Business in Black and White provides a panoramic discussion of various initiatives that American presidents have supported to promote black business development in the United States. Many assume that U.S. government interest in promoting black entrepreneurship began with Richard Nixon's establishment of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE) in 1969. Drawn from a variety of sources, Robert E. Weems, Jr.'s comprehensive work extends the chronology back to the Coolidge Administration with a compelling discussion of the Commerce Departmen's "Division of Negro Affairs."
Weems deftly illustrates how every administration since Coolidge has addressed the subject of black business development, from campaign promises to initiatives to downright roadblocks. Although the governmen's influence on black business dwindled during the Eisenhower Administration, Weems points out that the subject was reinvigorated during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations and, in fact, during the early-to-mid 1960s, when "civil rights" included the right to own and operate commercial enterprises. After Nixon's resignation, support for black business development remained intact, though it met resistance and continues to do so even today. As a historical text with contemporary significance, Business in Black and White is an original contribution to the realms of African American history, the American presidency, and American business history.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 576 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 28 mm
"Since the 1800s, scholars have analyzed Black enterprise in America. This is a very significant addition to their work because it concentrates on how American presidents tried to assist Black enterprise. In addition to analyzing these policies, and other historical forces, Weems wraps his examination around the importance of black customers for these traditions and how these customers have enhanced the staying power of these firms. This work should be read by scholars, students, policy makers, and the general public as a way for the past to enhance the future."
-John Sibley Butler,author of Entrepreneurship and Self-Help among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics
"[An] extraordinarily detailed and well-documented historical inquiry. . . . Robert Weems' engaging, well-written book makes a significant and invaluable contribution in several areas of study."
-Juliet E.K. Walker,author of The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship
"Too often the history of capitalists in twentieth-century America assumes that all of them were white and the history of the civil rights struggle ignores the realm of business. This terrific book tells the long forgotten, fascinating story of how presidents from Coolidge to Reagan viewed African American entrepreneurs and used their power to aid or thwart blacks' commercial ambitions."
-Lizabeth Cohen,author of A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
"While much of the new scholarship on African American business history examines black entrepreneurial life and activities, Business in Black and White offers a fresh departure by examining presidential initiatives to support black business development from Coolidge to the Reagan administration. . . Business in Black and White is well researched and lays a frim foundation for any future discussions of the federal government's engagement with urban black economic development."-Quincy T. Mills,The Journal of African American History
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