Financial Literacy

Hard hit by COVID-19, Black Americans are recovering slowly

Rodney Brooks
May 31, 2022

Linda Butler-Johnson, a 61-year-old widow, hasn’t had steady work for two years, not since she was laid off from her housekeeper job at a Washington, D.C. hotel in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her rent was paid by a city rental assistance program all last year. But in 2022 she’s on her own, with no steady income.

After a year of unemployment Moshi Bernard, 36, has a job as a librarian earning $20,000 less than she made in the finance department of a local hotel before the pandemic. She’s glad to have a job, but the big pay cut is hard to swallow. “Is it a step back? Yes,” she said. “Is it a lower pay? Yes. But is it steady and consistent? Yes.”

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Authored By Rodney A. Brooks

TRAFOTFBThe author tells the history of the Freedman’s Savings Bank, how it grew much too quickly, why it failed and the impact on Black America. The Freedman’s Bank offered a safe depository for formerly enslaved people, expanded quickly and gained millions in deposits – mostly ranging from $5 to $50. But inexperience and corruption doomed it to failure, costing may of the small depositors their savings.

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“Rodney A. Brooks’ ‘Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap’ is one of the best written and most prescriptive books I’ve read on this prickly subject. Using powerful stats, stories and insightful wisdom, it is written from the heart, mind, body and spirit … plus years of research and thought as a mainstream journalist, Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap is revealing, humorous, instructive and sobering.” – Dr. George C. Fraser

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