Protected markets and African American professionals in northern cities during the great migration

A protected market exists when consumers from an ethnic minority group are compelled to obtain certain goods and services from coethnics. This article tests the hypothesis that the protected markets that arose during the Great Migration of Blacks to the North increased the representation of African Americans in the professions in northern cities. It first shows that the theory of protected markets may apply to conditions that existed in these cities during 1900 to 1930 and then presents census data on changes during this time in the representation of African Americans in the ministry, medicine, dentistry, and law. These data only partly support the hypothesis. Based on these results and anecdotal evidence, it is concluded that the only African American professionals who benefited from protected markets were those in the ministry and, to a lesser extent, in dentistry. Protected markets, therefore, appear to be a weak foundation for the professional class of an ethnic minority group.