State of Black America

State of Black America (January 1989)
Duration: 00:27:48

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Themes: Education and Families | Urban Challenges | Poverty, Progress, and the Rise of African-American Businesses and Professionals |

Guests: Dr. Leon Chestang, N. Charles Anderson, John E. Jacob
Host : Trudy Gallant
Producer : Tony Mottley

Summary: It begins with a brief videotape clip showing Urban League National President and CEO John E. Jacob at a news conference where the report was announced, detailing some of its findings - that African Americans remain much more likely than whites to be poor and unemployed and to live shorter lives.

Host Trudy Gallant then begins discussing the report's findings with her studio guests: N. Charles Anderson, president of the Detroit Urban League, and Dr. Leon Chestang, Dean of the Wayne State University School of Social Work.

Anderson and Chestang generally agree that many of the problems have been worsened in the previous eight years because of federal cutbacks and policy changes under the administration of President Ronald Reagan. But Anderson argues that there is some reason to be optimistic because newly elected President George H.W. Bush "has started out demonstrating that he is willing to sit down with the black leadership."

Chestang says the situation is particularly critical for black children, who suffer from an absence of adequate prenatal care, are at greater risk of becoming school dropouts, and are much more likely than white children to die as the result of violence. "One could say that the black child is definitely in a state of crisis," Chestang says.

The program also includes several additional clips from the Urban League press conference and a number of comments and questions phoned in by viewers. It is particularly interesting for the snapshot it gives of African American concerns in the late 1980s and the relationship between those concerns and the policy shifts that occurred during the Reagan Administration.

Related Production Materials held at MSU Libraries, Special Collections:
Box 2, File 32, John Jacob – National Urban League – August 1, 1988
Box 3, File 13, State of Black America – January 21, 1991 – Show # 2213
Box 7, File 13, State of Black America” – February 15, 1993 – Show # 2416