Urban League Cites Incarceration, AIDS, Joblessness*
NEW YORK -- Citing bleak data on incarceration, joblessness and AIDS, the National Urban League said Monday that problems facing black men represent America's most serious social crisis and proposed an aggressive campaign to provide them with more opportunities.
The 97-year-old black empowerment organization, in its annual State of Black America report, called for universal early-childhood education, more second-chance programs for school dropouts and ex-offenders, and expanded use of all-male schools emphasizing mentoring and longer class hours.
"Empowering black men to reach their full potential is the most serious economic and civil rights challenge we face today," said Urban League President Marc H. Morial. "Ensuring their future is critical, not just for the African-American community, but for the prosperity, health and well-being of the entire American family."
According to the report, African-American men are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white males while earning 74 percent as much per year. They are nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated, with average jail sentences about 10 months longer than those of white men, the report said.
In addition, it said, black males between 15 and 34 are nine times more likely to be killed by firearms and nearly eight times as likely to suffer from AIDS.
* What can we learn from the Founding Fathers on this issue? Send Them Back. -- ed