JAMES CLINGMAN | 3/19/2017, 7:09 a.m.
“Do you ask what we can do? Unite and build a store of your own. Do you ask where is ...

Our women worked as housekeepers, journalists, teachers, bankers and other occupations, but they understood, advocated and practiced basic economic empowerment principles. They knew that unless Black folks established a solid economic foundation, we would never have the power we need to become self-reliant.

What’s it going to take to get us organized and moving in the right direction? Will we continue to languish in meaningless rhetorical gymnastics espoused by talking heads, politicians, organizational leaders and amongst ourselves? Or will we cast off the mundane, the nonsensical and the time-consuming back-and-forth that continues to keep us at status quo?

Stewart, Walker and Wells did not settle, sell out or give in to the social pressures they faced in the 19th century. This is the 21st century; we have tremendously more resources than they did, yet we are still allowing ourselves to go through much the same as they did. They already paid the bill for what we should be enjoying today. All we have to do is take our appropriate place in this society, despite any and all resistance, carve out a niche and control it and not get caught in the snares of jealousy and selfishness.

After 45 years of watching the selfishness of his brothers and sisters, W.E.B. DuBois said, “I assumed that with knowledge, sacrifice would automatically follow. There were especially sharp young persons [at Fisk University] with the distinct and single-minded idea of seeing what they could get … for themselves, and nobody else.”

Jim Clingman is an author and the founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached through http://www.blackonomics.com.