February 1, 2017
African American Elders are Black History and Black Future
By: Jenna McDavid

At the Diverse Elders Coalition, we strive to lift up the stories and experiences of the communities we serve not just during their designated History or Heritage Months, but all year long. That said, Black History Month is a time when the stories of our Black elders are at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, and we are thrilled to highlight the needs, the challenges, and the resiliencies of those communities.

Many of today’s Black elders risked their lives and courageously led the movement to fight racial inequality and bestow upon us the many freedoms we enjoy today. The 1950s and 1960s were turbulent moments in U.S. history—a time when racial segregation and discrimination were at the epicenter of our contemporary civil rights movement. Black communities have also urged in recent years a focus on Black Future as much as we focus on Black History, as many of the battles waged during the civil rights movement are still being fought today: discrimination, education, housing, police brutality, voting rights. The list goes on and may get longer as changes in the political climate settle over our nation.


Black elders have some specific and unique concerns. While African American older adults make up 9% of the elder population, they represent 21% of the elder population living below the federal poverty level. According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), the poverty rate for black elders living in the U.S. is more than twice the rate of all elders.

Throughout the month of February, we’ll be highlighting the stories and experiences of older adults in our Black and African American communities. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with what our brilliant contributors are writing and sharing.

And if you’ll be in Washington, DC on February 23rd, join us to hear directly from Black older adults about their health and aging needs. The Diverse Elders Coalition recently collected nearly 5,000 comments from our constituents about what policymakers should focus on in the coming years, and we’ll be releasing those findings during a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill. For more information or to RSVP, visit http://bit.ly/decagingevent. The report will also be published on our Resources page later this month.

For some of our previous writings on Black History, check out these Diverse Elders Coalition blog posts:



The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.