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Civil-rights laws of the 1960s aimed to stop racial discrimination, but they didn’t try to close the wealth gap that generations of such discrimination created.

Instead, the disparity grew.

In 1953, adjusted for inflation, the median net worth of white families was roughly $47,000 more than for Black families. In 2019, the difference had ballooned to $164,000. 

Less family wealth means more student-loan debt. More trouble when emergencies hit. More difficulties buying homes or starting businesses. And because inheritances play a significant role in the story of American wealth, the sharp differences by race keep compounding.

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