Black middle class

Black middle class

The black middle class, sometimes referred to as Buppie,David Ansen and Spike Lee, [ The Battle For Malcolm X] , "Newsweek", Accessed May 15, 2008.] refers to African Americans who occupy a middle class status within the American class structure. It is predominately a development that arose after the 1960s. African Americans had a limited opportunity structure prior to 1960 because of racial discrimination, segregation, and the fact that most lived in the rural South. In 1960, forty-three percent of the white population completed high school, while only twenty percent of the black population did the same. African Americans had little to no access to higher education and only three percent graduated from college. Those blacks who were professionals were mainly confined to serving the African American population. Outside of the black community, they worked in unskilled industrial jobs. Black women who worked were almost all domestic servants.

Economic growth, public policy, black skill development, and the civil rights movement all contributed to the surfacing of a larger black middle class. The civil rights movement helped to desegregate the military and removed barriers to higher education. As opportunity for African Americans expanded, blacks began to take advantage of the new possibilities. By 1980, over 50% of the African American population had graduated high school and eight percent graduated college. Today, approximately 86% of blacks have graduated from high school and 13% graduate college.

Additional reading

* Bart Landry, The New Black Middle Class, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1987.
* Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, Routledge, New York, 1995.
* Susan Tolliver, Black Families in Corporate America, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California, 1998.
* Michael Dyson, Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Minds?, New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005. | ISBN 0-465-01719-3


* Landry, Bart. "The New Black Middle Class". 1987.
* Harris Jr., Robert. "The Rise of the Black Middle Class". The World and I Magazine. Feb. 1999. Vol. 14, pg. 40.

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