August is Black Business Month — a time to acknowledge and uplift Black-owned businesses across the nation. With the annual celebration growing in supporters in recent years, we’re looking back at the origins of the month.
According to National Today, the history of Black Business Month can be traced back to a partnership between engineering entrepreneur Frederick E. Jordan and John William Templeton, the president and executive editor of the scholarly publishing company eAccess Corp. The two teamed up in 2004 to start the annual celebration with the intention of driving policy agenda affecting Black businesses and empowering Black business owners.
Though Jordan is currently the owner of F. E. Jordan Associates Inc, a thriving company with international reach, the entrepreneur once struggled to get the financial backing and funding he needed to launch his own firm in 1969. Jordan personally experienced the unique challenges faced by Black business owners, which inspired him to start Black Business Month in an effort to push for equity in entrepreneurship.
Despite the obstacles put in front of them, Black people have been establishing their own businesses since the late 1700s. With the onset of emancipation, Black-owned businesses really began to thrive between 1900 to 1930, which is known as the “golden age” of Black entrepreneurship.
The 1915 creation of the National Negro Business League provided more support for Black entrepreneurs across the country. By the early 2000s, Black-owned businesses made up 1.2 million of the nation’s business, bringing in a revenue of more than $150 billion. This month, we not only celebrate and support Black businesses but also recognize their impact and contribution to the U.S. economy.