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NAACP president on economic recovery: We're seeing a huge gap in rural black America

At Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on ThursdayDerrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, discussed the income gap and uneven U.S. economic recovery for African Americans.

Johnson spoke about the need for both corporations and government to invest in underserved communities.

“We’re seeing a huge gap in rural America, particularly rural black America. They oftentimes are left out. And then when you look at rural black America in the South, you see a much more uneven recovery,” he said.

The Great Recession erased much of the small gains many African Americans had made over the last thirty years. According to the ACLU, black families will continue to suffer the effects disproportionately for years to come: By 2031, white household wealth will be 31% below what it would’ve been had the recession never happened. For black households, wealth will be 40% lower, which will leave black families about $98,000 poorer than if the recession hadn’t taken place.

Johnson says closing this gap requires corporations and governments to invest in quality jobs and education in neglected rural areas that have traditionally been underserved. Johnson asserts that rural black America has people willing to do good work if the opportunity is there.

“You know, when I look at, say, the state of Alabama or the state of Mississippi, where I currently live, we don’t have a single Fortune 500 company … There is very little governmental investment in the state. And the corporate interests have flown over the state,” he said.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has not met with the NAACP. If Johnson were to receive an invitation, he says that he would ask the president about how tax dollars from African Americans are being spent in an effort to get fair tax representation for African Americans.  

“We believe that African Americans and other communities of color, we pay beyond our fair share in taxes, cause many African Americans and Latinos don’t have the tax council to get the tax breaks. But not always do those communities benefit from the opportunities of their hard labor and paying into the tax coffers,” he said.

Sibile Marcellus is an on-air reporter covering the day’s top stories in business for Yahoo Finance’s three daily live shows. Follow her on Twitter @chasingsibile 

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