Walmart and the African-American Community


Click here to download the PDF version.

Stunning Disparity between the Wealth of the Walton Family and the Struggles of the African-American Community

  • The Walton family, which owns Walmart, is the wealthiest family in America and is worth more than $150 billion.
  • The Economic Policy Institute found that the Waltons’ wealth is now equivalent to 79% of African-American families combined.
  • You would need to add the wealth of 11.9 million African-American families of average wealth to equal the wealth of the Waltons.

Walmart Keeps Our Communities in Poverty

  • Walmart is the largest employer of African Americans in the United States.
  • Nearly 20% of Walmart’s 1.3 million US workers are African American.
  • An independent report found that Walmart wages average just $8.81/hour.
  • At Walmart’s definition of full-time work, a worker would earn just 65% of the 2014 federal poverty rate for a family of four.
  • Nearly 40% of African-American part-time retail workers would like to work full-time if they could get the hours.[1] Hundreds of thousands of Walmart workers are part-time.

1236052_10152815507616067_7988193320431667176_nPeople of Color Underrepresented in Walmart Management

  • Minorities are disproportionately represented in low-paying positions.
  • People of color made up 39% of Walmart’s US workforce in 2014, meanwhile only 29% of management were people of color. [2]

Walmart is a Job Killer in Our Communities

  • Walmart store openings destroy almost three local jobs for every two they create by reducing retail employment by an average of 2.7 percent in every county they enter.[3]

The Walton Family Disproportionately Funds Politicians Who Vote Wrong on Civil Rights

  • The Walmart PAC and Waltons’ contributions from 2005 to 2012 show that, among candidates with Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights scores, the Walmart PAC and Waltons favored candidates who failed to protect civil rights.[4]
  • In fact, 85% of the Waltons’ contributions went to candidates with scores of 25 or below, out of 100.

candidatesThe Waltons & Walmart Supported Voter Suppression and ‘Stand Your Ground Laws’ through ALEC

  • The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is a controversial group infamous for promoting legislation that advances a conservative ideological agenda and benefits its members at the expense of everyone else.
  • Walmart was a longtime member of ALEC, while the Walton Family Foundation was also a Chairman level sponsor of ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.
  • ALEC helped propagate the notorious “Stand Your Ground” law linked to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012.
  • The law, which initially shielded Martin’s shooter from arrest in weeks following the killing, came out of an ALEC working committee co-chaired by a Walmart executive in 2005.[5]
  • Other legislation supported by ALEC and its members includes the recent round of voter suppression laws introduced in 27 states.
  • Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud, but such fraud almost never actually occurs, and never in amounts large enough to impact the result of elections.[6]
  • These laws have a disproportionate impact on the poor, the elderly and people of color.
  • In May 2012, amid intense public pressure, Walmart withdrew from ALEC.
  • There is still no evidence that the Walton Family Foundation has withdrawn from ALEC, despite the fact that civil rights leaders and others have called on them to do so.

Walmart & Race in 2014

  • In 2014, a number of incidents highlighted the connection between police violence and the economic violence of poverty that disproportionately impacts communities of color, especially African Americans.
  • In August of 2014, 22-year-old African-American father John Crawford was fatally shot by Ohio police for carrying an unloaded BB gun through a Walmart store (in an open carry state). Protests demanding justice for John Crawford ensued at both Walmart and the Xenia Courthouse, where a grand jury chose not to indict the officer responsible for Crawford’s death.
  • For a period of time after the shooting, Walmart refused to publicly release the surveillance tape of Crawford’s death, even after requests from Crawford’s family. Meanwhile, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine who claimed releasing the tape to the public would bias the jury, showed the tape to Ronald Ritchie – the man who called police on Crawford and a key witness for the prosecution.
  • In November of 2014, a grand jury’s decision to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked nationwide protests. Groups in Ferguson as well as allied groups in cities like Washington, D.C. (#DCFerguson) targeted Walmart among other retailers in a series of protests against racial inequality in America.
  • Groups across the country protesting racial inequality after the Ferguson non-indictment also boycotted major retailers, including Walmart, on Black Friday – one of the corporation’s major annual sales days – at the same time Walmart workers held the largest strike in Walmart history.
  • Montague Simmons, Ferguson organizer from St.Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) told AlJazeera, “Walmart became a specific target because of its tendency to pay very low wages and push back against workers that are actually trying to organize.”
  • In November of 2014, on a call announcing the largest fast food strikes in American history, Reverend William Barber III, African American leader in today’s civil rights movement, stated, “I want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that the fight for labor wages and the fight for civil rights are two movements headed in the same direction.”



[1] US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Table 17: Employed and unemployed full-and part-time wage and salary workers by intermediate industry, sex, race. Annual average 2011.

[2] Numbers taken from Walmart 2014 Global Responsibility Report

[3] Neumark, David, Junfu Zhang, and Stephen Ciccarella, January 2007. “The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets.” Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion Paper #2545, University of Bonn.

[4] Political contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.




  1. Bea
    November 13, 2013

    Perhaps the reason people of color are under represented in management is lack of work ethic, skills, or training in skills needed. Football teams under represent whites…is that discrimination or choosing players based on skills. You liberals are great at whining!

    • Gail Gardner
      November 19, 2013

      Wow. Do you honestly believe that people who drive trucks and move boxes around lack work ethic? That is much harder work than being a manager. And I believe I read that they get docked if they’re 30 seconds late, so you ca’t say they don’t know how to show up on time. Get a clue. Minorities and women are underrepresented in most corporations because they are owned and controlled by primarily older, white males who discriminate against non-white males.

    • Em
      December 17, 2013

      Hello, we’re in the 21st century, here… Get with the program dude

      • WAF94
        December 17, 2013

        Pretty sure all he’s trying to say is that it’s not racism, it’s that the best people are getting selected for the job regardless of race. That idea actually makes perfect sense because as he said Whites are “under-represented” in the NFL. That isn’t because they’re discriminated against, it’s because people of color have turned out to have the skills in demand and perform their job at the highest level. I’m pretty sure that Walmart exists to make profit, as does any other business. Profit is their ultimate motive, so why would they keep a black worker down in a low level job if he could provide the necessary skills to boost profits?

  2. miguel
    January 24, 2014

    this is bullcrap

  3. miguel
    February 4, 2014


  4. Pri08
    June 1, 2014

    Blacks are underrepresented in NFL as owners, managers, and coaches. But they are good enough to win games and generate profits for those with “strong work ethic” and are the “better choice” according to your logic. Because it’s obvious that the people who PLAY the game know less about managing the game if we are using your sense of justification for Walmart. Great Analogy.

  5. matt
    July 1, 2014

    So…. uh… Because the owners of the largest retailer in history are republicans, that makes every republican idea a bad thing? This writer of this article is disgustingly biased with his/her political agenda. Present the facts, nothing else. This site claims to want to help walmart employees and inform and help america. You simply cannot do that with a political bias. This site seems to be more and more vile and repulsive the deeper I read into it. Nothing that I have found yet is honest or unbiased, I will happily comment on an article I find well written and factual.


Leave a Reply