Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Corbis, Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.

By the numbers: Around $50 trillion of economic resources and labor has not been paid to Black people since slavery, Rochester told Axios. Advocates say this legacy of slavery must be addressed to tackle systemic racism.

  • By the end of 2020, the homeownership rate for Black families stood around 44%, compared with 75% for white families, U.S. Census numbers showed.
  • A Washington Post analysis found that a typical middle-class black household had $13,024 in wealth, compared to $149,703 for the median white household in 2016 — a larger percentage gap than in 1968.
  • Black households had $8,762 in cash or equivalent liquid assets, compared with $49,529 for white households in 2016, an Economic Policy Institute analysis of government data found.
Protesters gather in Washington, D.C., to support Black Lives Matter and to Juneteenth in 2020. Photo: Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

Context: In the 1800s, the U.S. became an economic power because of the use of enslaved labor in the growing cotton industry.

  • Enslaved Black people built the Capitol building, the White House, roads and infrastructure, and various universities across the country with little to no compensation.
  • The selling of enslaved people also financed universities like Georgetown.
  • By 1860, the value of the enslaved people was “roughly three times greater than the total amount invested in banks,” and it was “equal to about seven times the total value of all currency in circulation in the country," Steven Deyle wrote in Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life.

Right before emancipation, Black Americans — free and enslaved — owned only one-half of 1% of the national wealth.

  • In the decades after slavery, Black Americans were often banned from buying property, limited in pursuing legal claims, prevented from voting, and banished to segregated schools.
  • Successful Black businesses thrived in enclaves like Tulsa, Okla., and East St. Louis, Ill., only to be destroyed by white mobs. Those business owners that had insured their enterprises were unable to collect on their premiums.

Driving the news: The death of George Floyd last year forced a national reckoning on social justice, and this year more Juneteenth events are coinciding with forums on how the nation financially benefited from enslaved Black lives, and how the labor of all people of color came to valued less than their white counterparts.

  • The Movement for Black Lives is using Juneteenth celebrations to discuss reparations as a means to build wealth and address racial disparities in education, housing, and business ownership.
  • Georgetown Law School's Institute of International Economic Law and the Black Economic Alliance hosted members of Congress this week at a Juneteenth forum on including Black Americans in the digital economy.
  • And the McKinsey Global Institute and the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility this week released a report that detailed Black economic participation in the U.S. economy and disparities that remain after generations of exclusion.

The intrigue: A focus on the economic effects of slavery and segregation comes as Republican-controlled legislatures are passing bills that prohibit schools from studying systemic racism as part of the U.S. legal framework, an area known as critical race theory.

Don't forget: For years, Juneteenth has been celebrated in Houston and Galveston, Texas, to commemorate General Order No. 3, issued by U.S. Major General Gordon Granger a month after the formal end of the Civil War.

  • Galveston one of the last places in the U.S. where enslaved people learned of their emancipation.

Go deeper

Poll: Women of color highly motivated to vote

Voting rights activists, led by Congressional Black Caucus chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), protest recent passage of voter restriction laws at Hart Senate Office Building on July 15, 2021. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Women of color turned out to vote at record rates in the 2020 election, with almost nine in 10 agreeing that the stakes were too high not to vote, according to a new poll.

Why it matters: The findings in the poll, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of a group of reproductive justice organizations, appear to confirm the highly-motivated voting bloc's emerging power.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

April Ross and Alix Klineman of Team USA celebrate after the play against Team Cuba during the Women's Round of 16 beach volleyball on day ten of the Tokyo Games. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Alix Klineman and April Ross are guaranteed to earn at least an Olympic silver medal after defeating Switzerland 2-0 in the Tokyo Games on Thursday morning local time.

Of note: It's the latest chapter in an enduring partnership, driven by past failures and bound by future aspirations.

4 hours ago - Health

World surpasses 200 million COVID cases

A woman in Gurugram, India get a COVID-19 vaccine dose. Photo: Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The number of COVID-19 infections worldwide topped 200 million on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Why it matters: The milestone highlights the effect of the highly contagious Delta variant. It took about a year for the world to reach 100 million cases, and only six months to double that, the New York Times reported.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!