August is National Black Business Month! According to the United States Census Bureau in a Report released January 28, 2021, the 2019 Annual Business Survey covering reference year 2018, approximately 18.3 percent (1.0 million) of all U.S. businesses were minority owned and about 19.9 percent (1.1 million) of all businesses were owned by women). Additional statistics released indicate Black or African Americans owned approximately 124,551 businesses with about 28.5 percent of these businesses in the Health Care and Social Assistance sector, the highest percentage of any minority group.(1)
The origination of National Black Business Month is attributed to businessman, John William Templeton, and engineer Frederick E. Jordan, Sr., in August 2004. According to Black Enterprise, Jordan felt compelled to highlight and uplift Black business owners like himself after reflecting on the challenges he faced as a new business owner. (2) Together Templeton and Jordan teamed up to have August recognized as National Black Business Month.
This month, this column will highlight some of the many Black businesses in our city. While space will only allow for a few businesses to be spotlighted, it does not diminish the value and importance of other Black businesses thriving in Milwaukee. We salute all Black businesses and encourage you to support Black businesses year-round.
Many of the Black businesses selected this month are listed on the website of the Milwaukee’s Black Business Directory located at of www.mkeblack.org that offers valuable resource to Black businesses in our area.
Before we dive into local businesses, if you are traveling and you want to support Black-Owned Businesses, The ABC Travel Greenbook (3) is the #1 resource for African American travelers to connect with African Diaspora globally. This book is inspired by Harlem’s Victor Hugo Green’s legendary “The Green Book.” Green’s Book was popular at a time when Black travelers’ choices for lodging, eating and even patronizing gas stations were restricted in many places, including outside the South. During the time of Jim Crow laws and racial segregation in the U.S. many Blacks looked to “The Green Book” to find places where the Black traveler would be welcomed. (4)
In the newly released, ABC Travel Greenbook, it was created to honor our roots and celebrate Black-owned businesses on 6 out of 7 continents. If you want to get your hair cut or gab a festival, tour or a great-tasting meal, the ABC Travel Greenbook got you!
Beloved, supporting Black-owned businesses does several things: (1) it closes the racial wealth gap; (2) strengthens local economies; (3) fosters job creation; (4) celebrates Black culture and serves the community; (5) holds other companies accountable; and (6) visibility and representation in the Green Economy.5 This month I will bring attention to Black-owned businesses, because as we have outlined above, support of Black-owned business – MATTERS!
1 U.S. Census Bureau, “Annual Business Survey Release Provides Data on Minority-Owned, Veteran- Owned and Women-Owned Business”, Jan. 28, 2021.
2 Roberson, Jason Evers, Black Enterprise, “Celebrating Black Business”, June 15, 2010. Online at: https://www.blackenterprise.com/celebrating-black-business/.
3 Lewis, Martinique, “ABC Travel Greenbook: Connecting the African Diaspora Globally”, available on Kindle and paperback, August 2020.
4 Harlem World Magazine, “Harlem’s Victor Hugo Green’s The Green Book”, Aug. 11, 2020. Online at: https://www.harlemworldmagazine.com/harlems-victor-hugo-greens-the-greenbook/.
5 Meade, Mary and Reid, Sytonia for Green America, “6 Reasons to Support Black-Owned Businesses.” Online at: https://greenamerica.org.
Next Week: Continuation
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