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Martin Luther King, Jr. was the legendary civil rights leader whose strong calls to end racial segregation and discrimination were central to many of the victories of the Civil Rights movement. Every January, the United States celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to honor the activist who made so many strides towards equality.
Let’s take a look at the demographics of the legendary man’s hometown then and now to see how it has (and has not) changed. King was born in 1929, so we’ll examine Census data from 1930, 1940, and the latest Census and American Community Survey data.
His boyhood home is now a historic site, situated at 450 Auburn Avenue Northeast, in Fulton County (part of Atlanta). In 1930, Fulton County had a population of 318,587 residents. A little over two thirds of the population was white (68.1 percent) and almost one third of the population was African American (31.9 percent). Today, the 920,581-member population split is nearly even at 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent African American, according to 2010 Census data. Fulton’s population is more African American than the United States as a whole (12.6 percent), but not as as much as Atlanta (54.0 percent).
A closer look at 1940s Census data of the Atlanta area offers more detail about where the black and white populations lived. The following map shows the distribution of the black population in the Atlanta of King’s youth. Plainly, African Americans lived together, largely apart from whites.
African American Population in Fulton County, GA, and Surroundings, 1940 (click map to explore)
For comparison, the following map shows where the black population lives today. Now the black population has expanded in the metro area, but still seems to be quite segregated.
African American Population in Fulton County, GA, and Surroundings, 2010 (click map to explore)
Reflecting on a century after the end of slavery, King said in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963:
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
Our struggle in the first phase was a struggle for decency. Now we are in the phase where there is a struggle for genuine equality. This is much more difficult. We aren’t merely struggling to integrate the lunch counter now. We’re struggling to get some money to be able to buy a hamburger or a steak when we get to the counter…
He went on to say that this would require a commitment of not only political initiative but also money: “It didn’t cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation one penny to guarantee the right to vote. The problems that we are facing today will cost the nation billions of dollars.”
In 1968, King and other activists launched the Poor People’s Campaign, advocating for economic justice to address these imbalances in opportunity and resources. A few months later, he was assassinated.
We can look at different socioeconomic indicators to measure the country’s progress towards equality. According to 1940 Census data, more than a third (36.5 percent) of housing units in Fulton County where whites lived were owner occupied, compared to less than a seventh (14.0 percent) of the housing units where African Americans lived.
Today, home ownership increased for both groups, but the gap remains. Two thirds (66.6 percent) of white households are owner-occupied, compared to two fifths (41.7 percent) of all black households.
Home Ownership Comparison in Fulton, GA, by Race
Let’s examine other measures of equality to see examples of additional gaps.
The unemployment rate is nearly twice as high among African Americans (17.9 percent) compared to among whites nationwide (9.5 percent). That gap is even more pronounced in Fulton County, where the unemployment rate for whites is 7.7 percent, while the unemployment rate for African Americans is 20.4 percent.
The percent of those living below poverty is also higher in the black community (27.2 percent) than in the white community (12.5 percent). While both groups are better off in Fulton County than the rest of the US, the poverty rate gap is even larger (8.2 percent among whites and 26.6 percent among African Americans in Fulton).
Similarly, while both groups are better educated in Fulton County compared to the rest of the US, nearly two thirds (62.4 percent) of white adults in the county have BA degrees or more, while just one quarter (25.3 percent) of the black population have the same level of education. The college attainment gap is 11.6 percentage points nationwide, but 37.1 percentage points in Fulton County.
While much progress towards freedom and equality has been made since King’s time, chronic gaps persist, even in his own backyard. The data show that 50 years after the “I Have a Dream Speech,” equal opportunity and socioeconomic status continue to lag behind equal rights.
Sydney Beveridge is the Media and Content Editor for Social Explorer, where she works on the blog, curriculum materials, how-to-videos, social media outreach, presentations and strategic planning. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. A version of this article originally appeared on the Social Explorer blog. You can use Social Explorer’s mapping and reporting tools to investigate dreams, freedoms, and equality further.
Social Explorer is an online research tool designed to provide quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to better illustrate, analyze and understand demography and social change. From research libraries to classrooms to the front page of the New York Times, Social Explorer is helping people engage with society and science.
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Cupid scours a trove of demographic data to guide his arrows. This Valentine’s Day, let Social Explorer help you map your way to love.
Look up information on the 59.7 million available men and 67.4 million available women across the nation (available meaning unmarried, divorced, separated or widowed). These bachelors and bachelorettes can be sorted by age group, geography and more as you develop your demographic dating plan.
Map of 2010 American Community Survey Never Married Population
She also has a thing for arty types, and can keep an eye out for areas with more men in that occupation by consulting the “Sex by Industry” table. More into an outdoorsy crowd? Try areas with larger numbers of men or women in farming, fishing and forestry.
Check out Social Explorer’s maps and reports for more information on dating possibilities in your neighborhood and beyond. It’s the perfect opportunity to try out our custom colors in pink, red and more.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Social Explorer!
Sydney Beveridge is the Media and Content Editor for Social Explorer, where she works on the blog, curriculum materials, how-to-videos, social media outreach, presentations and strategic planning. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
“We are pleased to release the first annual Illustrator Income Survey; this 88-page book details the incomes of 616 illustrators from all over the world. Easy-to-read charts and graphs detail income information by country, age and gender.”
Recently I’ve been importing the ancient Librarian Avengers archives to live within WordPress. Because the site goes back to…hrm… 1997, there’s some data munging to do.
Right now I’m concerning myself with the period after Graduate School, when I moved to Ithaca, NY for an ostensibly-cool digital library fellowship. I couldn’t talk about how much I hated it at the time so the entries are mostly tangential to the work I was doing, but there’s still some fun stuff.
Importing ancient blog posts involves a bunch of tagging, titling, category-setting, and general modernization. I’ve been progressively making my way through the old posts, adding images, fixing spelling mistakes, and generally adding a bit of polish.
Part of the reason I’m taking on data scrubbing as my One Designated Personal Thing to Do this evening, is that today has been a study in helplessness. My daughter has a (small) fever. It’s the first time she’s been sick, and I’m trying to direct my need to control something (anything!) in a positive direction.
Also, cleaning data is pretty therapeutic after some of the body fluids I’ve encountered recently.
Each year, I rely on CCBC Choices to provide me with statistics about the number of children's books about American Indians and by American Indians published in the previous year. Each year, I add to the table from the previous year. It's not a spiffy-looking graphic, but the info is important!
These statistics represent only quantity, not quality or authenticity. A significant number—well over half—of the books about each broad racial/ethnic grouping are formulaic books offering profiles of various countries around the world. Additionally, the number of books created by authors and illustrators of color does not represent the actual number of individual book creators, as some individuals created two or more books.
What are the 33 books about American Indians? And who are the 12 authors/illustrators (keeping in mind that the number is not 12 different authors or illustrators)? I'll need to do some research to find out what books they received. Reading their website, I see one of the books they received is Joseph Bruchac's Night Wings. I haven't read it yet.
I noticed that Maddy managed, without trying, while she was in the UK, to run up a $600 phone bill, using data on her phone. Which mostly came from a day when she was stuck in an airport that was closed, and her cousin browsed the web for a bit on Maddy's phone to kill time. T-mobile now charges $16 a meg for data when you're out of the US. To put that in context, according to Vodaphone's site, "On Mobile Broadband 50MB is approximately 100 Emails & 4 Hours browsing", and on T-mobile's rates 100 emails and 4 hours of browsing (running google maps etc) is $800. I asked T-mobile if they didn't have any plans that would work better if you're going abroad and, no they don't.
Which just seems wrong. And, strangely, I was pleased to find this out, as I've got my Nexus 1 and was planning to use it when I travel abroad over the next couple of months, particularly during the middle of March, when I go from the US to New Zealand to the Philippines to Poland to Moscow to the UK... and had Maddy not set off alarm bells, I could, I have no doubt, have come home to a $5,000 phone bill without even trying.
What I'd like is an international SIM card with cheap international data rates: I don't really want to come back from that trip with another 4 SIM cards I'll never use, having lost a morning in each country trying to find a Phone company with a SIm that'll give me data. There has to be someone out there -- and I don't care where they are -- with a decent international data service that covers the world, or enough of it that I don't have to switch it out all the time, and for the kind of rates that don't cost an arm, a leg, a spleen, a different leg, a kidney and both lungs.
Does anyone out there have any suggestions? ("Buy a new Sim everywhere you go" does not count as a suggestion, although it was the most popular thing I heard on Twitter.) Let me know -- and if I find anything good, I'll report back.
The information I share below is from "Thoughts on Publishing in 2008" by Kathleen T. Horning, Merri V. Lindgren, Tessa Michaelson, and Megan Schliesman. It was originally published in CCBC Choices 2009. I encourage you to become a Friend of the CCBC, which includes a copy of Choices.
In 2008, CCBC received 40 books that featured American Indian themes, topics, or characters. Of those 40, nine were created by American Indian authors and/or illustrators.
Here's two paragraphs from the essay, in the section titled "Multicultural Writing (and Illustrating, Too!)":
Louise Erdrich continued her chronicle of nineteenth-century American Indian experience in The Porcupine Year, which picks up the story of the Ojibwe girl Omakayas, last seen in The Game of Silence (HarperCollins, 2005). Now forced to leave their home, Omakayas’s family is on the move in a story based in part on Erdrich’s own family history. Joseph Bruchac, the most prolific Native author for children and teens, was inspired by family history to research and write what became March Toward the Thunder, about an Abenaki boy serving in the Union army during the Civil War. Nicola Campbell’s picture book Shin-chi’s Canoe looks at Native boarding schools through the a story of a boy enduring his first year away from home.
Horning, Lindgren, Michaelson and Schliesman note that few new picture books that show contemporary children of color were published. They write:
In fact, the only 2008 picture book featuring a contemporary American Indian child that we documented here at the CCBC was Niwechihaw=I Help, a bilingual (Cree/English) book published by Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press. The Littlest Sled Dog (Orca) features a dog rather than a child or children but does offer a glimpse of a contemporary Inuit village. And The Drum Calls Softly (Red Deer Press) is a bilingual (Cree/English) picture book in the voice of a child who might be contemporary or from the past, although the stunning illustrations by Native artist Jim Poitras (Cree, Salteaux, and Métis) have a historical sensibility.
On October 24, 2008, I posted a table of data from CCBC specific to books by and about American Indians. It covered 2002 through 2007. I'm reposting that table here, adding 2008 statistics to the table.
The Guardian has a long article about what the mechanisms are that keep local library catalogs form being effectively spidered and Googleable. They dip into the complicated area that is policies around record-sharing and talk about OCLCs changed policy concerning WorldCat data. This policy, if you’ve been keeping close track, was slated to be effective in February and, thanks in no small part to the groundswell of opposition, is currently being delayed until at least third quarter 2009.
Michael Stephens has a great post describing his Ten Trends & Technologies for 2009, and normally I wouldn’t even point to it because it’s getting a lot of link love elsewhere. If by some miracle you haven’t seen it yet, go read the whole thing, but I want to expand on one particular piece, cloud computing, because librarians need to also discuss the flip side of the benefits that Michael describes. As he notes, Michael isn’t the first librarian to talk about cloud computing, but I haven’t seen as much discussion of the potential consequences of it, especially during the transition we’re in right now where we can’t totally trust the cloud.
Here’s the part of Michael’s post that jumped out at me.
“As regular folks store more data and rely more and more on the cloud, librarians would be well-served to spend some time pondering what this means for services and access. As movies and music become downloads from the great jukebox in the sky, what happens to the AV department? As documents and data find their way to the ether, how can we provide a means to use them? Some implications from the “Cloud” post:
* Understand converged devices are everywhere.
* Allow unfettered access to the cloud.
* Understand that the cloud may also be a valuable information resource.
* Utilize the cloud to save time and money.
That last one is important to me. Why can’t we use Google Docs with our users for productivity instead of paying for bloated software suites? Why can’t we show our users how to save to the cloud so they can access their stuff from anywhere?”
I agree with Michael’s points, but I think we have a critical role in helping users with those third and fourth implications. One of the keys to cloud computing right now is synchronization. Very few people I know completely trust their data to the cloud, and they have backups at home or they synchronize across multiple devices so that if one service fails, they haven’t lost everything.
The problem with this approach at this stage is that early adopters know how to do this, but that’s a pretty small percentage of the population. So while we can definitely work with patrons using Google Docs, I think the more important role for libraries right now is to teach users about these types of services, in no small part so that we can help them understand the potential consequences. Because if you teach a patron to use an online documents site and she puts her resume there and something goes wrong with it, that’s a very real data loss for that person.
So we need to teach people a few different things, besides just how to use these tools.
There are multiple options
I worry when I see librarians promoting only Google Docs. I know Michael was using it as just one example, but I’ve seen others sing its praises with no mention that anything else even exists. Sure it’s easy to use and it works really well, but would you feel comfortable promoting only Microsoft Office Live Docs to your patrons? Most librarians I know would be uncomfortable about doing that, because they see Microsoft as being a monopoly interested only its bottom line, but Google isn’t fundamentally different. They’re actually selling ads with their services, and their ultimate motivation is revenue - never forget that.
How to synchronize or backup those files
Although this will change over the next few years, a very small percentage of the population has a smartphone, and even fewer actually use it to synchronize content to the cloud. A lot of people know about and use flash drives now that prices on them have dropped and storage size has gone up, but I’ve met enough folks who think putting something on the internet means it’s permanent that I strongly believe we need to help teach our users this isn’t true. So if we teach how to use cloud tools, we need to teach that there can also be consequences.
Last year I had a discussion with Eli Neiburger during which he made the interesting point that kids today experience their first data loss at a much younger age than we ever did. That really made me stop and think for a minute about just how much we aren’t teaching our children about technology, and this is an area where we can help both kids and adults, if we recognize this and incorporate it into our media fluency role.
How to think about privacy in this context
What does it mean to put your resume on Google Docs? I’m not sure we’ve really thought through that question. If you use Gmail (so Google is serving up ads based on your messages), the Google search engine (so the big G knows what you’re searching and is showing you ads based on that), your calendar is in gCal, and you use gTalk (just to name a few Google services), that means Google has assembled a pretty good picture of you. How comfortable would you be if all of that data resided with Microsoft? Yahoo? The government? Your ISP? Your employer? A company like Fox that’s owned by Rupert Murdoch?
This is important stuff, because these companies change their policies at the drop of a hat, and users have no say. For example, if you’re an iTunes customer who paid to upgrade your DRM-restricted music to “unrestricted” MP3s last week, this week we found out that those “unrestricted” and “open” files from Apple contain personal information about you. You can now be easily identified by that file, so if it lives in the cloud and something happens to it (like someone steals a copy and puts it on the open web), are you liable for that copyright violation? Granted, the chances of that happening are pretty slim, but how many users are even thinking about this? What does it mean to have personally-identifiable information embedded in data files and living in the cloud? We tend to think this stuff is just secure out there and that these kinds of things won’t happen to us, but it’s only hindsight that is 20/20. What if other companies started embedding personal information about you in files - what would your recourse be? And when it’s a free service, you don’t have a contract or service agreement to fall back on when problems arise.
I don’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist or even particularly paranoid, but this is one reason I don’t use Gmail very much. If you’re reading this, you likely already know all of this is an issue, and you have the capacity to make that decision for yourself. But a large percentage of your users probably don’t.
Teaching critical skills about the cloud will become just as essential as teaching how to evaluate a website, even more so as products continue the march to becoming services. The ease and convenience of accessing this stuff via any computer, including a cellphone, is pushing people to do things they would never do in the “physical” world. Imagine trusting someone you don’t know knocking on your door and saying they’ll take good care of your private data and access to your computer. “Trust me.” Seriously?
I take advantage of some of these services, too, so I’m just as guilty, but I’ve become far less trusting of synchronizing whole folders to the cloud, and I’m more careful about what lives there. I’ll probably start password-protecting more files, too. It’s not a perfect solution, but I’m starting to think more about this stuff and wonder how I can install my own synchronization service, rather than relying on a third party. I’m in the minority, though, and it’s time we recognize as a profession that when we identify these types of trends, it’s not just for our own benefit. We should see this for what it is - an expansion of our traditional role to teach people how to use information well, and we should lead, not just with good models, but with help understanding and dealing with the ramifications of all of this.
Okay, I really intended to try to write up some book reviews today (it's been a long time, have you noticed?) -- but that may have to wait until next week, as time is of the essence as usual. But I can't resist pulling this data from today's Shelf Awareness:
Bookstore sales in November were $1.186 billion, up 7.5% from $1.103 billion in sales in November 2006, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have been $14.654 billion, up 0.8% from $14.532 billion in the first 11 months of 2006. This marks the fifth month in a row that bookstore sales were up over the same period last year--and the second month in a row that year-to-date sales have topped last year's comparable figures.
Okay, it's a small increase, and a short-term trend. But it does seem to me to challenge the idea that things are just eternally spiraling downward for the book industry, and especially for bookstores. Note that "under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales." So this is just brick and mortar stores, with sales this year better than the year before. Hooray!
Friday I'm in Poughkeepsie at BookStream (and keep an eye out for some cool announcements from there soon!) I'll be back with some book reviews on Monday. Happy reading!
I’ve been chitchatting with Simon as he’s been compiling and data-cleaning his set of LoC authority records. He’s at ALA now, and the data has been released into the wild. There’s something that warms my little librarian heart getting to read raw MARC on my own little laptop. Try it yourself!