In an earlier article, I mentioned the irony of Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green experiencing playoff losses the day before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday for three straight seasons and the possibility of a curse.
And as February (and hence Black History Month) draws to a close this week, I decided to mention some of the ironies of black history, particularly some figures from Jonathan Leaf’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, which are as follows:
- The percentage of black families under the poverty level dropped from 87% in 1940 to 47% in 1960.
- The average income of skilled black workers doubled between 1936 and 1959.
- The education gap between black and white adults fell from three years in 1940 to two years in 1960.
- The number of blacks with technical skills and professional occupations doubled between 1954 and 1964.
- The number of blacks being hired had increased during from 1961 to 1962 than from 1964 to 1968.
- The number of blacks in managerial positions did not increase from 1964 to 1967, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed.
- The number of students attending historically black colleges between 1940 and 1950 had increased by 350%.
- The number of blacks attending integrated colleges exceeded the number of blacks attending historically black colleges by 1963.
- Segregation had begun to be phased out during the 1940s and early 1950s. Examples include the desegregation of the military, discrimination in employment being banned within the federal government, and the hiring of black into professional sports leagues.
- The programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society led to a breakdown in the black family.
- A study conducted from 1969 to 1970 revealed that the number of blacks with doctorate degrees were on average paid better than white with doctorate degrees.
Such ironic figures also dispel the myth that there was no progress made in combating segregation prior to the Civil Rights Movement. One might be able to argue that such progress could be a prelude to the Civil Rights Movement.
J. Edgar Hoover had no love for Martin Luther King Jr. or the Civil Rights Movement, which he viewed as a communist conspiracy. Ironically, the Civil Rights Movement inspired the Solidarity Movement by Lech Walesa in Poland, which led to the collapse of communism in that country (which in turn brought an end to the Cold War). It also inspired the 1989 anti-communist protests at Tiananmen Square in China.