There is a misconception out in the world for some that when they see expressions like…
“We Buy Black”
“Support Black Business”
“Support Minority-Owned Businesses”
some people think that this automatically means…
DON’T SUPPORT OTHER TYPES OF BUSINESSES!!!
Pull up a chair, get comfy and let’s chat for a minute, because Ima help somebody with this one today. We need to get a few things straight. I’m going to start with a question…and I want you to take your time and really think about it and tell me the first answer that pops into your mind.
You ready…here’s the scene:
You are told that there was only one place in town that you are allowed to buy groceries for the rest of your life, and the prices are not fair and there is no haggling allowed and if you don’t smile and show your appreciation to the store owner to their satisfaction they have the ability to cut you off or worse, end your life if they choose.
How would you respond to this scenario?
I am willing to bet that 95% of you would say something in the neighborhood of, “Go to Hell”. Am I right?
What I’ve just described is one of the barbaric practices that was a very real life circumstance for many African American families (and others) who did not have strong ties to landed wealth in our nation’s history. And there have been periods in the history of these United States of America when African Americans were refused service outright at white-owned establishments or forced to endure indignities that were cruel and unusual whilst still paying for the goods.
However, seeing as necessity is the mother of invention, the need of things did inspire some communities of “colored folks” to create products and services that could be exchanged within the closed communities of color throughout the United States.
One such community that gained national recognition in recent years is Greenwood or Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Greenwood and the Tulsa Race Riots
But Greenwood wasn’t the only community where black-owned businesses thrived in-spite of persistent inequities.
And yet, much of this history was hidden from us all, black, white and otherwise.
Why was this history not made accessible to us in our history classes?
Why is it that when we learn about people like Ted Turner we don’t in the same breath hear about Cathy Hughes and John H. Johnson?
Why is it that we learn about The Holocaust but not The Red Summer of 1919?
To be clear, I’m not saying it should be either or, but the complete absence of some histories has created a vacuum of knowledge and dare I say empathy for why in 2021 anyone would have trouble understanding why, supporting black-owned businesses is far more than a fad for many of us.
Historically, the business successes of African Americans have not been celebrated or attributed in this country. They have in fact been snuffed out, beaten, bruised, slaughtered, buried and erased or co-opted for use by others.
And despite all of that, we keep on building.
One of my contributions to this year’s extraordinary celebration of black excellence will be the sharing of some of my favorite stories of black entrepreneurs doing their thang in the past and present. Cause what folks need to understand is that we not even about to stop building better and great.
I’ll be back next week with some more black business excellence stories so come on back and get you some.
Marta C. Youngblood is the founder and creative engine behind TheWRITEaddiction creatives co-op founded in 2014 as a virtual community supporting writers from all over the United States of America. Marta’s passion drives her to support the success of creatives from all walks of life to honor their talent and share it with the world. She believes that working in our creative callings does not have to be synonymous with being a “starving artist” and helps creatives master the business skills and strategies they need to work in their gifts.