The Business Mind of the Mis-Educated Negro
Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
-Carter G. Woodson
Mis-Education of the NegroThe word business appears in Carter G. Woodson’s book titled The Mis-Education of the Negro 81 times. As we approach Black History Month, it is important for us to revisit the business lessons contained in it that remain relevant 85 years later. Why is it important? Some of us are still walking around in the 21st Century mis-educated because we are products of a school system that has not changed much. Let’s analyze a few quotes from the book on economics and ask ourselves if anything has changed. The first quote from Carter G. Woodson’s book has to do with foreigners setting up businesses in our communities.
In Chapter one Woodson writes, “In the schools of business administration Negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts, and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners, who have not studied economics but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich.” Today, foreigners set up corner stores on almost every block in our communities. Can we blame them for doing this? No, but we can put our collective business mind together to work towards owning and operating more businesses. And when these businesses are created, we must support them! Do not be that mis-educated person who says, “Negroes cannot run business.”
Go Support UsAccording to the book, the Black person in 1933 may have read headlines such as “NEGRO BACK ROBBED BY ITS OFFICERS” or “GREATEST NEGRO BUSINESS FAILS.” Afterwards, they would conclude that, “I told you so. Negroes cannot run businesses. My professors pointed that out to me years ago when I studied economics in college; and I never intend to put any of my money into a negro enterprise.” Do not believe such nonsense; it was false 85 years ago and it remains false now. Even if you have had a bad experience, Do Not Give Up On Black Businesses After One Bad Experience. Go support us!
HomeworkIf you have not read Mis-Education of the Negro, go purchase it now! For those of you who have read it, go re-read it! Also, if you own a digital copy of the book, you can search for all the times the keyword “business” appears by hitting Ctrl+F and typing in business.
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