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Black Underclass in America (1989)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1989-04-02

Duration: 00:22:22

Subjects: African Americans | Poverty | Economy | Employment


  • Masingale, Sonya Host
  • Glasgow, Douglas Interviewee
  • Patton, Alton Interviewee
  • Perry, Huey Interviewee


This segment from the April 2, 1989, episode of the series “Folks” features Sonya Masingale’s report on the black underclass in America, a new term used to describe the inner city urban poor. It includes highlights of a speech given by Douglas Glasgow, the former vice president of the Urban League, at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Masingale also interviews Glasgow, who discusses: his view of the black underclass as a structural phenomenon; the impact of the changing economy and the shift from unskilled to skilled jobs on African Americans; and the need to invest in job training. Masingale also conducts an in-studio interview with Alton Patton, a business owner and vice president of the Economic Freedom Association in Baton Rouge, and Dr. Huey Perry, a political science professor at Southern University. They discuss: the role black politicians play in helping to alleviate poverty in the black community; the wage gap between white and black workers in New Orleans; the need for education on personal finance; the need for the black community to support black businesses; and the future of the inner city urban poor.