Minimum wage laws were first intended to prevent poor African Americans from working. Minimum wage laws were favored by elite progressives that believed African Americans were destroying the Anglo-Saxan society. Most progressives refuse to admit this, but the history is crystal clear. The first federal minimum wage law, the Davis Bacon Act of 1931, was proposed specifically to target blacks. William Green, the president of the American Federation of Labor, testified in support of the bill saying, “colored labor is being brought in to demoralize wage rates.” Robert L. Bacon, who introduced the bill, argued in favor of his bill on racist grounds. He wanted to prevent African Americans from taking jobs from whites. Not only were most proponents of the minimum wage racist, but the minimum wage has had a racist outcome. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, two African American economist, have argued this masterfully. I will explain what Sowell said below, but I can’t do the video justice.
Black youth unemployment increased significantly throughout the 1960s and the the 1950s, while the middle class and the economy grew. During the recession year of 1949, black youth unemployment was lower than it was during the so called “golden age”. While the economy improved, increases in the minimum wage negatively effected the most vulnerable members of society. Employment for low skilled African Americans was decimated. The minimum wage, as intended, is one of the most racist laws in the United States of America.