There has always been criticism of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s record on Black America. Critics say he didn’t do enough and they expected more from the nation’s first Black president. Defenders say his hands were tied on a lot of issues because of a Republican Congress. In light of all the attention given to racial injustice in 2020, there’s been renewed interest in the subject.
Obama’s administration says it did fight for Black America and even released a list of accomplishments to prove it in 2016. The list includes topics ranging from poverty and unemployment to education and healthcare. Here is the official report the Obama White House sent out about its accomplishments for Black America.
Unemployment for Black Americans declined heavily during Obama’s tenure as the nation’s commander-in-chief. The “real median income of Black households increased by 4.1 percent between 2014 and 2015,” according to the report.
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The report also said that Obama enacted permanent tax credits saved Black families an average of $1,000 each. The poverty rate dropped by 2.1 percent for Black Americans.
The report said that Obama’s hallmark accomplishment – signing the Affordable Care Act into law – caused the uninsured rate to drop by more than half among Black Americans. Teen pregnancies dropped to a “historic low” among Black teenagers and the life expectancy rate reached an all-time high.
The high school graduation rate rose to historic highs among Black youth — 72.5 percent, the report states. The report also said that more than 1 million Black and Hispanic students enrolled in colleges during Obama’s tenure, however, it does not specify the number of Black students.
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The report also claimed that Black Americans attained bachelor’s degrees at a rate higher than ever and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) received $4 billion in funding. Obama also proposed a $30 million grant program for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions in his 2017 program. However, Congress did not fund the program.
The incarceration rate for Black Americans fell sharply under President Obama and was at the lowest point in two decades, according to the report. Juvenile detainment decreased and solitary confinement for juveniles in federal custody was ordered banned.
The administration touted its My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aimed at addressing opportunity gaps facing young Black men. A similar initiative, which was aimed at increasing equity for Black women and girls, was also funded.
According to the report, minority-owned business increased by 38 percent. Again the number of Black-owned businesses was not segregated. The administration created the MBK Millennial Entrepreneurs Initiative to help mitigate challenges young Black boys and men face when pursuing entrepreneurship or self-employment.
The Obama Administration worked to protect civil rights and prosecute hate crimes, according to the report. Obama appointed 62 Black Americans to lifetime judicial appointments.
Please note, these are just some highlights from the report about Obama’s record on Black America. The full report from the Obama White House archives can be accessed by clicking here. The report is entitled “Progress of the African-American Community During the Obama Administration.”