- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
Bread for the World denounces the recent killings of George Floyd and generations of Africans and their descendants in the U.S. and around the globe who have been devastated by structural racism and inequity.Read Statement
By Angelique Walker-Smith
Juneteenth, celebrated last month, is known as Independence Day for many people of African descent who are children of enslaved African peoples.
It commemorates the day when many formerly enslaved African peoples learned of their freedom as a result of President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Two years later, Congress adopted the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery.
The proclamation ended approximately 250 years of unpaid labor by African descendants in the United States.
This unpaid labor produced wealth for those who enslaved them. The National Humanities Center states: “unpaid labor was at the heart of slavery in America. Enslaved people usually worked from early in the morning until late at night. Women often returned to work shortly after giving birth, sometimes running from the fields during the day to feed their infants. On large plantations or farms, it was common for children to come under the care of one enslaved woman who was designated to feed and watch over them during the day while their parents worked. ”
July’s devotional in “Lament and Hope” is a reminder of how policies have not always benefited African Americans. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was a significant piece of the New Deal legislation that established a national minimum wage, maximum work, and prohibited most employment of children under 16.
According to Bread research, during that time period, 60 percent of African American women were working as domestic workers and 41 percent of African American men were still working as farmworkers. Others primarily worked as servers, shoe shiners, Pullman porters—considered tip-based professions.
Thus, most African Americans were not able to access the benefits of the Act of 1938, widening further the racial hunger, income, and wealth gaps.
Sadly, the labor and racial inequities persist today. As recently as 2018, the Economic Policy Institute reported that black unemployment was at least twice as high as white unemployment at the national level. The same report found that in 14 states and in the District of Columbia, African American unemployment rates exceeded white unemployment rates by a ratio of 2-to-1 or higher.
Advocacy matters today! The historic and stubborn structural vestiges of the enslavement period, colonialism, and many years of racial inequities contribute today to the lack of full work with benefits and living wages for all peoples of African descent nationally and globally.
May this Quad-Centennial year help us to renew our commitment to advocate for work with dignity with and for all people (James 5:1-6) so that all may be fed. You can help Bread for the World do this by e-mailing your comments about how this can be done to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World.
Sadly, the labor and racial inequities persist today.
These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C.
With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.
The Bible on...
Dear Members of Congress,
As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to respond to changes in need, making it well suited to respond to crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bread for the World and its partners are asking Congress to provide $200 million for global nutrition in the fiscal year 2020 budget.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.