Black entrepreneurs in America: stories of struggle and by Michael Woodard

By Michael Woodard

"This concise research of contemporary traits in black entrepreneurship (is) greater than only a company publication, this is often an affecting, inspiring ebook for any nascent entrepreneur".

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A SNAPSHOT OF BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES Joseph Pierce (1947) conducted the first major empirical study of urban black-owned businesses during segregation. Pierce surveyed twelve cities across the country, eight in the South, two in the East, and two in the Midwest, to find and document black-owned businesses. Of the 3,866 black-owned businesses he identified and observed, 70 percent clustered into six industry categories: beauty and barber shops, 1,004; eating establishments, 624; groceries, 491; cleaning and pressing shops, 288; shoe shine and shoe repair shops, 130; and funeral parlors, 126.

Despite disenfranchisement and segregation, Booker T. Washington saw the possibility of African American economic stability through business development. In 1900, Washington spearheaded the development of the National Negro Business League as a way to encourage enterprise. During the first meeting of the league, the delegates concluded that "when an individual produces what the world wants, whether it is a product of the hand, heart, or head, the world does not long stop to inquire what is the color of the skin of the producer.

La Chandra Wilkerson and Robin Beers provided competent administrative support to the project. I wrote the first draft of this manuscript while in residence at the Center for Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I wish to thank Charles Long, Ina Huggins, and Marty Adams for providing office space and a congenial environment in which to write. I also made many wonderful friends at Friday-night tennis in Santa Barbara. They insisted that I maintain balance between writing and enjoying life, especially during difficult periods.

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