Soul Food Market will become reality because we will make it so. We are crowdfunding to produce a supermarket filled with Black owned products but this shouldn’t be strange or new to us. Black people have a rich history of crowdfunding and we’ve successfully used it to build many amazing institutions. Crowdfunding is simply us connecting to our roots and practicing cooperative economics — it is how we’ve survived and thrived on this continent.
The Underground Railroad is one of the most amazing achievements in the history of Black people. An entire network of individuals and institutions came together to help people escape bondage. But it also took money. Black men and women in tattered clothing would have been obvious targets for any suspecting patrol and thus money was needed for clothing, among other things. Contrary to what many believe, the network was run mostly by Black people and donations were solicited from around the country to make it all happen — crowdfunding.
Morris Brown College is the only institution of higher learning in Georgia organized by and for Black people. Trustees from Clark College (later Clark Atlanta University) appealed to members of Atlanta’s Big Bethel AME Church for financial assistance for a room but rather than furnishing a single room, one Bethel officer suggested building an entire school. Although the AME Church provided funds for the purchase of the land, the school still needed money to actually construct the facilities. After three years of fundraising (crowdfunding), they broke ground and the school received its charter from the state on May 23, 1885.
WeBuyBlack was once just a dream — the founder was imagining a place where we could find Black owned products conveniently and support Black owned businesses. Today WeBuyBlack.com is the largest marketplace for Black owned businesses but it only exists because Black people came together and donated to a crowdfunding campaign. Black entrepreneurs across the globe are growing their businesses because of this platform. Some have been able to hire staff and even quit their jobs, ultimately because Black people came together to support a vision.
Above are just three examples out of literally millions. Churches, social and political organizations, businesses and schools across this country exist because of Black people coming together and contributing small sums to build something greater. Today we call it crowdfunding and it’s still our most potent tool to fund our own freedom. Give to Soul Food Market today.