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Poll: More Whites Than African Americans Believe Racial Progress Made

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The civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters on Aug. 28, 1963 on the Mall in Washington D.C. (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters on Aug. 28, 1963 on the Mall in Washington D.C. (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – More whites than African Americans believe racial progress has been made over the past 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington.

Americans were asked in a Pew Research study how much progress toward King’s dream of racial equality do you think the country has made in 50 years.  Forty-eight percent of Whites answered “a lot” while only 32 percent of blacks agreed.

In questioning how much more needs to be done to achieve racial equality nearly 80 percent of blacks answered “a lot” while only 44 percent of Whites and 48 percent of Hispanics agreed.

Fewer than 45 percent of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial equality, but 49 percent “a lot more” needs to be done still.

Blacks remain far behind whites when it comes to household income and net worth.  However, large majorities of blacks and whites say the two races generally get along “very well” or “pretty well.”

In terms of discrimination, the survey found that blacks are more likely than other race groups to say they have been discriminated against in the past year.  It also found that more blacks are treated less fairly than whites in dealing with police, in the courts, in local public schools or on the job.

Down from 39 percent in 2009, only 1 in 4 African-Americans say the situation of black people is better now than five years ago.  That same feeling also decreased among Whites from 49 percent to 35 percent.

The Pew survey includes interviews with 2,231 adults by phone from Aug. 1-11, 2013.  They contacted 1,471 non-Hispanic whites, 376 non-Hispanic blacks and 218 Hispanics.

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