Search for:

For best times of Black economic advancement, look for periods of tight labor markets & low immigration

author Published by Roy Beck

Much of the country’s attention for several months has been focused on the disproportionate joblessness, low incomes, poverty and overall economic inequality that beset Black Americans.

Lots of politicians are attempting to at least sound like they want to do something. But very few seem to realize that
Before 1965, racism – and the absence of civil rights laws and affirmative action – could not halt phenomenal economic progress for Black Americans during the tight-labor conditions that were assisted by low immigration.

If the Black economic trends in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s had continued, America would be a far different society today. But progress for the average Black wage earner stalled in 1973. The rapid ballooning of the labor supply has conspired to strike most Americans, but Black Americans have been hit the hardest.

McCarthy stated firmly that the moral priority for the United States remained that of addressing the descendants of two centuries of slavery and another century of racial apartheid who remain in the underclass. Large-scale immigration was interfering with meeting Black Americans’ needs, he said.

That same year on the night of March 11, listeners of the liberal alternative radio station WBAI in New York City heard Vernon Briggs of Cornell University and a lifelong union advocate make a similar plea.

The treatment of the African-American population is a national blemish of the highest order, and every policy ought to be judged on the following criteria: that it does no harm to the African-American population.

Briggs acknowledged that there are a lot of different opinions about what the government should DO to help the “failed Black third.”

But everybody should be agreed on what the government should NOT DO: Washington should not do anything that harms Black Americans, “and that’s what our immigration policy is doing.”

A quarter-century later, let’s pick up the torch from Vernon Briggs and Eugene McCarthy and

Who will act to help all of them?

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

This blog ran in a slightly different form on Labor Day.

Take Action

Your voice counts! Let your Member of Congress know where you stand on immigration issues through the Action Board. Not a NumbersUSA member? Sign up here to get started.

Action Board

Donate Today!

NumbersUSA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that relies on your donations to works toward sensible immigration policies. NumbersUSA Education & Research Foundation is recognized by America's Best Charities as one of the top 3% of well-run charities.


Immigration Grade Cards

NumbersUSA provides the only comprehensive immigration grade cards. See how your member of Congress’ rates and find grades going back to the 104th Congress (1995-97).

Read More