A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice
Author: Jessica Gordon Nembhard
Publisher: Penn State Press
In Collective Courage, Jessica Gordon Nembhard chronicles African American cooperative business ownership and its place in the movements for Black civil rights and economic equality. Not since W. E. B. Du Bois’s 1907 Economic Co-operation Among Negro Americans has there been a full-length, nationwide study of African American cooperatives. Collective Courage extends that story into the twenty-first century. Many of the players are well known in the history of the African American experience: Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph and the Ladies' Auxiliary to the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Jo Baker, George Schuyler and the Young Negroes’ Co-operative League, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party. Adding the cooperative movement to Black history results in a retelling of the African American experience, with an increased understanding of African American collective economic agency and grassroots economic organizing. To tell the story, Gordon Nembhard uses a variety of newspapers, period magazines, and journals; co-ops’ articles of incorporation, minutes from annual meetings, newsletters, budgets, and income statements; and scholarly books, memoirs, and biographies. These sources reveal the achievements and challenges of Black co-ops, collective economic action, and social entrepreneurship. Gordon Nembhard finds that African Americans, as well as other people of color and low-income people, have benefitted greatly from cooperative ownership and democratic economic participation throughout the nation’s history.
Corporations dominate our societies. They employ us, sell to us and influence how we think and who we vote for, while their economic interests dictate local, national and global agendas. Written in clear and accessible terms, this much-needed textbook provides critical perspectives on all aspects of the relationship between business and society: from an historical analysis of the spread of capitalism as the foundation of the 'corporate' revolution in the late nineteenth century to the regulation, ethics and exclusionary implications of business in contemporary society. Furthermore, it examines how corporate power and capitalism might be resisted, outlining a range of alternatives, from the social economy through to new forms of open access or commons ownership.
Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement
Author: Monica M. White
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Category: Social Science
In May 1967, internationally renowned activist Fannie Lou Hamer purchased forty acres of land in the Mississippi Delta, launching the Freedom Farms Cooperative (FFC). A community-based rural and economic development project, FFC would grow to over 600 acres, offering a means for local sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and domestic workers to pursue community wellness, self-reliance, and political resistance. Life on the cooperative farm presented an alternative to the second wave of northern migration by African Americans--an opportunity to stay in the South, live off the land, and create a healthy community based upon building an alternative food system as a cooperative and collective effort. Freedom Farmers expands the historical narrative of the black freedom struggle to embrace the work, roles, and contributions of southern black farmers and the organizations they formed. Whereas existing scholarship generally views agriculture as a site of oppression and exploitation of black people, this book reveals agriculture as a site of resistance and provides a historical foundation that adds meaning and context to current conversations around the resurgence of food justice/sovereignty movements in urban spaces like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and New Orleans.
In the 1960s and ’70s, a diverse range of storefronts—including head shops, African American bookstores, feminist businesses, and organic grocers—brought the work of the New Left, Black Power, feminism, environmentalism, and other movements into the marketplace. Through shared ownership, limited growth, and democratic workplaces, these activist entrepreneurs offered alternatives to conventional profit-driven corporate business models. By the middle of the 1970s, thousands of these enterprises operated across the United States—but only a handful survive today. Some, such as Whole Foods Market, have abandoned their quest for collective political change in favor of maximizing profits. Vividly portraying the struggles, successes, and sacrifices of these unlikely entrepreneurs, From Head Shops to Whole Foods writes a new history of social movements and capitalism by showing how activists embraced small businesses in a way few historians have considered. The book challenges the widespread but mistaken idea that activism and political dissent are inherently antithetical to participation in the marketplace. Joshua Clark Davis uncovers the historical roots of contemporary interest in ethical consumption, social enterprise, buying local, and mission-driven business, while also showing how today’s companies have adopted the language—but not often the mission—of liberation and social change.
The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region
Author: Marcie Cohen Ferris
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Discusses how food has shaped Southern identity, including the food slaves served in the Plantation South, how home economics and domestic science became part of the school curriculum in the South, and Southern-style food counterculture.
The information presented in this research demonstrates that Englewood like too many similar African-American communities in America, has lost its ability to be economically, politically, and otherwise self-sufficient/autonomous over the years as their neighborhoods have economically deteriorated. This was due to a serious demise of businesses, middle/upper class residents, crime, gangs, drugs, poor policing, poor educational institutions, and a server loss of population in general. All of these factors have contributed to an extensive loss of revenue in these areas. This has resulted in the residents in neighborhoods similar to Englewood becoming passive participants in the essential functions of the space/location they live in. Consequently, they usually have little if any authentic or substantive control/participation within the major spheres of influence and power in this these areas. Important decisions are mainly controlled by outsiders who rarely act in the residents true economic-political-social interest. This research suggests that this situation can possibly be resolved over a period of time by implementing various proposals and models for economic, political empowerment/sustainability presented in this writing that have been successful or had some significant measure of achievement such as the Mondragon Corporation's Workers Cooperative of Basque Spain, the Black owned First Independence Bank in Detroit, Michigan, or the various Black Cooperative current day and from the past that are detailed in such literature as Collective Courage A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon Nembhard, which were promoted by the renowned African-American scholar Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. Although this information is primarily focused on Englewood the suggestions put forth should be useful for other Black or non-Black communities confronted with similar circumstances. Also other crucial themes directly and indirectly related to the issues that I have researched in this book are discussed.