Press Release

New NAACP Report Highlights Ways Forward from Poverty in Baltimore, MD

February 6, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Malik Russell/mrussell@naacpnet.org

Group says time to address historical injustices contributing to current inequality

BALTIMORE (February 2, 2018) – In a new report, the NAACP analyzes the impact of historical racism and segregation on Baltimore and releases its recommendations for eliminating the entrenched poverty existing in large swaths of the city.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 10a.m., the NAACP will host a press conference at its national headquarters in which the civil rights organization will announce details and findings from its Economic Inclusion Plan for the city of Baltimore. Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO, Marvin J. Owens Jr., NAACP Senior Director of Economic Programs, and Edsel Brown, Economic Chair, NAACP Maryland State Conference will participate.

Funded by Wells Fargo, the Baltimore report is one of three reports to be released on February 6 on cities that have faced social unrest in recent years due in part to community sense of economic exclusion. The other reports spotlight Charlotte, NC and St. Louis, MO.

“Baltimore, home to the NAACP headquarters, has long been riddled with economic inequality and civil unrest,” said Johnson. “These depictions only paint one side of the picture. On the other side is a veil of systematic racism and economic suppression that covers large areas of the city. With our Economic Inclusion Plan, we’re providing federal, state and local government officials concrete recommendations on how to resolve issues pertaining to housing, jobs and education in these Black communities.”

The Economic Inclusion Plan (EIP) will be a resource for community residents, elected officials and stakeholders to alleviate systematic, government-sanctioned racial discrimination through beneficial economic policy and programmatic solutions. Releasing an EIP for the cities of Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, and St. Louis, MO, the NAACP analyzed how these three cities – each marked by a history of police brutality and social unrest – fare in the face of the economic inequalities that afflict them.

“These economic inclusion plans provide in-depth research on the current economic conditions andthe policies that foster these conditions, and then makes recommended policy changes necessary in these cities,” said Marvin J. Owens Jr., NAACP Senior Director of Economic Programs. “We are grateful for the leadership of our local chapters and state conferences who contributed to this important work, and we are faithful in the fight for economic justice.”

Stark economic contrasts, many of which the report shows emerged from racist policies that promoted and reinforced segregation and access to resources, continue to mark Baltimore as we move deeper in the 21st century. The Baltimore report found that unemployment rates for Blacks in Baltimore was 13.1% – almost quadruple that of the white unemployment rate of 3.4% in the city -and that less than 5 percent of the Black-owned businesses in the city have employees.

Currently, the median household income for whites is $35,000 more than that for Black households,and the Black poverty rate is more than double that of whites. Additionally African Americans’business ownership rate of 22 percent compared to 70 percent for whites.

This inequity prompted an earlier town hall meeting designed to generate public feedback for these reports.

“We were enthused to host the Baltimore Town Hall back in November and listen to the concerns of the citizenry. We now look forward to utilizing these strategies for economic inclusion in our work with the community to truly make a difference,” said Edsel Brown, Economic Chair, and NAACPMaryland State Conference.

Recommendations for Baltimore include comprehensive plans for addressing concentrated poverty and racial isolation, support for transferring vacant lands to community land trusts and training residents on the business of vacant home renovations, as well as a government backed crackdown on the discriminatory and predatory lending practices that deter opportunities for minority home ownership.

“Wells Fargo is steadfastly committed to advancing economic inclusion for African American communities, which we believe can mitigate or even prevent incidents of social unrest in cities where extreme economic disparities are pervasive,” said Gigi Dixon, head of Strategic Partnerships for Wells Fargo.  “Last year, we announced a $60 billion commitment to create at least 250,000 African American homeowners by 2027, and we will use the findings in these reports to inform the development of new products and services designed to help drive greater economic inclusion for this critical customer segment.”

The NAACP’s development of the EIPs is part of the NAACP’s commitment to enhancing the capacity of African Americans and other underserved groups.

View Report

ABOUT THE NAACP: 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

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