smithsonian join a Heritage Tour (http://heritagetours.si.edu/bhm.html)  It starts slow but keep on trekking.  You’ll find photos and the story of Muhammed Ali’s robe and boxing gloves or the Woolworth’s lunch counter.

The National Archives offers learners a free eBook, The Meaning and Making of Emancipation, that illustrates the conception and significance of the Emancipation Proclamation through documents in the holdings of the National Archives, available for iPad, iPhone, Android, eReaders, and online

Also at the Archives explore the photographic map-based tour of The March on Washington on Historypin. (http://www.historypin.com/attach/uid23019/tours/view/540/title/The%20March%20on%20Washington/)

Though the possibilities never end African American History Month will do so soon – and thus the list of thought-provoking resources stops here.   Wherever you start, you’ll soon find yourself enmeshed and amazed at the digital treasures to probe and ponder.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

                                                                       — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

Exploring the Legacy of MLK in the Digital Age

Long ago I learned from my friend Marvin Roger Anderson that commemoration of the MLK birthday holiday should involve community building, connecting with friends and neighbors to share celebrate the dream.  He insisted that public libraries should throw open their doors to serve as gathering sites. MLK’s birthday, he reminded us, is the only holiday that’s not about family or gifts or escape but an occasion to experience, share and build community committed to MLK’s dream.

Those who have the day off and no home obligations might well heed Marvin’s wise counsel. There are mega-gatherings today at the Convention Center, the Minnesota History Center, the Cathedral as well as less formal events in neighborhoods, places of worship, colleges and public places.   For the homebound our community engagement can be a virtual learning adventure.

Public media do a good job of sharing their audio and video rich resources – in yesterday’s post I mentioned one of many.

Less well known are the vast digital resources to which digital age armchair learners enjoy unprecedented access.  Many of these resources are collected, preserved, digitized and shared by agencies of the federal government, the most prominent of which is the Library of Congress.  LC is digitizizing humungous collections of documents, photos, recordings, diaries, artifacts, virtually anything that helps to tell the story of this nation.  Further, the Library produces online guides to resources of a host of other collections within and outside the federal bureaucracy.

MLK Day provides a great opportunity for a digital dip into the treasures of LC.  The problem is that to dip may be to drown.  A significant problem in using digital resources is that the tidal wave is too much and the searcher washes ashore.

One approach is to start with a guide that LC created in 2010 to complement The African-American Mosaic exhibit.  Click here: (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam001.html) .  When you search under “Martin Luther King” the guide will send you to two sites:

Your learning curve has just begun.  Within LC lie countless caches of digitized history including, for example, the American Folklife Center (http://www.loc.gov/folklife/aboutafc.html) as well as the Afro-American Genealogical Research collection, the National Women’s History Project, the records of the NAACP, and the National Museum for African American History and Culture (http://nmaahc.si.edu)  still a work-in-progress set to open next year

The guide will lead you beyond the walls of the Library of Congress (not that walls matter to the armchair searcher).  The National Archives and Records Administration (http://archives.gov) is the repository of the records of the government itself.   “Celebrating MLK’s Legacy and Birthday” offers a quick glimpse of the National Archives resources on the King era – a smidgeon with links (http://blogs.archives.gov/blackhistoryblog/)

Armchair searching of the photos, videos, artifacts, posters, diaries, pamphlets – the stories — is a healthy addiction.  For some, the story of the process itself is as important as the stories that emerge from the records.  Such digital enthusiasts will enjoy this YouTube intro to digitization: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkzWN9t1alk)

With African American History Month just weeks away venturing into the MLK stories may whet the appetite for more – including, perchance, another post.  In the meantime, this just popped up on Twitter – take a minute to click, read and listen:

http://www.npr.org/2014/01/20/264226759/a-promise-unfulfilled-1962-mlk-speech-recording-is-discovered?ft=1&f=1001&utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprnews&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African American History Month – Government Stats Tell the Story

A wise friend once opined that “no one has ever had an information need.”  We need to know about something – our health, our taxes, our family history, our neighborhood, our job prospects, our choice of an appliance, our rights, our kids’ school.  Information is the means, not the end.

The term “access to government information” weighs like a leaden balloon on the public ear.  Recognizing this,  I’ve mounted a personal mini-crusade to breathe life into people’s ideas of what is, after all, a vital public resource – and an incredibly boring subject for all but the info-obsessed.

Even as the Census Bureau is tabulating the results of last year’s mighty count, folks there (and yes, real people are involved) are lending a generous hand by compiling and distributing an array of lists of government information focused on topics of interest.

Last week I was touting a Census Bureau compilation on Superbowl XVI minutia, irresistible to all but pro football luddites (if that’s a term.)  Frivolous to some of us, perhaps, but a glimpse into the creative imaginations of statisticians at the Census Bureau.

This week’s offering is of far greater consequence.  As we immerse ourselves in Black History Month we all have a lot to learn.  Though we could easily drown in the sea of information resources that pours forth during the month of February the Census Bureau collection of data and links is convenient, authoritative and a prime example of public information serving public purposes.

Though this snippet is akin to a spotting small star in the cosmos of public information, it illuminates what access to government information is all about.  It’s information you can trust, find with ease, and use at will with no concern for payment (it’s pre-paid by the American public) or ownership (it belongs to the people.)   Remember this list is saturated with numbers – it is from the Census Bureau.  And it is just one facet of the universe of information the government is so good at collecting, organizing and making available.

Black (African-American) History Month:
February 2011

To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month.

The population figures shown here are based on various sources but not on the 2010 Census. We expect to release 2010 figures for the black population and other races by April 1, 2011.

Population

41.8 million

As of July 1, 2009, the estimated population of black residents in the United States, including those of more than one race. They made up 13.6 percent of the total U.S. population. This figure represents an increase of more than a half-million residents from one year earlier.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/NC-EST2009-srh.html>

65.7 million

The projected black population of the United States (including those of more than one race) for July 1, 2050. On that date, according to the projection, blacks would constitute 15 percent of the nation’s total population.
Source: Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

18

Number of states with an estimated black population on July 1, 2009, of at least 1 million. New York, with 3.5 million, led the way. The other 17 states on the list were Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-EST2009-04.html>

38%

Percentage of Mississippi’s population that was black in 2009. Although New York had the largest number of blacks of any state, Mississippi had the largest share of blacks in its total population. Blacks also made up more than a quarter of the population in Louisiana (33 percent), Georgia (31 percent), Maryland (31 percent), South Carolina (29 percent) and Alabama (27 percent). They comprised 55 percent of the population in the District of Columbia.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-EST2009-04.html>

72,100

The increase in Texas’ black population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, which led all states.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-EST2009-04.html>

23

Number of states in which blacks were the largest minority group in 2009. These included Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Blacks were also the largest minority group in the District of Columbia. (Note: Minorities are part of a group other than single-race non-Hispanic white.)
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-EST2009-04.html>

1.4 million

The number of blacks in Cook County, Ill., as of July 1, 2009, which led the nation’s counties in the number of people of this racial category. Harris County, Texas, had the largest numerical increase in the black population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009 (15,700).
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/asrh/>

Among counties with total populations of at least 10,000, Claiborne County, Miss., had the largest percent of population that was black (85 percent). Claiborne led 77 majority-black counties or equivalents.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/asrh/>

30%

The proportion of the black population younger than 18 as of July 1, 2009. At the other end of the spectrum, 8 percent of the black population was 65 and older.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/NC-EST2009-asrh.html>

Note: Unless otherwise noted, the estimates in this section refer to the population that was either single-race black or black in combination with one or more other races.

Serving Our Nation

2.3 million

Number of single-race black military veterans in the United States in 2009.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Education

84%

Among blacks 25 and older, the proportion who had at least a high school diploma in 2009.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2009/tables.html>

19%

Percentage of blacks 25 and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2009.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2009/tables.html>

1.5 million

Among blacks 25 and older, the number who had an advanced degree in 2009 (e.g., master’s, doctorate, medical or law). A decade earlier, in 1999, about 900,000 blacks had this level of education.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2009/tables.html>

2.5 million

Number of black college students in fall 2008. This was roughly double the corresponding number from 25 years earlier.
Source: School Enrollment — Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/education/2009-11-02_education.html>

Voting

16.1 million

The number of blacks who voted in the 2008 presidential election, up by about 2.1 million from the 2004 presidential election. The total number of voters rose by 5.4 million, to 131.1 million.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

55%

Turnout rate in the 2008 presidential election for the 18- to 24-year-old citizen black population, an 8 percent increase from 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate in this age group.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

65%

Turnout rate among black citizens in the 2008 presidential election, up about 5 percentage points from 2004. Looking at voter turnout by race and Hispanic origin, non-Hispanic whites and blacks had the highest turnout levels.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

$32,584

The annual median income of single-race black households in 2009, a decline of 4.4 percent (in 2009 constant dollars) from 2008.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html>

25.8%

Poverty rate in 2009 for single-race blacks, up from 24.7 percent in 2008.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html>

21.0%

The percentage of single-race blacks lacking health insurance in 2009, up from 19.1 percent in 2008.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html>

Families and Children

64%

Among households with a single-race black householder, the percentage that contained a family. There were 8.6 million black family households.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

44%

Among families with single-race black householders, the percentage that were married couples.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

1.3 million

Number of single-race black grandparents who lived with their own grandchildren younger than 18. Of this number, 50 percent were also responsible for their care.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Homeownership

44%

Nationally, the percentage of households with a householder who was single-race black who lived in owner-occupied homes.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Jobs

28%

The percentage of single-race blacks 16 and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Businesses

$137.4 billion

Receipts for black-owned businesses in 2007, up 55.1 percent from 2002. The number of black-owned businesses totaled 1.9 million in 2007, up 60.5 percent.

37.6%

Percentage of black-owned businesses in 2007 in health care and social assistance, repair and maintenance and personal and laundry services.

28.2%

Percentage of businesses in the District of Columbia in 2007 which were black-owned, which led all states or state-equivalents. Georgia and Maryland followed, at 20.4 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively.
Source for statements in this section: Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status: 2007 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/economic_census/cb10-107.html>