Lending a Hand: Black Business Owners’ Complex Role in the Civil Rights Movement

This article explores the powerful ways in which black business owners supported the Civil Rights movement. Business owners such as Leah Chase, Gus Courts, A. G. Gaston, and Amzie Moore, among others, contributed resources and organizational skills to the fight for racial justice. But the relationship between business owners and activists within the movement was at times characterized by tension. Although business owners sometimes found the approach of activists to be too radical and activists sometimes found the business owners’ approach to be too conservative, they found ways to compromise in order to work cooperatively toward racial justice.