Black Professor Says Welfare, Not Slavery, Decimated US Black Families


“The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has,” said George Mason Professor Walter Williams in a column he wrote for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Professor Williams

There is little evidence to support the idea that slavery, racial discrimination, and poverty caused the problems of today’s black Americans, the economics professor wrote.

The number one problem is the weak family structure:

In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.

Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year, 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. That can’t be a legacy of slavery, it can’t be some delayed reaction.

As Professor Williams said, the bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

All blacks were poor originally but now 30 percent are poor. Two-parent black families are rarely poor.

Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent.

It’s the welfare state that decimated the black family, he concludes.



  1. Yes, Dr. Williams is partially correct, but like many economists looking for a paycheck, he is not all that interested in evaluating cause/effect going back to the dawn of time. Correct: slavery, et al, is not truly the cause of 85% of American blacks being pathetic losers today. But neither is welfare! The root cause (the cause that is most crucial NOT to repeat) is the importation and integration of savage cultures USA in the first place. Had we not done that, the USA would be flourishing. So Dr. Williams missed the larger issue (like he does with his superficial dismissal of tariff tax systems): importation of savages is BAD. Enslaving them…freeing them…mitigating their drain on resources? Those are all just predicates to this primary error. Birds of a feather, Dr. Williams. It’s really not that hard to figure out!

    • So right, just look at all the Corporate Welfare going on today! Handouts to HUGE companies all over the place! It’s been going on for years, from left and right. The Republi-cons being the most happy to hand over HUGE bailouts to their Favorite companies and top 1%ers.

  2. Professor Williams is correct. The worst possible thing the racist Democrat President Lyndon Johnson ever did was to start the “War on Poverty” back in 1965. Ever since then it’s been all downhill for the black man and woman.

    • did you not see/hear Johnson’s comment about the “war on poverty”?..he said, now I will have those ni**ers voting democrat for the next 200 years. look it up

  3. Walter Williams is a smart honest man and I have followed him for quite a while. But imagine that a black man blames welfare and not slavery. If he hasn’t already been labeled a Uncle Tom, I’m sure he soon will be. This free stuff attitude is nothing more then a tactic to keep a permanent underclass. They are starting to do this with the illegal immigrants.

    • Hey everyone imagine this . I know this sounds crazy but why do we not all blame ourselves in this day and time for our not so desirable position in society . Blaming welfare when correct me if I’m wrong ! I am pretty sure that no one has ever been forced to receive it … Just saying

  4. Is not a Corporate Subsidy not the same? Not being able to get the job you were qualified for,not having access to benefits you were qualified for. And the systemic racism of the American homeland, as late as the 60’s.The recent movie ‘Hidden Figures’ underline that fact when on a Government Compound her workplace, Miss Johnson had to go a half mile to the Colored Womans restroom,rather than in her work building.

  5. But why was the welfare state so bad for families? I have read that under Johnson’s program black families without a husband in the home were given assistance, because it was the thought that the husband would be able to work and support the family. The only thing not addressed was that in 1960’s it was still very difficult for an uneducated black man to get any kind of decent job. So, they did what seemed logical. The men moved out, the women collected the government funds. This left all these young black men with no work, no financial responsibility to a family, but plenty of time on their hands to get into trouble. Didn’t work out like it was intended to , for sure.

    • Thank you for this! So on point! There are many accounts (both written & oral documentaries & journals) of families being screened by welfare agents for housing/welfare opportunities and being told the husband could not transition with his family. Believing these new government programs would benefit his wife & children the family collectively decided to live separately. The rest is a tragic history.

  6. I helped transcribe the 1940 census, chose the Southern states, as I am a Southerner. I instantly noticed that the huge majority of black families in 1940, were comprised of a man, a woman, and children, and the occasional in-law or sibling, or parent. The men were working, as were all of the men and young males in the household, and many of the women, even though they were domestic servants. BUT, the huge majority were a family unit. What happened?

  7. I appreciate the article and find it interesting. It would be interesting to compare those statistics to other demographics—-not just black but white, Hispanic, Asian, etc as well.

  8. I have been saying this for years. Johnson’s “Great Society” never reached its intended purpose to ultimately bring blacks out of sometime unfathomable poverty. By creating a welfare state, both blacks and other poor come under the control of the party leading to a different type of slavery, that of vote control. The welfare programs, not linked to any input requirements on the part of recipients, still left that population in poverty and took much away, including the satisfaction and pride one gets from providing for one’s self and family. Skills learned through hard work have been lost by the wayside as well. If we want to help pull people out of a well of poverty, we need to give them a hand up, not throw a little money down the hole on top of them. Any welfare recipient who is able to work, should be required to perform some type of community service in return for the funds they receive, whether it’s painting a school, cleaning government offices, or assisting with a senior center. I am for assisting people who try to help themselves and those who are physically or mentally unable to help themselves, but I am not for continuing the financial slavery as it now exists. We can do better and should.

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