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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As we prepare for tomorrow's federal Juneteenth holiday, commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Americans in Texas, our economy remains marred by the legacy of slavery and subsequent discrimination.

The big picture: This is particularly evident in the enduring wealth gap between Black and white Americans, and in how Black Americans broadly participate in the U.S. economy.

Inside the numbers: The median annual wage for Black workers is 30% lower than it is for white workers, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute and its Institute for Black Economic Mobility. Were wages to be equal, Black Americans would have around $220 billion of additional income each year.

  • Shelley Stewart III, who leads McKinsey's Institute for Black Economic Mobility, tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast: "We looked at Black Americans as residents. We looked at Black Americans as workers to understand representation and wage gaps. We looked at Black Americans as business owners, as savers and investors, and finally as consumers."
  • In each case, there was a significant financial gap between Black and white Americans, built on decades of discrimination across generations, to the persistent detriment of Black economy stability, mobility and sustainability.

Responsibility: The report argues that both the public and private sectors have intersecting roles to play in closing the wealth gap and addressing other structural inequities.

  • It didn't address the issue of reparations, but Stewart did tell Axios Re:Cap: "Significant investment is needed into Black communities. And that's going to be investment through a combination of the public sector, as well as the private sector if we're going to really make a difference on wealth. I'll let others decide the exact form of that investment."

Go deeper

Public health mapping key to saving lives in disasters

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The increasing number of extreme weather incidents is spurring calls from emergency services workers and state and local officials for better public health mapping to identify and assist people at risk from environmental disasters.

Why it matters: People of color, especially Black Americans, have been disproportionately affected by environmental hazards and are more likely to die of environmental causes now and in the future.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.