According to the Census Bureau, African-Americans are 13.2 percent of the population of the United States, which comes to about 42 million people. Research by the Economic Policy Institute found that 51.3 percent of young Black high school graduates are underemployed. Yet, a recent report by Nielsen and Essence estimates that Black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years. If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world.
According to a New York Times article about Maggie Anderson, the author of Our Black Year, a study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that between half a million and a million jobs could be created if higher-income Black households spent only $1 of every $10 at Black-owned stores and other enterprises. Yet only a tiny fraction of Black buying power is spent at Black-owned businesses.
I come here tonight and plead with you. Believe in yourself and believe that you’re somebody. As I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us! No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. No Kennesonian or Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill can do this for us. If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood, his own Emancipation Proclamation. Don’t let anybody take your manhood.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.