Monday, July 11, 2011


The Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer, Jerry W. Byrd, reports on June 26, 1995: Banding Together Is Way To Survival, A Black Author Says Claude Anderson Says Discrimination Against Black Businesses Is Historic. With The Decline Of Affirmative Action, Blacks Must Develop New Strategies, He Warns.

Black-owned businesses have never had an easy time of it. Often under- capitalized, usually under-patronized, even by their natural constituency, hundreds of them still managed to survive the Slave Codes, the Black Codes, anti-black riots in dozens of American cities, and torpedo legislation.

Maryland forbade black carpenters. Mississippi prohibited black printers and preachers. Georgia said no black pharmacists or mechanics. The District of Columbia, South Carolina and Kentucky would grant blacks no business licenses at all.

The social prohibitions were even harsher, designed to keep black Americans down while whites got free land, free or cheap labor and a government that worked for and in their interests. Claud Anderson, author of Black Labor, White Wealth: The Search for Economic Justice, can cite it all, chapter and verse.
He will grant, without too much prodding, that the laws put in place to help right 350 years of wrongs are virtually dead. Affirmative-action laws, he says, were effectively destroyed when the aggrieved party became, not African Americans but minorities, most of whom bore none of slavery's scars.

Anderson said the argument for righting wrongs was lost when African Americans forgot that oppressive laws applied to all of them, not to individuals.

"We should never have let ourselves be fooled into trying to prove individual cases of discrimination," he said. "You can't win when you try to do that. You can't win."

Anderson is on a mission. In Philadelphia last Thursday as a guest of the African American Chamber of Commerce, he repeated the message he lays out in his book: Black labor, in all its forms, is becoming obsolete.
Map of the percentage of black-owned businesses across the USA
Unless African Americans put together a coherent educational and economic strategy, they risk becoming a permanent underclass within 20 years, Anderson said. Black businesspeople will have to lead, he added.

Percentage of white owned businesses across the USA

Anderson, a former Commerce Department appointee in the Carter administration, is traveling the country to emphasize the warnings he makes in Black Labor, White Wealth.

He also is stumping for money, at least $250,000 by Aug. 1, to support a black think tank, the Harvest Institute, which opened in Washington last week.
"Conservatives have a hundred think tanks out there churning out racist reports on us, and you know those same people told me black folks would never support a project like this," Anderson said.

He said groups that survive through the next century will be self- supporting. "The new world order is about who controls resources," Anderson said. "We're the only group that doesn't have a strategy for economic survival."

At a luncheon in the Wyndham Franklin Plaza later in the day, Anderson, who holds a doctorate in education, confirmed what many among the 100 black business owners in attendance had quietly suspected.

"You must build an alternative economic and educational system as soon as you can," he said, jabbing his finger toward them. "For 400 years, we've been in the lowest levels of a real-life Monopoly game. You do not have enough wealth and power to be competitive. And time is running out on you."

Integration, the goal of so many civil-rights groups, isn't the answer, he said.

"Integration cut off the head of black people. The thinking part lives in the suburbs, while the body lives in the city. We're going to put both parts back together."

Anderson's book makes the same points in finer detail. He writes that the political climate will only grow worse.

But it's not all bad. "I'm deeply indebted to the right-wing movement, to (Senate Majority Leader Robert) Dole, (House Speaker Newt) Gingrich and the rest," Anderson said. "In my travels, I've never seen blacks more united." (source: Philadelphia Inquirer)


Dr. Claude Anderson
"The root problem in black communities across America is race and the unjust distribution of our nation's wealth, power and resources. Whites live in privileged conditions, with nearly 100 percent ownership and control of the nations wealth, power, business and all levels of government support and resources." "Legal and extra-legal measures were taken to keep both free blacks, like the slaves, in a dependent state and excluded from enjoying the fruits of a nation that their labor was building." (p.11).

"…black conservatives who place their personal advancement above the welfare of their race often gain significant personal and financial benefits, recognition and access to power." (p.17)
"Free blacks were not permitted to establish culture-based businesses … Even after Emancipation, that remained the case. Blacks were prohibited by the legal and social sanctions that withheld capital, market opportunities, access to resources and education from establishing businesses. (pp.91-92).

In the concept of vertical integration, a single entity or group controls all aspects of the creation, and sale of a service or product, including obtaining the raw materials, processing and manufacturing, then distributing, marketing and selling the finished products… The Black community could adapt these concepts to the music and sports industries and thereby spread millions of dollars into black business throughout the nation." (p.208)

Claud Anderson in Baltimore, MD



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