The Power of Black Owned Businesses

Published on 23rd July 2019

See graphs: "Power of Business Ownership" and "Black Owned Businesses With Paid Employees" at:

As of 2012 -2017, Black owned businesses possessed a collective "value proposition" that could only create just "1 million jobs", which would employ just "4% of Black America's working age." The aforementioned, abysmal statistics are underscored by the graph: "Black Owned Businesses With Paid Employees."

According to Prosperity Now’s 2019 Scorecard, 19.1% of white residents in the U.S. are business owners compared to 14.4% of black residents. Though that difference might not seem large, the data also shows that white-owned businesses that are similar in size, products produced and services rendered to black-owned businesses are valued more than 8 times higher than black-owned businesses. 2017 data from the Small Business Administration indicates that just over 19 million businesses, or 70.9 percent of all U.S. businesses, are white-owned. Blacks own about 2.6 million businesses or 9.5 percent of all U.S. businesses, and Latinos own 3.3 million businesses or 12.2 percent of all American businesses. But the sales and employment numbers indicate a more depressing story. The 19 million white-owned businesses have 88 percent of the overall sales, and control 86.5 percent of U.S. employment, while black businesses have a mere 1.3 percent of total American sales, and 1.7 percent of the nation’s employees. Latino businesses have 4 percent of U.S. sales and 4.2 percent of U.S. employment.

The gross, logical fallacy that has framed many Black Mindsets for decades is: the same Structural Racism that has long impeded and prohibited, highly educated and skilled Blacks, as defined by their "value propositions", from being hiring into and/or advancing in "Corporate America" -- -- is the same Structural Racism that's eager to seriously engage in financial transactions and economic transformations with high quality and capable ("value proposition") Black Business Owners. Really?

The creation of untold numbers of, self-sustaining, growth oriented, Black-owned businesses, throughout periods of American History, once resulted in thriving communities of enterprise such as the “Black Wall Street” of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the bustling Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. However, Structural Racism's ruling classes, systematically engaged in repeated horrific episodes of economic deprivation, prohibition and destruction for centuries, which has prevented the accumulation of Black Wealth from being actualized through Black enclaves of self-sustaining economic empowerment like "Black Wall Street" and Washington, DC's Shaw neighborhood.         

The 1866 Homestead Act sought to include blacks specifically in the transfer of public lands to private farmers. However, discrimination and poor implementation doomed the policy. Black politicians during Reconstruction attempted to use tax policy to force land on the market, but this was met with violent resistance. Whites could use and did use violence to force blacks from their property via the terrorism of whitecapping, where blacks were literally run out of their towns and their possessions stolen.

The terrorism of whitecapping included, but was not limited to the race riots in Memphis in 1866 and Tulsa in 1921, which systematically destroyed or stole the wealth blacks had acquired, and lowered the rate of black innovation ("value proposition"). The accumulation of Black wealth was and remains tenuous in America, without the equal and aggressive application of the rule of law to prevent unconstitutional acts of discrimination. First, there was slavery; then the unlawful seizure of property; then indentured servitude under Jim Crow; then segregated housing and schooling; then predatory lending and now, insidiously systematic racial discrimination under the disguise of America's disingenuous declarations of "Equal Opportunity" and "Diversity and Inclusion". In 2019, in the face of America's disingenuous declarations of "Equal Opportunity" and "Diversity and Inclusion" stands this Mount Rushmore reality check: the mean of black household wealth is $138,200 and for white households, that number is $933,700.

Unfortunately, Black people around the world continue to conflate and confuse their momentary "Possession of Riches" with generational, "Transferable Wealth". The top 100 black-owned firms identified by Black Enterprise in 2018 collectively grossed $27 billion and employed 79,216 workers. While both numbers show growth of black businesses from previous years, in contrast, Walmart, the top firm by revenue in the U.S., grossed more than twenty times as much in revenue and employed 2.2 million more workers than the entire top 100 black-owned firms combined. The dynastic wealth of Walmart's Walton family grew from $690 million in 1982 (or $1.81 billion in 2018 dollars) to $169.7 billion in 2018, a mind boggling increase of 9,257 percent. And White people's generational transferable wealth doesn't stop there ( ):

-Three white guys, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett own more wealth than the bottom half of America combined

-A third of Forbes' 400 Wealthiest own fortunes derived from companies that were founded by earlier generations

-The 15 wealthiest multi-generational dynastic families on Forbes 400 Wealthiest, own a combined $618 Billion. Their immediate parents or ancestors founded all of the companies from which their wealth is derived.

-Charles and David Koch each own a net worth of $54 billion. Each brother's net worth is more than twice the combined net wealth of all, 12 Black Billionaires in the world.

Compare the above stats, to the net wealth of the heirs of the founders of Motown Records, Johnson Publishing Co., Madam C. J. Walker, North Carolina Mutual Insurance, Atlanta Life Insurance, Caver Federal Savings Bank and Wally Amos of Famous Amos Cookies.

By D.R. Graham

HPTS, LLC - San Juan

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