The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America

Presented By
Shawn Rochester, Gwen Grant

Add up the economic costs of anti-Black bias in the U.S. over nearly 250 years – owed to slavery and the deprivations of Jim Crow and discrimination that persists today – and the numbers are staggering. Author and personal finance consultant Shawn Rochester puts the total at $70 trillion, factoring in the loss of more than 6 million jobs and 1.4 million businesses.

These losses are the foundation of a racial wealth gap that continues to plague our society. For every dollar held by the median white household, the median Black household has just 10 cents, according to Princeton University’s Program for Research on Inequality.

In a discussion of his book The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America, Rochester assesses this massive financial burden and how our country can best address it. He is joined in the conversation by Gwen Grant, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.

Rochester is the CEO of Good Steward LLC, a financial advisory and education company based in Southbury, Connecticut, that uses workshops, coaching, and online courses to help people – primarily African Americans – manage their finances. He also founded PHD Enterprises (for Purchase, Hire, and Deposit) and the Institute of Intra Diaspora Economic Advancement (IDEA).

A former corporate development and global strategy executive, Rochester was named by the Relief Fund Trust of the International Human Rights Commission as one of 2019’s top 100 human rights defenders, joining Michelle Obama and Swedish teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg, among others.


The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America

Date & Location
Truman Forum Auditorium