This Era Of Entrepreneurship Was More About Community Than Money

a picture of a main street in west texas full of cars
Adé Hennis
May 31, 2024

After the Civil War, Black Americans weren’t left with many options. We were pressured to become entrepreneurs because nobody else would buy and sell with us. And we all know that pressure makes diamonds, but in this special era, it also made gold.

Some historians claim that the Golden Age of Black Business was from 1900 to 1930. The number of Black businesses of all kinds doubled to 40,000. Neighborhoods like Bronzeville, Sweet Auburn, The Ville, and Black Wall Street were home to these businesses. And Black women were killing the game, too.

Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C.J. Walker dominated the cosmetics industry. They were among the first Black millionaires in the U.S. Malone helped create over 75,000 jobs, mostly for Black women.  Companies like North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance and Atlanta Mutual Insurance ensured financial security for Black families. One thing made these successes possible.

These businesses cared about their employees, customers, and communities, and that care was reciprocated.

The value of community is worth much more than money.