THE BLACK MIDDLE CLASS

THE BLACK MIDDLE CLASS

By: John O’Connor

Exactly 100 years ago this May, Congress passed a bill that allowed millions of Black Americans to lift themselves out of poverty and to greatly increase their political power. But the legislation had nothing to do with civil rights or social safety net programs, at least not directly. Instead, the bill sharply reduced annual immigration levels. By reducing the torrent of foreign labor arriving on U.S. shores, the Immigration Act of 1924 gave still-racist employers little choice but to recruit descendants of American slavery instead of waiting for the next wave of immigrants. Millions of Black southerners moved north in a “Great Migration” to higher-paying jobs. Congress today has much to learn from the history of the 1924 Immigration Act. The law, and the decades that followed, show how tightening the labor market by restricting immigration can lift the fortunes of America’s most vulnerable workers.

Between 1880 and 1924, competition with immigrant had severely depressed economic opportunities for freedmen. Ellis Island-era immigration gave northern industrialists the excuse they needed to avoid hiring freed slaves and their descendents. Such blatant discrimination and its role in reducing bargaining power and pay for African Americans was clear to the nation’s Black publishers and other leaders. “This country is suffering from immigrant indigestion,” wrote A. Philip Randolph, the great Black union leader, not long before passage of the 1924 immigration-reduction act. “It is time to call a halt on this grand rush for American gold, which over-floods the labor market, resulting in lowering the standard of living, race-riots, and general social degradation.”

Randolph and other Black leaders got much of what they wanted when President Coolidge signed the 1924 legislation. Immigration immediately plunged from 707,000 in 1924 to 294,000 in 1925. The number of new arrivals aver- aged less than 200,000 annually over the next 45 years. Northern employers finally needed African American workers. As a result, roughly six mil- lion
Black southerners moved to better jobs in other regions. Black workers’ status soared nearly twice as fast once expanding industrial opportunities allowed them to prove their productivity. Between 1940 and 1980, the real incomes of Black men rose four-fold. More than 70% of Black Americans were found to belong in the middle class by 1980, up from 22% in 1940. The 1924 law wasn’t perfect. Its system of national quotas favoring northern Europeans and excluding many countries on other continents came to be seen as at odds with the nation’s move toward a race- blind society. The desire to correct this racial discrimination inspired Congress to pass new immigration legislation in 1965 that inadvertently re-started the mass immigration of today — which none of the 1965 law’s sponsors said they intended.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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