Join our 2020 National Virtual Black and Latino Economics Summit for imperative discussions on topics related to the current and future socio-economic conditions of Black & Latino communities.
The Summit agenda will feature forums, workshops, and presentations to educate and encourage mutually beneficial partnerships among participants, presenters, and sponsors.
How did we get here?
1598: New Mexico is settled by the Spanish—making it the largest and oldest Spanish settlement in the Southwest. In 1609, Mestizo people of Spanish and indigenous descent settled in what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico
1619: Twenty enslaved Africans arrived by ship to Virginia, beginning more than 200 years of the enslavement of black people in the United States
1790: The first United States census counted 20,000 people of Hispanic and Latino origin living in British colonies.
1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War, but many former citizens of Mexico lost their land in lawsuits due to legislation passed after the treaty
1865: The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States. However, Jim Crow laws—state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation—emerged and existed for more than a century.
1868: The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution was adopted, declaring all people born or naturalized in the United States—including former slaves and people of Hispanic descent—citizens and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” Additionally, Cubans revolted after 300 years of Spanish rule, and many migrated to the United States.
1870: The 15th Amendment guaranteed citizens of the United States the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. As a result, several states enacted poll tax laws to restrict voting rights—ultimately disenfranchising impoverished and minority voters. Poll taxes remained a prerequisite to voter registration in many states until 1965.
1874: Freedman’s Savings Bank, a private corporation chartered by the United States government to spur economic development in black communities after the Civil War, failed after taking on bad debt and eventually going bankrupt. At its peak, the financial institution was located in 17 states within the United States, with approximately $57 million in deposits. Many lost their savings, possibly creating distrust in banking institutions among many black communities.
1898: Through war, the United States acquired Puerto Rico and claimed it as a territory.
1921: White residents viciously attacked the black residents and businesses of a thriving area in Tulsa, Oklahoma—known as the Tulsa Greenwood District or Black Wall Street. This Massacre resulted in the injury and death of many black people and devastated many flourishing black businesses.
1924: The Labor Appropriation Act established the Border Patrol to prevent illegal entry into the United States, especially along the Mexican border. By the 1930s, the United States government begins to deport Mexicans.
1934: To combat a housing shortage, the National Housing Act of 1934 established the Federal Housing Administration, which aided in the deterioration of inner-city, minority communities by withholding capital for mortgages and reinvestment. This became known as “Redlining” because communities of color were outlined in red on maps to indicate that the area was risky mortgage lenders. This resulted in racial segregation and decay in most metropolitan cities.
1935: The Social Security Act prevented farmworkers and domestic workers, mostly low-income blacks, from receiving benefits.
1943: Mexico agreed to import temporary workers to the United States to fill the void in agricultural work as a result of the World War II labor shortage.
1944: The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill, was enacted to cover the cost of college education for soldiers returning from World War II and paid the down payments for a home for each veteran. Unfortunately, minorities did not benefit from these rightfully owed aids because of racist local zoning ordinances.
1947: Nine-year-old Sylvia Mendez was turned away from a “for whites only” public school in Orange County, California. Her father enlisted civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall, and Mendez v. Westminster prevailed before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District. As a result of this landmark case, California became the first state to end segregation in its public schools.
1954: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund represented plaintiffs from five different segregated public-school districts throughout the nation before the United Supreme Court in the landmark case known as Brown v. Board of Education. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. . .” in a unanimous decision declaring segregation in public schools unconstitutional.
1954: Hernandez v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court unanimously concluded that people of Hispanic descent are entitled to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
1964: The Civil Rights Act is passed, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender, creed, race, or ethnic background. Additionally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was established to prevent job discrimination.
1968: Expanding upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination on the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, or gender.
The 1970s: Deindustrialization begins to impact black unionized workers as automation emerged. As a result, workers were laid off, and unions became less relevant, which resulted in income inequality. Ultimately, this hurt black workers, families, and communities.
1977: President Jimmy Carter signed the Community Reinvestment Act to encourage banks to halt the practice of lending discrimination.
1980: Cuban President Fidel Castro permitted Cubans to migrate to the United States. Following the announcement, more than 100,000 Cubans arrived in South Florida. The media portrayed these newcomers as mentally ill or criminals, which resulted in discrimination against these immigrants.
1986: The United States Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which created a sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack cocaine compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine. These laws were disproportionately discriminated against minorities—mostly African Americans—who had more access to crack than powder cocaine, known as a “rich man’s drug” and highly accessible in affluent white communities. Thousands of minorities have received decades-long sentences for crimes associated with crack cocaine.
1986: President Ronald Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act to toughen U.S. immigration law, enforce border security, and require employers to monitor the immigration status of their employees. Additionally, amnesty is granted to nearly three million immigrants.
1994: Proposition 187 is passed in California, banning undocumented immigrants from receiving public education, welfare, subsidized health care, and other public benefits. Additionally, the manufacture, distribution, sale, or use of false citizenship or residence documents became a felonious act under this legislation. Local and state officials were also required to report suspected or apparent undocumented immigrants. This state legislation is ruled unconstitutional in 1996.
2007: The Subprime Mortgage Crisis disproportionately impacted black and brown communities because minorities received a disparate number of subprime mortgages. Therefore, they experienced a disproportionate amount of the resulting foreclosures, widening America’s racial wealth gap.
2017: The Trump administration begins separating children from their parents who attempt to cross the border without permission to deter migration across the border. In 2018, the Department of Justice implemented a zero-tolerance policy, referring all migrants who cross the border without permission for prosecution. Their children were taken into custody by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2019: Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the direction of President Donald Trump, conducted raids in major cities throughout the United States to arrest thousands of undocumented families.
2020: The United States Supreme Court blocks an attempt by President Donald Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, enacted by President Barack Obama in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to the country as children from being deported. Additionally, minority-owned firms received fewer loans in the initial round of relief for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program than white-owned firms.