Report Finds MLK’s Dream Not Yet Realized

August 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the setting of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In commemoration of this anniversary, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has launched a new project, The Unfinished March that assesses the unmet goals of the march.

Consisting of several reports written by some of the nation’s leading experts, the project illustrates that while the March on Washington was a touchstone of the civil rights movement and led to legislative victories—including mandating equal access to public accommodations, barring racial discrimination in employment, and protecting the voting rights of African Americans—achieving the march’s difficult economic goals remains a distant dream.

In a telling infographic, EPI researchers show that 50 years after the famous march, four of the seven demands made by marchers still have not been met. An estimated 45 percent of African-American children still live in poverty, many school systems are still segregated, African Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed and many are still hobbled by a low minimum wage.

“These goals were included in the demands for the march because they are essential to blacks’ full social and economic inclusion in American society,” reads the report. “In hindsight, the organizers of the march were correct: Achieving rights without fully obtaining the resources to actualize them is only a partial victory. In this 50th anniversary year of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we can best pay tribute to the march and all that it stood for by recommitting to achieving its unfinished goals.”

For more on The Unfinished March, click here.