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鶹ýAV Center on Black Voices

Explore 鶹ýAV's independent research that reveals the trends and insights on the experiences of Black Americans.

鶹ýAV’s Latest Insights on Black America

As the DMV Region Grows, Many Residents Struggle to Keep Up

Residents of the Greater Washington, D.C., region give affordable housing the worst ratings when asked about a list of local resources. A majority are now concerned about being able to pay rent or mortgage costs, up from 2020.
History

鶹ýAV Findings Throughout Black History

鶹ýAV has polled on Black issues since the 1930s, including on key turning points in U.S. Black History.

1939

鶹ýAV Polls Its First Question About Racism

In 1939, 鶹ýAV asked the first question it ever polled on an issue related to race or racism. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in protest of the organization's denying a popular Black singer, Marian Anderson, from performing in a DAR concert hall. Most Americans approved of the first lady's protest. View related content about how 鶹ýAV Polls Its First Question About Racism.

The Daughters of the American Revolution would not allow a well-known Negro singer to give a concert in one of their halls. As a protest against this, Mrs. (Eleanor) Roosevelt resigned from the organization. Do you approve of her action?

57% Yes
28% No
15% No opinion

鶹ýAV Poll, March 4 - March 9, 1939

1955

After Rosa Parks' Protest, the Public Opposes Transit Segregation

Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat for a White man in 1955 sparked a renewed resistance to segregation in U.S. public transit. The U.S. Supreme Court's Browder v. Gayle decision in 1957 struck a major blow to "separate but equal" policies in the South. 鶹ýAV found that six in 10 Americans supported the Supreme Court's ruling -- despite strong opposition in the South. View related content about how After Rosa Parks' Protest, the Public Opposes Transit Segregation.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that racial segregation on trains, buses and in public waiting rooms must end. Do you approve or disapprove of this ruling?

60% Approve
33% Disapprove
7% No opinion

鶹ýAV Poll, July 1957

1957

Brown v. Board of Education Decision Tested by The Little Rock Nine

In 1954, U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional had the support of most Americans (55%). But 鶹ýAV also found that a majority of White people would object to sending their children to a majority-Black school at the time.

In a test of the ruling, a group of Black students named "The Little Rock Nine" enrolled at an all-White Arkansas high school, sparking outrage among local White people and prompting the governor to order the National Guard to block the Black students' entry. The American public was mixed on the governor's action (42% said he did the "right thing" while 47% said he did the "wrong thing"), but a small majority (51%) believed The Little Rock Nine should be admitted to the school. View related content about how Brown v. Board of Education Decision Tested by The Little Rock Nine.

1963

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Delivers 'I Have a Dream' Speech Despite Dismal Outlook on Race Relations

Americans in 1963 had a grim outlook for the state of race relations to come: 63% believed that relations between Black and White people would get "worse." Despite this outlook, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington set a tone of hope for the civil rights movement's course moving forward. View related content about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Delivers 'I Have a Dream' Speech.

Do you think relations between the Negro and white races will get better or worse during the next six months?

21% Better
63% Worse
7% No change (vol.)
9% No opinion

鶹ýAV Poll, June 1963

1964

Public Support for the Watershed Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the final death knell to segregation in public places in the U.S. About six in 10 Americans approved of the legislation, though most (62%) supported a gradual approach rather than a strict enforcement from the beginning. View related content about Public Support for the Watershed Civil Rights Act.

As you know, a civil rights law was recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. In general, do you approve or disapprove of this law?

59% Approve
31% Disapprove
10% No opinion

鶹ýAV Poll, September 1964

1965

Strong Support for the Voting Rights Act -- but Not Among White Southerners

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to address the barriers to voting that were in place for many Black Americans. A 鶹ýAV poll taken months prior to its passage found that the legislation was favored by more than three in four Americans (76%) -- though by less than half of White Southerners (49%). View related content about Strong Support for the Voting Rights Act.

1967

Strong Disapproval of Interracial Marriage Despite Monumental Loving v. Virginia Decision

The Supreme Court's decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down all state laws that banned interracial marriage, even as 鶹ýAV found strong disapproval of interracial marriages. It wasn't until the 1990s that a majority of Americans approved of marriages between Black and White adults. View related content about Strong Disapproval of Interracial Marriage.

Line graph showing the increase in the approval of marriage between blacks and whites from 1958 (4%) to 2013 (87%)

1992

Acquittal of Rodney King's Attackers Draws Strong Public Disapproval

In 1992, riots erupted in Los Angeles after four White police officers were found not guilty in the beating of a young Black man, Rodney King. The vast majority of U.S. adults believed the verdict was unjustified. View related content about the Acquittal of Rodney King's Attackers Draws Strong Public Disapproval.

From what you know of the Rodney King case in California (in which Los Angeles policemen beat him), do you think the verdict finding the policemen not guilty was justified or not justified?

10% Justified
76% Not justified
13% Don't know/Refused/Not aware of case

鶹ýAV/Newsweek Poll, April 1992

2008

Barack Obama's Election Marks a Significant Shift in Americans' Attitudes Toward Black Candidates

Most Americans said they would not vote for a Black presidential candidate when 鶹ýAV first asked the question in 1958. But 50 years after that first poll, Americans elected Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States. View related content about how Barack Obama's Election Marks a Significant Shift in Americans' Attitudes Toward Black Candidates.

Line graph showing the increase in Americans' willingness to vote for a Black candidate from 1959 (37%) to 2019 (96%)

2020

Race Relations Reemerge With a Prevalence Not Seen Since the 1960s

Nationwide protests were held after a Black Minneapolis man named George Floyd was killed by a police officer. In an open-ended question, about one in five Americans (19%) named race relations or racism as the most important problem facing the U.S. -- the highest 鶹ýAV recorded for this measure since 1968.

Line graph showing the percentage of Americans naming race relations as greatest problem facing, peaking with of 19% in 1968, 15% in 1992 and 19% in 2020.
About Us

Our Mission

The Center on Black Voices is 鶹ýAV's research initiative devoted to studying and highlighting the experiences of more than 40 million Black Americans: tracking and reporting on progress on life outcomes and a life well-lived.

Read our chairman's blog about the initiative about how life is going for Black Americans.

Find rigorous tracking on Black Americans' experiences in six key areas where disparities have most negatively impacted life outcomes.

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to justice.

  • Inequities in the processes by which law is created, implemented and enforced
  • Racial disparities in representation of people and communities in federal, state and local government
  • Racial bias and procedural fairness in the criminal justice system and cultural representations of crime and punishment

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to health and wellbeing.

  • The disparity in access to basic health and wellbeing needs
  • The racial disparity in the quality of healthcare, including mental healthcare, maternal healthcare, preventative healthcare, and management of chronic disease
  • The progress of Black Americans' physical health and wellbeing on indicators such as food security, life expectancy/mortality and morbidity
  • Black Americans' wellbeing, life satisfaction and perceptions of opportunity for a life well-lived

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to economic opportunity.

  • Patterns of racial inequality in wealth and income, the fundamental causes of these gaps and how economic trends have exacerbated inequity throughout history
  • Systemic bias in economic institutions, including systems of taxation, banking, lending and the financial impacts on Black Americans' daily lives
  • Standards of living, intergenerational mobility in income, GDP per capita, consumer spending and other key economic indicators as a function of race
  • How interactions among technological change, globalization, skill-demand shifts in the labor market and other major macroeconomic forces affect racial divides in economic conditions
  • Black Americans' views of economic institutions and opportunity, potential for intergenerational mobility and resources for gaining financial literacy

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to education.

  • Black Americans' experiences with pre-K, K-12 and higher education institutions
  • Student engagement and perceptions of school climate
  • Access to quality early childhood education that sets the stage for leading productive lives
  • Racial disparities in access to quality schools and support for American students' academic achievement, retention and graduation, and college or career readiness
  • Access to quality educators, coursework curriculum and educational support systems
  • The variability in schools' support for behavioral, mental and physical health as well as the development of wellness and resilience

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to jobs and work.

  • Racial disparities in employment, including access to quality jobs and career paths, the development of job-relevant skills, and recruitment and selection practices
  • The employee experience as a function of race and race relations to elucidate differences in opportunities for development and advancement, the application of organizational policies and procedures, and the daily experience of workplace culture
  • Hidden systemic barriers that shape the experience of work and the workplace for Black Americans
  • Patterns of opportunity and challenges in self-employment, entrepreneurship, and business ownership

鶹ýAV will study the below concepts and metrics related to community and environment.

  • How variation in community resources create different opportunities for Americans to lead fulfilling lives
  • Racial inequities in housing and community planning, transportation, and safety
  • Creation and application of environmental protections and policies to reveal disproportionate impacts of climate change, natural disasters and land allocation
  • How environmental conditions are tied to systemic racial inequities including pollution of air and water, exposure to chemical hazards, and access to natural resources
.

Center Leadership

The 鶹ýAV Center on Black Voices leadership team shapes 鶹ýAV's research agenda about the Black American experience. Our leadership team is uniquely equipped to shed light on the trends most affecting Black lives and design research-based partnerships to advance their experiences. Learn more about these experts and what they bring to the Center on Black Voices.

Director

Associate Director

On-Demand Webinars

Webinar

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鶹ýAV Center On Black Voices Institute

Partner With 鶹ýAV to Elevate Black Voices

The 鶹ýAV Center on Black Voices brings together community leaders and researchers to stimulate innovative thinking, spur partnerships and develop locally relevant models to amplify Black voices.

Partnerships in Action

Beginning in 2022, 鶹ýAV partnered with the Detroit Regional Chamber to field a first-of-its-kind study exploring Detroiters' daily experiences and perceptions. The survey was designed to elevate issues central to Detroiters' quality of life, including their overall wellbeing and their ability to achieve equitable life outcomes. The insights from this research are now being used by public, private and philanthropic organizations across Detroit to better identify and close equity gaps.

Since 2020, 鶹ýAV has supported the Greater Washington Community Foundation in amplifying residents' voices throughout the D.C. metropolitan area. The survey is fielded at regular intervals to keep a finger on the pulse of the community and track how residents are experiencing key quality-of-life indicators related to economic opportunity, wellbeing, safety, influence in democracy, and general perceptions of livability in the region. The Greater Washington Community Foundation relies on the findings from this study to prioritize which local issues to address and to help evaluate the impact of the programs it funds.

Learn how your organization can participate in this important work by contacting gcbvpartnerships@gallup.com.

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