Despite almost four centuries of black independent self-help enterprises, the agency of African Americans in attempting to forge their own economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship has remained noticeably absent from the historical record. Juliet Walker’s award-winning History of Black Business in America is the only source that provides a detailed study of the continuity, diversity, and multiplicity of independent self-help economic activities among African Americans.
This new, updated edition divides the original work into two volumes. The first volume covers African American business history through the end of the Civil War and features a new introduction, as well as the first comprehensive account of black business during the Civil War. By emphasizing the African origins of black business practices and highlighting the contributions of black women, enslaved and free, Walker casts aside the long-held assumption that a “lack of a business tradition” is responsible for the failure of African Americans to establish successful, large-scale enterprises.