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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
January 10, 2010
Percentage of blacks state by state
Totals in the millions
District of Columbia
The Census Bureau estimated 304.1 million individuals
lived in the U.S. in 2008. Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Black Organizations Launch Campaign Encouraging African-American Participation In 2010 U.S. Census
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and black civic groups launched a strategic initiative to improve the count of African Americans in 2010 United States census after the 2000 census under counted 628,000 blacks.
The goal of Count on Change is to increase by 10% the final 2010 census response rate in black neighborhoods most likely to be omitted from the census, which is taken every 10 years. Count on Change includes video, print materials and a website,
to encourage African Americas to fill out census forms and cooperate with census workers.
An accurate final count is a matter of dollars and cents, John Payton, legal defense fund's director and general counsel, said in a statement.
"An accurate 2010 census could result in an additional $633 million in federal and state funding for hard-to-count black communities," Payton said. Census data affects the way more than $400 billion in federal funding annually is distributed to state, local and tribal governments.
Census data determine political clout. The federal government uses the information to determine how many members of congress will represent individual states.
The U.S. Census Bureau in 2000 reported a U.S. population of 281.4 million in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and federal employees and their dependents living overseas. The bureau reported an African-American population of 34.7 million; blacks accounted for 12.3% of the total U.S. population.
The Census Bureau in 2000 reported 216.9 million whites, but the legal defense and educational fund and other population survey observers said census workers double counted by 2.2 million whites and under counted 1 million blacks and Hispanics. Ten years ago, the census bureau reported 32.8 million Hispanics, comprising 12% of the U.S. population.
The Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NAACP, National Urban League and the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, fear the same segments missed in 2000--the poor, the mobile and children--will be overlooked in 2010.
An accurate count in the black community faces other challenges including high mortgage-foreclosure rates that forced thousands of black families from their homes. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita also forced black residents to relocate to other cities, the coalition said.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita flooded sections of New Orleans in August and September 2005, displacing hundreds of thousands of New Orleans residents to other states. Many New Orleans residents have not returned to the city. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin recently urged Katrina and Rita victims living elsewhere to record New Orleans as their home.
Mortgage foreclosures stand in the way of an accurate census count.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development reported more than 1 million mortgage foreclosures in 2008, but the number of black homeowners affected is not known though it is believed to be high.
The prison incarceration rate of black men also has affected an accurate census count for metropolitan areas.
Black men comprise nearly 40% of the nation's prison population, and many are from large cities including New York and Chicago, but they are serving sentences in prisons located in small, rural towns, according to a 2004 study published by the Prison Policy Initiative.
In 2000, a number of rural counties in the West, Midwest and Northeast doubled their black populations because imprisoned black men were included in towns' population counts, according to"Prisoners of the Census: Outdated Methodology Impairs Census Bureau's Count Of Black Population."
"The census bureau counts incarcerated people as if they were residents of the prison town, even though prisoners have no contact with the outside community and are not there by choice. This methodology has staggering implications how and where black citizens are counted," the study reported.
Black leaders want prisoners counted by their last known address, bringing them back to an urban area, which means more money and congressional representation for those regions.
The legal defense and educational fund and other black organizations addressed the importance of an accurate census count in December weeks before the census bureau launched in New York its nationwide census road tour. The road tour's role is to encourage U.S. residents to complete the 10-question census form when the document arrives in mailboxes March 15-17, Robert Groves, director, Census Bureau said in a statement.
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon Will Resign
Sheila Dixon, the first black woman mayor of Baltimore, will resign next month as part of a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, following her conviction in December on a single charge of taking gift cards intended for the city's poor (
Dixon, who became mayor in 2006, is expected to keep her $83,000 annual pension, but she must repay an unnamed charity $45,000 and perform 500 hours of community service.
A judge is scheduled to sentence Dixon Feb. 4, her last day in office.
Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore city council president, will replace the 56-year-old Dixon.
Dixon is the fourth current or former black mayor of a major city convicted of a crime or crimes in the four years.
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