Black People : Decades of Economic Gains Vanish for Blacks in Memphis

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, May 31, 2010.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Decades of Economic Gains Vanish for Blacks in Memphis
    [​IMG]


    For two decades, Tyrone Banks was one of many African-Americans who saw his economic prospects brightening in this Mississippi River city. A single father, he worked for FedEx and also as a custodian, built a handsome brick home, had a retirement account and put his eldest daughter through college. Then the Great Recession rolled in like a fog bank. He refinanced his mortgage at a rate that adjusted sharply upward, and afterward he lost one of his jobs. Now Mr. Banks faces bankruptcy and foreclosure.
    “I’m going to tell you the deal, plain-spoken: I’m a black man from the projects and I clean toilets and mop up for a living,” said Mr. Banks, a trim man who looks at least a decade younger than his 50 years. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. But my whole life is backfiring.”
    Not so long ago, Memphis, a city where a majority of the residents are black, was a symbol of a South where racial history no longer tightly constrained the choices of a rising black working and middle class. Now this city epitomizes something more grim: How rising unemployment and growing foreclosures in the recession have combined to destroy black wealth and income and erase two decades of slow progress. The median income of black homeowners in Memphis rose steadily until five or six years ago. Now it has receded to a level below that of 1990 — and roughly half that of white Memphis homeowners, according to an analysis conducted by Queens College Sociology Department for The New York Times.
    Black middle-class neighborhoods are hollowed out, with prices plummeting and homes standing vacant in places like Orange Mound, White Haven and Cordova. As job losses mount — black unemployment here, mirroring national trends, has risen to 16.9 percent from 9 percent two years ago; it stands at 5.3 percent for whites — many blacks speak of draining savings and retirement accounts in an effort to hold onto their homes. The overall local foreclosure rate is roughly twice the national average.
    The repercussions will be long-lasting, in Memphis and nationwide. The most acute economic divide in America remains the steadily widening gap between the wealth of black and white families, according to a recent study by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University. For every dollar of wealth owned by a white family, a black or Latino family owns just 16 cents, according to a recent Federal Reserve study.
    The Economic Policy Institute’s forthcoming “The State of Working America” analyzed the recession-driven drop in wealth. As of December 2009, median white wealth dipped 34 percent, to $94,600; median black wealth dropped 77 percent, to $2,100. So the chasm widens, and Memphis is left to deal with the consequences. “This cancer is metastasizing into an economic crisis for the city,” said Mayor A. C. Wharton Jr. in his riverfront office. “It’s done more to set us back than anything since the beginning of the civil rights movement.”
    The mayor and former bank loan officers point a finger of blame at large national banks — in particular, Wells Fargo. During the last decade, they say, these banks singled out blacks in Memphis to sell them risky high-cost mortgages and consumer loans. The City of Memphis and Shelby County sued Wells Fargo late last year, asserting that the bank’s foreclosure rate in predominantly black neighborhoods was nearly seven times that of the foreclosure rate in predominantly white neighborhoods. Other banks, including Citibank and Countrywide, foreclosed in more equal measure...
    ...The reversal of economic fortune in Memphis is particularly grievous for a black professional class that has taken root here, a group that includes Mr. Wharton, a lawyer who became mayor in 2009. Demographers forecast that Memphis will soon become the nation’s first majority black metropolitan region.
    That prospect, noted William Mitchell, a black real estate agent, once augured for a fine future. “Our home values were up, income up,” he said. He pauses, his frustration palpable. “What we see today, it’s a new world. And not a good one.
    “You don’t want to walk up there! That’s the wild, wild west,” a neighbor shouts. “Nothing on that block but foreclosed homes and squatters.” To roam Soulsville, a neighborhood south of downtown Memphis, is to find a place where bungalows and brick homes stand vacant amid azaleas and dogwoods, where roofs are swaybacked and thieves punch holes through walls to strip the copper piping. The weekly newspaper is swollen with foreclosure notices.


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  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    the great rise in jobless motion is killing us rapidly.
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Not to be flippant about this but do we assume with this economic katrina on the rise and the impending bankruptcy of over 40 states,that this trend is not re[plicating across the nation?

    How many warnings do we need before we start talking seriously about Black nationalism?
     
  4. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    I'm sure we are aware now but without us working and doing something about it
    collectively we will seem broken or not aware of the facts at hand

    blind can't lead the blind
     
  5. hartwell

    hartwell Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    until the dollar collapse negroes will still be in a coma. When yt start taking away their toys fancy cars, flat screen tv's etc, our people will still be wandering around lost
     
  6. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I worry about the children.

    The diagnosis is grim, cause all ethnic groups have leadership, open or behind the scenes, individual or a consortium,

    but we are like a hospital with no doctors !

    An injury to one is an injury to all, and if we fail to plan then we plan to fail.
     
  7. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    An injury to one is an injury to all, and if we fail to plan then we plan to fail.


    The truth in it's finest , something we really need to wake up too.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I rarely speak about my religion, but there seemed to be this

    NOAH

    type urgency we have seen, prophetic urgency;

    from Marcus Garvey

    Elijah Muhammed

    Malcolm X

    Claude Anderson

    and Amos Wilson
     
  9. Bxblasta

    Bxblasta Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I hate to say this but it seems like many blacks that I encounter on a daily basis are complacent with the state of black america. Many blacks will read the above news article and keep it moving. We need a collective movement soon. Just imagine if a million or so blacks in america would deliberately stop paying their mortgage, car loans, student loans etc... The banksters would have a serious problem on their hands.
     
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