Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati.
During the enslavement period of Africans in America, the Meritorious Manumission Act of 1710 was enacted in Virginia.
With their fingers on the triggers, the secretary of defense and others in our government are poised to strike Syria and commit fighting troops to that country, even at a time when the soldiers in Afghanistan are scheduled to leave. Understanding that World War II and the Vietnam War, followed of course by the war in Iraq, brought with them huge windfall profits to various corporations, we should brace ourselves for this next foray into a foreign country, especially one that is located in the so-called Middle East.
Will the largest city in history to file bankruptcy receive a death certificate, or will this action result in a new birth certificate for the Motor City? Of course, a city as large and as well-situated as Detroit will not die. Already there are plans for a $400 million hockey stadium, despite all the tales of woe and danger put forth by various media. All things considered, will Detroit’s majority population remain Black and will Black people play a significant role in its economic rebirth?
As we draw nearer to one of the most relevant events in history, an event that has been revered and immortalized by the iconic phrase, “I have a dream!” hundreds of thousands of people are preparing to relive the famous March on Washington. August 28, 1963, was the day that a quarter million people descended on the National Mall and heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his timeless speech that began with an economic theme and ended with a rousing, thought-provoking, soulful call for freedom and equality.
Let me make a “pitch” (pun intended) for Black sports agents. Watching the NBA playoffs and finals was more than an exercise in pulling for my favorite teams; it was also a very frustrating experience for me because I tend to look at most things from an economic perspective.
It is always interesting to reflect on certain events that took place in days gone by, especially when it comes to economic issues. In my entrepreneurship classes, I often use the example of the Montgomery Bus Boycott to illustrate a very important lesson we could (and should) take from those strong, dedicated, and committed brothers and sisters who walked until their demands were met. Some 42,000 bus riders walked to work for 381 days. Not only was their action exemplary and admirable, it also offers a very important lesson in economic empowerment.
Frederick Douglass’ words – “Power concedes nothing without a demand” – have been haunting me lately, because of the pressing issues we face in today’s political world, the dire economic straits many of our families find themselves, and the ever-present social problems Black people deal with every day. The key word in that admonishment is demand.
The push for the Black vote is on. Black folks are back in style. Black is beautiful – again. Since the last election, the mantra has become, “Get more ‘minorities’ to vote Republican” and Black voters are at the top of that list. Yes, they want to increase their Hispanic support, but the African American vote is ripe and ready to be harvested by just the right message given by just the right messengers. Wow, that sounds familiar. Don’t Democrats have that same strategy? They trot out a couple of spokespersons to soothe us with convincing platitudes that have kept us in their corner for decades.