Over six decades have passed since the civil rights movement began in the mid-1950s, but American society has not yet fully realized the promise of the civil rights movement, which at its core embodies the protection and promotion of equity and dignity of all people. Despite the historic improvements that accord the legal protection of equal rights among different races, genders, and ethnic groups, significant economic disparity among racial and regional lines persists. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, “Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality.” However, the pursuit of economic equality has not been successful. Growing racial and regional economic disparities create serious social, economic, and political problems in American society and pull America away from the ideals of the civil rights movement. Structural economic problems in the United States, such as persistent income and wealth disparities along racial lines and chronic poverty prevailing in many regions, have exacerbated the inequality that divides the country. This challenge requires a fundamental paradigm change. Racial and regional economic disparities can no longer be overcome solely by individual efforts and self-reliance. The federal government must address racial and regional economic disparities by facilitating economic development for minorities and economically depressed areas in close cooperation and coordination with state and local governments, as well as the private sector. Before America can fully meet the objectives of the civil rights movement, this country must achieve successful economic development that bridges racial and regional economic disparities.
The Last Call for Civil Rights: Toward Economic Equality,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol37/iss4/9