Graduation Year

Fall 2011

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Frederick Lynch

Reader 2

Gregory Hess

Rights Information

© 2011 Nicholas A. Wright


Since the start of the 20th century, the Black Middle Class (BMC) has been a creation of both direct and indirect government policy and action. More importantly, had it not been for government action directed towards blacks, the BMC that is visible today would not exist. During the time period of the great migration, blacks prospered from increased economic demand along with policy targeted both directly and indirectly at employing millions of blacks. During the 1960’s and 70’s, the BMC became a viable entity with civil rights laws that forced black men and women into higher education institutions as well as public and private employment. The policy implemented during this time sought to end discrimination by making it illegal and tightly monitoring it. As a result, the BMC saw accelerated growth in both educational attainment and wage. However, this immediate progress was brought to a standstill starting with a wave of conservatism sparked and led by the election of Ronald Reagan. Since that time, the BMC has made gains both educationally and economically, but the growth has been much less apparent. Also, many in the BMC have sought careers in the public sector due to discrimination that may exist because of a lack of governmental regulation and oversight in the private sector. There are many perils that face the BMC today, but most importantly the threat to massive reductions in the public sector federally and locally.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.