The history of Black Business Month can be traced back to the year 2004, when engineering entrepreneur Frederick E. Jordan partnered with the president and executive editor of the scholarly publishing company eAccess Corp,’ John William Templeton, to start this annual reflection and recognition event. The intention of the pair was to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses,” in order to highlight and empower Black business owners all over, especially given the unique challenges faced by minority business owners. This stemmed from Jordan’s own personal experience of the struggle to gain financial backing and funding when he began his own firm in San Francisco in 1969.
The history of African American businesses is largely an untold story in America history. The end of slavery left African Americans free for the first time to take full value of their skills, capital and investments for themselves. Business success in the Black community provided a key source of money and leadership for the Civil Rights movement in the twentieth century. One need only recall multi-millionaire businessman A. G. Gaston’s role in Birmingham.
At the Fourth Atlanta Conference in 1898, conference convener, Dr. William E.B. DuBois voiced strategies needed for the growth of Black businesses. 2 of these tenets are easily in our grasp, but are seemingly elusive in actual application, one being that Blacks would patronize Black business, even to their financial disadvantage (i.e. perhaps paying a little more), and two that Black churches, schools, and newspapers would promote Black business. Imagine where our communities might be today, if we had been executing these basics for the last120+ years!
Support your own during Black Business Month in August, practice can become a year round habit.
ASBCC member Birmingham-based Studio 2H Design LLC was selected by the City of mobile to lead the design and engineering work for the Africatown Welcome Center in Mobile. Once completed, the Africatown Welcome Center will serve as a central hub for the planned historical and cultural tourism site.