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The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

Sunday, 20 April 2014 09:17 By Laura Flanders, Yes! Magazine | Video Report
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The Underground Railroad, 1893.The Underground Railroad, 1893. (Image: Charles T. Webber)

Also see: Solidarity Economics, a Forgotten Practice of the Black Radical Tradition: An Interview With Jessica Gordon Nembhard

From slavery to Jim Crow to cities today, African-Americans have been leading the cooperative movement.

Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

"The white economic structure depended on all of these blacks having to buy from the white store, rent from the white landowner. They were going to lose out if you did something alternatively," Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, told Commonomics correspondent Laura Flanders this week.

For more on co-ops in the black community, read our latest piece on late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's vision.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders interviews forward thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements on her internationally syndicated TV program, "The Laura Flanders Show." It airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English and Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and YES! Magazine ("Commonomics") and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). "The Laura Flanders Show" first aired on Air America Radio from 2004 to 2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com or via Twitter @GRITlaura.


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The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

Sunday, 20 April 2014 09:17 By Laura Flanders, Yes! Magazine | Video Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

The Underground Railroad, 1893.The Underground Railroad, 1893. (Image: Charles T. Webber)

Also see: Solidarity Economics, a Forgotten Practice of the Black Radical Tradition: An Interview With Jessica Gordon Nembhard

From slavery to Jim Crow to cities today, African-Americans have been leading the cooperative movement.

Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

"The white economic structure depended on all of these blacks having to buy from the white store, rent from the white landowner. They were going to lose out if you did something alternatively," Jessica Gordon Nembhard, author of Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, told Commonomics correspondent Laura Flanders this week.

For more on co-ops in the black community, read our latest piece on late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba's vision.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders interviews forward thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements on her internationally syndicated TV program, "The Laura Flanders Show." It airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English and Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and YES! Magazine ("Commonomics") and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). "The Laura Flanders Show" first aired on Air America Radio from 2004 to 2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com or via Twitter @GRITlaura.


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blog comments powered by Disqus