Black People…Direct Your Dollar!
Is it really possible for African Americans to economically empower themselves and their communities without outside intervention? Read On…
In the early 19th century, there was a town in Tulsa Oklahoma referred to as Black Wall Street where reportedly the Black dollar recycled 36 to 1000 times, sometimes taking a year for the currency to leave the community. This obviously was a wealthy town that became rich simply by patronizing Black Owned Businesses & businesses (of any ethnicity) that invested in their community.
"Black Wall Street" was the name given to Greenwood Avenue of North Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 1900’s. Because of strict segregation, African Americans had to develop a completely separate business district and community, which soon became prosperous and legendary. Black dollars invested in the Black community also produced self-pride, self-sufficiency, and self-determination. By 1921, Tulsa’s African-American population of 11,000 had its own bus line, two high schools, one hospital, two newspapers, two theaters, three drug stores, four hotels, a public library, and thirteen churches. In addition, there were over 150 two and three story brick commercial buildings that housed clothing and grocery stores, cafes, rooming houses, nightclubs, and a large number of professional offices including doctors, lawyers, and dentists.
Early African American business leaders in Tulsa patterned the development of Tulsa’s thriving Greenwood district after the successful African American entrepreneurial activity in Durham, North Carolina. By 1900, a large Black middle class had developed in Durham which began businesses that soon grew into phenomenally successful corporations, especially North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Charles Clinton Spaulding was so successful with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company that he was able to create a real estate company, a textile and hosiery mill, and the "Durham Negro Observer" newspaper. Durham Blacks also created a hospital, Mechanics and Farmers Bank (1908 – go to www.MFBOnline.com), North Carolina Training College (1910), Banker’s Fire Insurance Company (1920), and the National Negro Finance Company (1922).
These accomplishments were made by our ancestors almost 100 years ago!
At a time when most Blacks didn’t even earn that much money. We can learn from their example. Economic empowerment starts with individual Black communities producing businesses and then simply recycling their money within those businesses and their own community. We have it within our ability to usher in the next economic boom within the African American community in the state of California.
Sounds too simple? Need a modern example? Very well…
How China Conquered The World!
Kudos to China! Do you realize that China has a “colony” (called China Town) on virtually every continent around the world? Even in African countries! Understand their accomplishment, they travel to a new continent, to a new country where many of the Chinese usually can’t even speak the indigenous language. And many times may not receive the warmest reception from the indigenous people. So you have to ask, how do they survive and even go on to thrive in most places that they choose to live? Well the answer is very simple. They start with building their own businesses (banks, insurance agents, Doctors, Dentists, lawyers, accountants, politicians, auto mechanics, newspapers, restaurants, etc). They know that by doing this their businesses will provide the jobs that their people need to earn a living. Next, they’re taught from a young age to patronize primarily Chinese businesses, with few exceptions. This keeps their money recycling within “China Town”. After they have a strong financial base, they then focus on selling their goods and services to customers of other ethnicities drawing even more money into their own community.
What’s interesting is that many suppliers and vendors, of other ethnicities, report that the business is not reciprocated. Instead, the Chinese businesses ensure that virtually ALL of their vendors are also Chinese. Finally, when the Chinese businesses import goods, they import them mostly from China! So the dollar that starts in your hand and is spent in their business oftentimes ultimately ends up in China (which until recently was viewed as a major threat to the United States)! It also has to be mentioned that the Chinese place a premium on education and this includes educating children from a young age to be entrepreneurs. By the time they are adults, many have already learned how to successfully operate and grow a business.
What Can We Learn From Their Example?
First of all, you should know the U.S. Census Bureau determined that Black consumer’s national buying power was well over $679 Billion dollars in 2005 and is estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2010. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Black Consumer market is the second largest in the nation with income in excess of $20 billion annually. Here’s a little trivia for you. If Black Consumer buying power were it’s own country, it would rank 9th in the world ahead of India, South Korea, Australia, Mexico and Brazil!
This will shock you! Regarding Black owned businesses, there are more than 1.2 million total in the US, with receipts over $100 billion. Of all states, California has the 2nd largest number of Black owned firms with 120,815 and with receipts of almost $10 billion. Black owned firms hire minority employees in much higher proportions than other companies do. Also, of all ethnicity businesses, Black owned businesses, numerically, have been growing the fastest of all.
So we already have more than enough money to economically empower ourselves. We just need a few more things:
1) More WELL RUN Black Owned businesses (if you don’t know how, then either meet with a business consultant or mentor, take classes or at least read a book on how to successfully operate and grow a business BEFORE you start one)
2) Educate our children (and each other) to direct our dollars EXCLUSIVELY through Black owned businesses and businesses (of any ethnicity) that invest in our community and
3) STOP spending your money with businesses that NEVER GIVE yet ONLY TAKE from our community. When you give these businesses your money, you give away your and your children’s legacy and you actually help these selfish businesses build their own legacy. They get richer while you get poorer. It’s time to flip the script.
The solution that we propose is simple. Take up the “Just 7” challenge. Here’s how it works, we’re challenging every member of the African American community this year, to switch over “Just 7” of the businesses that You routinely patronize to businesses found in the BlackYellowPagesOnline.com. (Go to our business directory by clicking here)
This means switch over your insurance agent, attorney, accountant or tax preparer, mechanic, doctor, dentist, beauty supplier, personal trainer even your bank. Switch them over to the businesses found in the BYP. If you are really high speed, after those 7, switch over another 7. Otherwise “Just 7” this year is fine. Next year, we’ll all do another 7. Do it for You, your children and our community. Together we achieve more. Thank You and God Bless.