Prosperity Of Black Communities

Topics: Gentrification

As children growing up, we were never taught about thriving black communities, but black people have had thriving communities since the 1830s. One of the first thriving communities was in Weeksville, New York. Known as the “The Town of Refuge”, Weeksville was established by a free black man named James Weeks in 1838. Weeks purchased a large amount of land from another free black man named Henry C. Thompson and expanded. The town became the second-largest community for free blacks prior to the Civil War.

Weeksville was known for employing Black professionals, allowing blacks to home in on their skills and build a large clientele. They had established schools, churches, homes for the elderly, and an orphanage in the town. The town even had its own newspaper, which was one of the nation’s first black-owned newspapers.

By 1900, Weeksville has over 500 families that were made up of doctors, teachers, preachers, lawyers, and other professions. Despite all of Weeksville’s growing success, the community became consumed by the even more rapid growth of what is modern-day (Black) Brooklynn, New York.

. Many might ask, “How did a city that was so successful not still stand today?” Well, the answer is simple: Urban renewal upon the arrival of European immigrants, also known as “gentrification.” Gentrification is the process of changing the attributes of a neighborhood through the incursion of more wealthy residents and businesses. Gentrification is a common-controversial topic in politics and urban planning, because it normally causes a shift in a neighborhood’s racial/ethnic diversity, causing minority (African Americans) communities to suffer economically.

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Our group has decided that the best way for African Americans to reach full economic potential is by supporting black-owned businesses. Supporting black-owned businesses helps to close the racial wealth gap and strengthens the community by creating jobs. In today’s society, the median wealth for white families is nearly twelve times that of Black families averaging around $140,000. 1in every 4 black households have a net worth of 0 and in some cases a negative net worth. When small businesses flourish, so do their communities. Since black people are spending more than other races, it would be beneficial if it more of that money were spent within the black community at black-owned businesses, thus generating more wealth within the community. Supporting Black-owned businesses supports the entire community. Most African American business owners fund their own businesses due to the lack of capital; making them sole proprietorships meaning that the businesses don’t make enough money to pay wages and hire employees. Despite this fact surprisingly, Black-owned small businesses are more likely to hire people from their local community, thus fostering job opportunities to achieve financial stability in the community.

While support black business does help empower economic improvement, it does not resolve the problem all on its own. It does, however, help strengthen the black community to reach full economic empowerment once again. An alternative to help improves the black economy is by not acquiring more debt. One of the most empowering things in life is financial freedom. Debt is a leading cause of low productivity in the black community. Individuals make poor, uninformed financial decisions to compensate for shortcomings. This has become an unfortunate cycle, and is the main reason why the black community lacks economic empowerment. Once we stop relying on material goods to express worth and importance, we can begin to maximize on economic capital and empower one another. Paying off current debt, cutting down on credit card use, stop staying away from taking out new loans is primary ways to free oneself from occurring debt, or at least not too much debt you can’t recover from. Once you are free from debt, you can start empowering the community around you, because before you can empower a community, you must begin empowering yourself. It all starts with one person wanting to change.

One benefit of promoting Black-owned businesses is that it helps them gain federal and local government support. According to the Small Business Act, “23 percent of federal government contracts are required to be rewarded for small enterprises. Five percent of that budget is given to black and minority-based businesses.” So, if you help promote black-owned businesses, in turn, they can become certified minority-owned businesses. That can help get more businesses to get off the ground quicker. Promoting Black-owned businesses also boost support from the Black and minority community. By showing support, you become a model for other supporters to follow; inspiring and helping create future Black entrepreneurs in your community. The only downside of supporting black-owned businesses is the fact that you can be judged, stereotyped, or discriminated against, however with strong support businesses can survive.

In comparison to other means of increasing empowerment our group feels as though supporting black-owned businesses is the most effective and sure way for African Americans to reach full economic potential. It’s like a raffle the more tickets you buy the better your chances are at winning and seeing as the main focus of our solution is supporting black-owned businesses we decided to dive deeper in the perspective. Our group searched for a variety of black-owned businesses and found that there is only 1 black-owned bookstore in New Orleans. We as a group decided that we could increase interaction with the bookstore by contacting the store itself and seeing if there was anything we could do to possibly increase interest and/or involvement such as host a book drive. The task at hand is to help the black community achieve economic potential by attaining financial freedom and supporting black-owned businesses and we believe our group models more than the necessary behavior it takes to help African Americans reach full economic empowerment.

As young black individuals in society, we understand how hard it can be just having a dark complexion but to try and run your own business is even harder. It’s harder because white Americans do not want to see us succeed. This project shows that we are more than aware and even more prepared to take on the cultural problems around us. Each of us has taken the initiative in some way or another to support the black community in any way that we can. As HBCU students we are at a school that wants to do nothing but produce the best individuals in the world for the black community. When politicians speak about the bind African Americans in the United States are in, their focus is predominately on those who reside in urban areas. We as a group want to turn some of the attention away from the high-industry urban areas and shed some light onto the black communities where most of our people are setting up shop. Our group wants to be an example in the world showing generations to come what black excellence looks like and how they should support their community. All change starts somewhere.

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Prosperity Of Black Communities. (2022, Feb 26). Retrieved from

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