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Knowledge Drop: Wealth Gap Tee


Black or blue tee with white print on front reading:


  • In 1865, Congress created a bank for formerly enslaved Black Americans called the Freedman’s Savings Bank. The bank was mismanaged from the start, but the government encouraged Black citizens to deposit their money into it.
  • By 1866, most states had enacted Black Codes, regulating the actions of Black people in the US. Many of these Black Codes specifically prohibited work in any sector outside of farming or servitude, limiting economic opportunities for growth within the Black community.
  • In 1874, the Freedman’s Savings Bank closed, taking with it nearly $3 million of Black Americans’ savings. After years of waiting, only a small portion of this was ever returned to the depositors.
  • In the late 1800s, O.W. Gurley, a wealthy Black landowner, purchased 40 acres of land in Tulsa and named it Greenwood. He opened the first Black-owned business in Greenwood in 1906, and began loaning money to Black people in Greenwood.
  • By 1921, other Black entrepreneurs had moved to Greenwood and established a thriving community where Black citizens looked out for each other, pooled their resources, and invested in their own community. The community was self-contained and self-reliant, featuring luxury stores, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, movie theaters, salons, pool halls, night clubs, schools, a post office, a bank, a hospital, public transportation, and offices for doctors and lawyers. Greenwood was burned to the ground by a mob of angry white people from nearby towns who resented the community’s success.
  • In 1935, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board created a map classifying neighborhoods into 4 categories by their perceived value. The lowest category of neighborhoods were “Type D” neighborhoods, which were outlined in red on the map. Type D neighborhoods were predominantly Black neighborhoods. This map was used by banks to determine which applicants would receive home loans, and created a system through which to deny Black people the opportunity of homeownership. This came to be known as “Redlining”, and despite becoming officially illegal in 1968, is still prevalent in lending practices today.
  • In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed, establishing workers rights and a minimum wage in the US. This act excluded domestic agriculture and service occupations, however, which were the primary work opportunities afforded to Black citizens, contributing to increasing wage gaps between Black and White workers.
  • In 1944, the GI Bill was passed, providing government guaranteed housing loans to military veterans. Black veterans were excluded from these opportunities, as banks wouldn’t make loans for mortgages in Black neighborhoods, and Black people weren’t allowed to live in white neighborhoods due to racism and deed covenants. The GI Bill fostered a long-term increase in wealth for white families, but did very little to build Black wealth.
  • Today, over 50% of white families end up with more wealth than their parents, versus only 23% of Black families. White families are 2x as likely to receive an inheritance as Black families, and White inheritances are nearly 3x as much as Black inheritances. More than 73% of White Americans own their homes, while only 44% of Black Americans do. The net worth of a typical white family in the US is 10x greater than the net worth of a typical Black family in the US.
  • In 2016, the UN advised the US that compensation in the form of reparations to Black Americans is necessary to offset the legacy of slavery and systematic racism that has contributed to the overwhelming wealth and subsequent opportunity gaps in the US. - Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, The History Channel, Britannica, US Department of Labor, Federal Reserve, Public Broadcasting System

Part of our Knowledge Drop collection -- pieces sold at cost with $0 profit to spread the word!

Tunnel Vision on sweatshop-free Bella & Canvas tee

This item is sizes in traditional men's sizing.