Interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton
QUESTION 7
JACKIE SHEARER:

What effect did the crazy economy of the 1970s have on Black economic progress?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON:

Ah, the, the great tragedy is that the extraordinary expanding American economy that has been available for virtually all White immigrants has not been available to Black people because by the time Blacks got the right to work where everybody else worked, the economy itself was stagnating because it operated within an international economy where we are not always competitive, so that in the '70s, when affirmative action is just beginning to be felt, we, we also have an economy that is not cooperating, so that, ah, while, while Blacks who in fact were able to get education, were able to have access to the networks that increase one's mobility have done very well, Blacks who were imprisoned by the economy because they had working class skills no longer had available to them the great manufacturing sector that indeed is responsible for the creation of a White working class. Ah, if, if indeed they had been able, they had access to that, to, to, to those same jobs, entry level jobs, jobs that require no skill, good paying union jobs or jobs that are competitive in scale, if they'd had, had, had access to them twenty years earlier, not to mention forty or fifty years earlier, than Black people would, I predict, have stood quite equal to White people by, ah, by 1980.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Excellent, cut, great. What do we have left?