Poll: Few Blacks Believe US Has Achieved Goals of Civil Rights Movement

A new poll shows that only 1 in 10 African-Americans thinks the United States has achieved all the goals of the civil rights movement, nearly 50 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Friday shows that a majority of African-Americans believe there has been little or no progress on a range of civil rights issues, including fair coverage by the media, political representation and equal economic opportunities. 

The poll found that African-Americans were most pessimistic about the criminal justice system, with three-quarters saying there has been little or no progress on fair treatment by police. 

It found only one area — voting rights — where majorities of African-Americans believe a lot of progress or some progress has been made for racial equality since the civil rights movement. 

Thirty percent of Americans — 35 percent of whites and just 8 percent of blacks — said all or most of the goals of the civil rights movement have been achieved, according to the poll. Most of the remainder said partial progress has been achieved.

The poll shows that whites are more likely than blacks to think there has been progress in every area asked about in the poll.

Seventy-nine percent of African-Americans said blacks continue to face disadvantages to getting ahead in the United States, while only 44 percent of whites said the same. 

The poll also broke down the respondents by political party and found that 54 percent of Republicans compared to just 14 percent of Democrats think most or all of the goals of the civil rights movement have been achieved.

King was shot and killed on April 4, 1968, while he was at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray, a segregationist, pleaded guilty of the killing and spent his life in prison before his death in 1998. 

The AP-NORC poll contacted 1,337 adults for the survey on February 15-19. 

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