Abstract: A Sharp-End Renaissance: Growing Success of African American Entrepreneurs in Columbia, Missouri

Alissa Warren


In Columbia, Missouri the African American business community has diminished severely over the last century. A thriving Black-owned Columbia business district known as the "Sharp-End" was once booming with barber shops, restaurants, grocery stores, a doctor's office, taverns, and funeral homes. However, the unfortunate by-product of desegregation was the dismantling of this black business community. This research will explore success strategies that could help revive the African American business community in Columbia. The strength, courage, persistence, and prayer of many African American entrepreneurs has sustained the pathway of success and ignited a "Sharp-End" renaissance worthy of study. This success in spite of the social limitations is the impetus for my research. I will explore central phenomena of the sociology of entrepreneurship and group characteristics that aid in the development of successful business activity. These aspects may include positive community networks, family support, work ethic, and risk-taking behaviors.