African Americans

“I’m Going to Learn to Dance If It Takes Me All Night and Day” - Thoughts on Chuck Berry

Geoffrey Jacques
Portside
Much commentary on the late Chuck Berry will focus on how his songs expressed fun and teenage angst. This is the right thing to do. Yet there’s more. For example, Berry’s obsession with the comparative qualities of fast cars — most brilliantly displayed in his song “Maybellene” — did not just reflect the rise of post-WW II consumerist culture....He preferred V-8 Fords over Cadillacs because he spent several years in the late 1940s and early 1950s helping make Ford cars.

Harry Belafonte Knows a Thing or Two

John Leland
New York Times
The city native, about to turn 90, looks back at a glorious past and wonders what his next act will be. The rise of Donald J. Trump alarmed him, but not as much as the passion and numbers of Mr. Trump's supporters. 'I've never known this country to be so' - he paused before saying the word.' Though encouraged by the energy in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy movements, he felt that both lacked an ideology to make real change.

Black-White Earnings Gap Returns to 1950 Levels

Patrick Bayer and Kerwin Kofi Charles
Science Blog
More and more working-age men in the United States aren’t working at all. The number of nonworking white men grew from about 8 percent in 1960 to 17 percent in 2014. The numbers look still worse among black men: In 1960, 19 percent of black men were not working; in 2014, that number had grown to 35 percent of black men. That includes men who are incarcerated as well those who can’t find jobs.

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