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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/21/14

@Ferguson: It's Been a Long Time Coming

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Sam Cooke, the famous American soul singer, sang a rendition of A Change Gunna Come that reflected much of the uncertainty and optimism of the US Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

It's been too hard living / but I'm afraid to die

Cause I don't know what's up there beyond the sky

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It's been a long, a long time coming

But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will


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His soulful voice echoed the sentiments of many people of his generation who were struggling for a new moral vision for their country, while never knowing what post-Civil Rights America would hold for their collective futures.

The Ferguson riots have forced us to take stock of how well the Civil Rights movement actually advanced economic opportunity for African Americans. Decades after the movement, data from the US Census offers us a sobering picture of uneven fortunes: the median household net worth for whites was $110,729 in 2010 versus $4,995 for blacks. This income gap widened during the recession.

Further, employment statistics indicate that African Americans are nowhere near to closing the household wealth gap. Since the Civil Rights era, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has shownthat the African American unemployment rate remains twice that of whites.

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Ali Hangan is high school teacher in Pomona, California.

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