Wall St. And Business Wednesdays: Churches Should Teach Black Economics To Save Our Communities by Mark Allen

Many Black businesses were built and maintained in the ’60s and ’70s because Black churches systematically pointed their members to the Black businesses. That effort directed dollars that built Black banks, grocery stores and generated Black employment within the community. We desperately need that type of effort again, which would lead to people not having to seek illegal ways of making money.

How can we say we are learning the concept of "feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and looking out for the least of these" yet allow our dollars to build up other communities than our own? It makes no sense for so many other ethnic groups to own so many businesses in our community that clearly we have the talent to own ourselves.

For instance, a beauty supply store could not survive in the Black community without Black women’s patronage. So why don’t more Blacks own and operate them and keep the jobs and money in our community? We buy gas, but don’t own and manage gas stations. Why not open a Black business mart that has nothing in it but Black businesses?

We’ve got Black developers who can build it and Black banks that can finance it. We’ve got Black-owned and oriented radio stations that could promote us spending our money there. We’ve got Black churches with radio and television broadcasts that can also incorporate messages about keeping in our communities that which would keep our people working. And we have thousands of Black people who attend church every Sunday who could be told to spend their money there.

We have the buying power to make this happen if we just made up our minds to do it, and the Black church is key. The U.S. Census says that for every one billion dollars spent, up to 50,000 jobs can be created. So, if we collectively made up our minds to redirect just $1 billion into our community, then 50,000 of our people could have jobs. Let's do it.

Aren’t we tired of watching people selling drugs when they could be making money working in Black-owned businesses in our community? Aren't we tired of watching our people going to jail for robbing people of their money that they have legitimately earned?

We did it before to build a generation of Black businesses in the 60s and 70s, so why can’t we do it now? We have thousands of lives to save, and we can do it with the money that we are currently spending. Let's make a "conscious effort" to make it happen.

Note: This article first appeared at website

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Wednesday, November 12, 2003