Black in the Day…The Importance of Black Economic Independence

August 23, 1900:

The National Negro Business League was founded in Boston, Massachusetts with Booker T. Washington as its first president. Its membership included the elite of Black business leaders as well as a large number of the upwardly aspiring Black middle class. The purpose of the organization was to “promote the commercial and financial development of the Negro.” Washington established the group because he believed that the key to ending racism in the United States was through economic development. He also believed that economic development would allow African-Americans to become upwardly mobile.  He believed that once African-Americans had achieved economic independence, they would be able to petition successfully for voting rights and an end to segregation. In 1966, the organization was renamed the National Business League. With its headquarters in Washington D.C., the group has memberships in 37 states. The National Business League lobbies for the rights and needs of African-American entrepreneurs to local, state and federal governments.  A major goal of the league has been to include the minority business sector in the national economic priorities. Over the past 100 years, membership has grown throughout the United States and includes a vibrant network of National Student Business Leagues. The league continues to promote economic enterprise and financial literacy for African Americans throughout the United States and international trade with Africa and the African diaspora.

 

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”–Booker T. Washington

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