There was a time when we all belonged to a black organization, (1) to help one another, and (2) because they wouldn’t let us into their organizations. Now we can get into almost any organization because they are busy trying to integrate and want to show how fair they are. Or is there more of a benefit to them than it is to us?
On a personal level, I belong to an organization called NNPA (National Newspaper Publishers Association) also known as The Black Press. The first Black Newspaper in America was called Freedom’s Journal and it began publishing in 1927. Its initial purpose was to gain freedom from slavery and later to gain the rights granted to other American citizens. Black persons were initially limited to employment, primarily in four occupations: Seamen, common laborers, farmworkers, and servants.
They were concerned with education and places of worship, beginning with the incident at Philadelphia’s St Georges Methodist Episcopal Church on November 12, 1787, when the Black Parishioners were yanked from their knees as they prayed and told to go the black section of the church, upstairs. They ultimately walked out, and thus began the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Out of the church grew a newspaper to allow the blacks to plead their own cause.
Also, out of the newly created AME church grew black schools and colleges. For example, Morehouse College, a 61-acre campus, was founded in 1867, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Approximately 90 Black Colleges and Universities in mostly Southern States were founded; many in the basement of black churches. Edward Waters College was founded in 1866 in Florida by the AME Church one year after Emancipation Proclamation and is said to be the oldest black college.
The interdependence of black institutions, churches, newspapers, and colleges has been a model for black progress and remains so today. Black Professionals have served as role models for younger blacks and have always served as a source of business for their businesses.
Out of necessity, African Americans developed their own stores, churches, schools, and newspapers. They were Shoemakers, Machinists, Carpenters, Tailors, Distillers, Anchor Makers, Barbers, Janitors, Stablemates, Boot Blacks, Porters, Blacksmiths, Coachmen, Hod Carriers, Cooks, Maids, Launderers, and Nursemaids. They assembled professional sports teams and ball leagues, with all the fanfare, including concessions, and annual All-Star and World Series games.
This type of interdependence is a role model for today’s progress if we choose to support one another.
Supporting one another means survival and thriving for Black American businesses, churches, and organizations. Self-doubt has created a barrier to the progress we need and desire. Professional sports organizations have drained black stars away. However, the Black Church; Black Movie producers, such as Tyler Perry; Black talent Producers, such as Berry Gordy; and Black magazine publishers like John Johnson have demonstrated that success can be had even by Black Businesses, without doubt, if you stick with it.
Too often and too soon we give up on our black businesses before we are visited by success. We suggest that you stick with your dream and do business with other black-owned businesses. Bring back the Good ‘ol Days for us, which is nothing like Trump’s version of good old days. Ours will come by practicing the interdependence that helped to conquer slavery and provide generational wealth. We did it before with Black Wall Street and Allensworth. We can do it again! It’s the best feeling to be an independent Black American, doing business with Blacks – on purpose!