New Directions in African American Business History

New Directions in African American Business History

The field of African American business history has moved forward in significant ways over the last thirty years with groundbreaking scholarship that has stood the test of time. In particular, the black experience in business happened against the backdrop of Jim Crow segregation and in the face of tighter restrictions being placed on the citizenship rights of black people at the turn of the twentieth century. Moreover, the success and survival of these institutions were often threatened by social, political, and economic barriers, which confronted them upon their emancipation. This workshop proposes to bring together scholars of African American Business History for two sessions (one morning, one afternoon) to workshop essays/book chapters for consideration in an edited volume on the topic "New Directions in African American Business History." These essays will cover a range of topics from the mid-19th to the 21st centuries. In doing so, the workshop will foster collaboration while making connections across and within disciplines and methodologies, as well as between faculty engaged in studies of race, business, and capitalism. In other words, we will bring closely related themes of identity, power, class, and gender to bear in understanding not only African Americans’ contributions to U.S. economic, political, and social history but also how ideas about race shape and have been shaped by notions of success, opportunity, and risk in U.S. society and culture over time. Despite the realities of economic discrimination, blacks contributed significantly to the entrepreneurial spirit that has characterized American society, while at the same time improving the overall condition of African Americans. 

Co-organizer: Brandon K. Winford, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
'Large Enough to Serve You, Small Enough to Know You': The Mechanics and Farmers Bank in Durham, North Carolina and the Power of Black Finance in the New South"

Co-organizer: Shennette Garrett-Scott, University of Mississippi
‘All the Other Devils this Side of Hades’: State Regulation, Fusion Politics, and Black Banks in Progressive Era Mississippi

Marcus Allen, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
Deference as Property: Color-line Barbers in Antebellum Baltimore

Anton House, Delaware State University
For Dollar and Destiny: The Ground Fountain, United Order of True Reformers and the Economic Development of Black America

Jessica Levy, University of Virginia
Race Managers: Black Executives, Multinational Corporations, and Empowerment Politics, 1970-Present

Danya Pilgrim, Temple University
In the Business of Taste and Culture: a Reconsideration of the Black Catering Trade

Mary Potorti, Emerson College
Boycott Boyette: The Black Panther Party’s Assault on Black Capitalism