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DETROIT (AP) — For Cheryl Monroe and generations of other African-Americans, federal government jobs have long been a path to the middle class and a way to provide a comfortable life for their families.

Then the record-long government shutdown hit, making it hard for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration chemist from Detroit to pay her mortgage.”People say ‘save for a rainy day’ and you’re always saving, but when there is no check, that’s a hurricane not a rainy day,” Monroe said. The shutdown that ended Friday left an especially painful toll for African-Americans who make up nearly 20 percent of the federal workforce and historically have been on the low end of the government pay scale.