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INTRODUCTION

THE purpose of this booklet is to present appropriate facts for consideration during the National Urban League's Vocational Opportunity Campaign. It is hoped, however, that it may be serviceable in other connections as well. Simple statement of fact predominates, but occasional interpretative comment appears in connection with information thought pertinent for discussion by those interested in understanding and improving the occupational status of Negroes.

The Negro still faces the same problems which have confronted him for years. Facts and conditions have changed and here and there race attitudes have softened or hardened, but he is still battling to overcome an inferior status forced upon him by slavery and continued because of prejudice. Difficulties have come afresh with unemployment. Progress, which had come at great sacrifice and patience, has suffered a relapse and steady upward trends in occupational pursuits have been impeded.

If formerly the Negro has suffered from social ills arising out of economic restriction and limitation, those problems have been augmented by the present economic handicaps to a degree which calls for increased effort by those who are interested in raising his general social well-being. In such efforts the Negro himself must play a more important role. The exigencies of the day demand more than ever that he give continuous and unselfish devotion to the proven ideals and practices out of which success develops.

And so the facts and comments which follow are set down to stimulate inquiry on the part of Negroes and whites. We call attention to the great disparity between opportunity and capacity. The statistics quite purposefully have been given only in suggestive outline as the booklet makes no pretense to conclude questions but rather to raise them. The data and interpretation will not substantiate points of view, but we hope they will encourage analysis of, and respect for the problems that prevent complete realization of the nation's boasted ideal - equal opportunity for all.

The skill and loyalty of 5,500,000 Negro wage-earners, of whom 1,500,000 are unemployed, are among the frozen assets the country needs in circulation to insure business recovery.

New York City

May, 1933
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