… is from page 269 of Richard Vedder’s and Lowell Gallaway’s vital 1993 volume, Out of Work:
There is strong evidence, however, that dramatic racial differences in unemployment did not exist sixty to one hundred years ago. In the era from 1890 to 1930, the nonwhite unemployment rate seemed to be not materially different from the white rate. In a period in which Jim Crow law were adopted, when the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings were well established, and when few black Americans could even vote, the relative employment opportunities of racial minorities, by one common measure, were greater than they are today.
For more on the economic burdens and opportunities of American blacks in the Jim Crow era, see Bob Higgs’s important 1976 book, Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865-1914.