Black Male: Why the Mid South Cannot Afford to Ignore the Disparities Facing Its Black Men and Boys

Dec 3, 2008

In the Mid South – Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi – there is a particular need and opportunity for advocacy, funding, and systemic change to address the inequities faced by black males. The region is not only widely impoverished and rural but also home to a large African-American population. This report presents knowledge on education, health, and criminal justice disparities as well as suggestions for how to take action.
  • In 2006, the Mid South was 29 percent African American, with the highest percentage in Mississippi.
  • In Louisiana and Mississippi, non-white households' average median net worth is 14 times less than that of their white peers. With the largely rural Mid South struggling to find a competitive advantage in today's economy, high unemployment causes the persistence of this legacy of poverty.
  • Education in the Mid South is again becoming increasingly segregated as high and middle-income white families – particularly those living in areas with high numbers of African Americans – send their children to private schools and academies. Many public schools in the region are unable to provide quality education.
  • The rate of uninsured black males ages 16-44 in the Mid South is 14.1 percentage points higher than the rate among whites in this age group.
  • Mississippi has stricter felony disenfranchisement laws than most other states, affecting large numbers of black males.