BY WALTER OPINDE
During the Presidency of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the U.S. (between 1993 and 2001), African-Americans witnessed a great change in the racial gap between different American ethnic groups. The policies and racial initiatives, introduced by the president during his tenure, gave a fundamental change to the black community’s civil rights. These initiates aimed at creating a united “One America” in the 21st Century. Historical records reveal that the primary beneficiaries of President Clinton’s initiatives were the African-Americans, as well as the Hispanic community.
Before the initiatives by President Bill Clinton, the economic gaps in American society were expanding at alarming rates. The economic divide between the rich and the poor (basically the Whites and the Blacks/Hispanics, respectively) was increasingly growing wider. Between the 1980s and the early 1990s, the bottom 60% of Americans saw little, if any, increase in income, unemployment for the African-Americans and Hispanics reached a record high. As well, the poverty rate among African-Americans remained at or above 30%. Fortunately, the Clinton Administration worked and expanded opportunities for everyone, and improved the strength of the U.S. economy where almost everyone was a beneficiary; the African-Americans not excluded. Under President Clinton, unemployment and poverty rates declined for all groups, while family incomes increased. The Clinton Administration worked to increase opportunity by expanding access to higher education and job training, expanding loans to the minority and small businesses, as well as launching efforts to close the digital divide through expanding new markets in underserved communities.
Other examples of progress under the Clinton-Gore Administration include:
- Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the unemployment rate for African-Americans fell from 14.2% in 1992 to 7.3% towards the end of his era. As well, the African-American poverty rate has dropped from 33.1% in 1993 to 26.1% 2000. This was the lowest level ever recorded, and the largest five-year drop in African-American poverty since the 1960s. All groups of Americans, from the richest to the poorest, saw their incomes rise for three successive years. The average income for the lowest 20% earners increased by 5.4% as compared to an increase of 3.9% for the highest 20% earners. Moreover, poverty among African-American children also dropped to the lowest level on record.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration fought to protect the rights of all Americans by increasing the funding for civil rights enforcements from $47.6 million in 1992 to $92 million by 2001. The President also ordered a comprehensive review of federal affirmative action programs, which concluded that affirmative action is still an effective and important tool to expand educational and economic opportunity to all Americans.
- The median household income increased for the African-Americans by almost 15% between 1993 and 1999.
- The highest number of African-American high school graduates enrolling in college ever, increasing from 48% in 1992 to 59% by 1998. From the beginning to the end of Clinton’s administration, SAT test-scores for college-bound African-American students had increased by a total of 13 points.
Read more of the story via: https://clinton5.nara.gov/WH/Accomplishments/eightyears-11.html