By 1940 the literacy figure for all states stood at 96 percent for whites. Eighty percent for blacks. Notice for all the disadvantages blacks labored under, four of five were still literate. Six decades later, at the end of the 20th century, the National Adult Literacy Survey and the National Assessment of Educational Progress say 40 percent of blacks and 17 percent of whites can't read at all. Put another way, black illiteracy doubled, white illiteracy quadrupled, despite the fact that we spend three or four times as much real money on schooling as we did 60 years ago. - Vin Suprynowicz