Nostalgia brings with it warm feelings of yesteryear; tempered by the reality that things have changed. It seems a natural part of the human dynamic to try recapturing the best aspects of the past, the memories of good times that fill us with cheer and pride.
Our infatuation with the past is evidenced by a resurgence of many “old school” items; like turntables and vinyl records. There’s a modernized version of the Polaroid camera and the Afro is here to stay.
But what about recapturing intangibles? How do we recapture a spirit, an energy, a commitment to each other? While this country turned its collective hatred towards them, blacks had to support each other to survive.
Necessity notwithstanding, there was also an undeniable desire and an innate intention to be there for each other in ways that shaped collective values and forged community.
During segregation, blacks’ proximity to each other created a space where children’s exposure to black doctors, lawyers, carpenters, teachers and other professionals was commonplace and naturally reinforced expectations for excellence. Places like Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Rosewood in Florida were among thriving communities that offered proof of the possibilities when blacks convene for the collective good.
These cities were bustling with successful black businesses that fueled economic growth in the community that made it possible for families to support black businesses – an awesome prosperity cycle that has yet to be replicated.
Recent efforts to recapture the economic collaboration have surfaced here and there; and perhaps with enough grassroots energy, a more widespread, national manifestation of blacks supporting blacks will catch hold.
It’s a great time to support black businesses. Arguably, it should be a priority in black communities (just like it is in Jewish and Asian communities) regardless of what’s going on in the mainstream society; however, America’s disdain for black bodies should serve as a powerful that we are all we’ve got.
How does the black community shift its actions significantly enough to affect change economically, spiritually and psychologically? How does it go from having the dollar circulate in black communities a mere six hours to something akin to the 28 days it circulates in the Asian community?
Maggie Anderson’s book, “Our Black Year,” offers a wonderful roadmap. She and her family went an entire year only spending money with black businesses. Her book chronicles they whys and hows of their powerful experience. Your purchase of the book helps fund Anderson’s continued work to inform the black community of its power and how to make the support of black businesses an everyday reality. Go to http://ourblackyear.com.
Spending money with non-blacks at least some of the time is an understandable reality; however, it is possible to develop a plan to spend far more money with black-owned establishments than is currently the case. Heck, even if blacks increased their spending with black-owned businesses by a mere 25 percent, the impact would be significant.
There are directories of black-owned businesses to make it easier. Check out the South Florida Black Business Directory at www.sflbbd.com; and Black Pages Miami at www.blackpagesmiami.com. To find blackowned restaurants, go to http://thehungryblackman.
As we reflect and celebrate Black History Month, let’s become more intentional about supporting black businesses, banking in black banks and encouraging each other to be the best we can be.
Happy Black History Month!