Stock Groups

New guaranteed income experiments inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.


Privado Grooming Barbershop is located in Atlanta’s Vine City.

Getty Images| Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a legendary civil rights activist who grew up in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward.

In his honor, a new guarantee income scheme will soon be established in this neighborhood.

Over the next two-years, more than $13million in transfer funds will be provided to approximately 650 Black women living in this neighborhood as well as other rural and suburban areas in Georgia.

Its name — In Her Hands — was inspired by a King quote.

The 1967 speech “Where Do You Go From Here?” Atlanta speech King saidAccording to the author, “The individual’s dignity will thrive when his decisions regarding his life are made by him, when his income is secure and predictable, and when he knows that he can make a living for himself.”

Find out more from personal finance:
Childless black workers to benefit most from this expanded tax credit
Why former Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs is still fighting to end poverty
How one guaranteed income experiment is helping the homeless

In Her Hands was the product of a task team that included local leaders, including Pastor John Vaughn (executive pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church), where King served as copastor with his father, and where King’s funeral took place following his assassination on April 28, 1968.

Two years ago it wasn’t clear that guaranteed income was a recommendation of community leaders when the task force was created. Hope Wollensack is executive director at the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund (GRO Fund), which has joined forces with GiveDirectly in order to start the initiative.

Wollensack stated that monthly child tax credits payments and stimulus checks, as well as the payment of children for their income taxes, have changed how people talk about direct income. The recommendation of the task force regarding the possible benefits of such financial assistance was also clear.

Wollensack explained that it not only puts cash in the pockets of women but gives them greater freedom and control over their lives and the decisions they make.

Growing numbers are turning to guaranteed income programs that were inspired by King’s legacy.

More than 60 cities are part of Mayors for Guaranteed Income. This was created in 2020. Michael TubbsStockton’s then mayor, was the one who initiated the program.

To target motherhood, separate guaranteed income programs were also created. Magnolia Mother’s TrustJackson, Mississippi and, more recently, The Bridge ProjectNew York City

Magnolia Mother’s Trust provides support for low-income Black mothers. For 12 months, it provides $1,000 per month to Jackson women who live in federally sub-subsidized housing.

The results of the second cohort showed that mothers were able to pay their bills on-time 83% more than 27%, while those with emergency savings rose to 88% from 41% and they could pay food at 81%.

His wife Coretta, Marty, as well as his children Yoki and Marty, are waiting to greet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Chamblee, Georgia.

Bettmann – Getty Images| Bettmann | Getty Images

Georgia’s In Her Hands Program will provide income guaranteed to Black women, and allow them to study the impact of money on their lives.

The program will provide half of its 650 participants with a lump sum payment up to $4,300. After that $700 each month for the next 23 months. Half of the participants will be paid $850 each month over 24 months.

It will begin in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward and expand into other predominantly Black suburbs and rural areas.

In the second quarter, the first payment is scheduled.

GiveDirectly will handle the distribution of the money. They have delivered cash in many countries and programs in America. This non-profit is running in Kenya the largest experiment for universal basic income.

People will reduce their income volatility if they have regular payments that are predictable.

Sarah Moran

GiveDirectly’s U.S. Country Director

Sarah Moran from GiveDirectly, the U.S. Country Director, stated, “Our research confirms that large lump sums are used by people to build assets or decrease debt.”

Moran explained that recurring payments are guaranteed to help people reduce volatility in their income month by month.

Erica Brown (41), of Jackson has been receiving monthly payments through Magnolia Mother’s Trust from April. She said that the monthly income is a blessing. Her second job at the hospital as a security agent gave her more time to spend with her kids, 20 and 5. The extra money has allowed her to cover all of her expenses and built up savings that she expects to still have when the program is over.

In Her Hands will only be successful if it alleviates poverty in Georgia for Black women.

According to A.A., black women are twice as likely to be in poverty than white women. 2019 report from the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. According to research, Black women are more likely to have been part of the state’s workforce than women who were born into slavery and to sharecropping.

Wollensack stated that the stakes of In Her Hands’ program are very high. It aims to address legacy poverty and to live up to King’s legacy by fighting for justice.

Wollensack stated that he felt it in many ways like Dr. King was watching. Wollensack: “What are our choices? Who are we going with and how will we live up to the values we hold dear?”