Supporting black businesses has become a goal of many black folks, but could you only “buy black” for an entire year?
That was the aim of one Chicago family who set out to patronize only black businesses for a year. Maggie Anderson and her family chronicled their quest to “buy black” in the book Our Black Year, which encourages others to do the same.
Anderson explained why she chose to patronize only black businesses, “This came out of a conversation that happens among a lot of African-American middle class households. We remember a time when we didn’t have these problems because we had local businesses that kept our communities strong,” she told her local Fox New affiliate. “Those businesses are gone. We figured maybe if we did something extreme to bring that issue into the national dialogue, we can get folks to start supporting the few great businesses that we do have and maybe inspire economic empowerment.”
Because Anderson’s hometown of Chicago has the most black businesses in the country, more than 90,000, she thought the experiment would be easy. However, she quickly found out it was more difficult than she thought.
“What we found was when we went to the West Side, yes, there were some black businesses, but they are all concentrated in the stereotypical black industries: soul food restaurants, barber shops, braiding salons,” Anderson said. “We could not find those basic things that every community needs to survive: a grocery store, dry cleaner, department store, general merchandise, mom and pop shops.”
Anderson hopes her book will not only highlight the benefits to supporting businesses in our own communities, but also serve as a call to action for black consumers to support black-owned businesses.
Do you support black-owned businesses?