432 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 tables, notes, bibl., index
Volume 1, To 1865
Despite almost four centuries of black independent self-help enterprises, the agency of African Americans in attempting to forge their own economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship has remained noticeably absent from the historical record. Juliet Walker's award-winning History of Black Business in America is the only source that provides a detailed study of the continuity, diversity, and multiplicity of independent self-help economic activities among African Americans.
This new, updated edition divides the original work into two volumes. The first volume covers African American business history through the end of the Civil War and features the first comprehensive account of black business during the Civil War. By emphasizing the African origins of black business practices and highlighting the contributions of black women, enslaved and free, Walker casts aside the long-held assumption that a "lack of a business tradition" is responsible for the failure of African Americans to establish successful, large-scale enterprises.
The second volume, spanning from the end of the Civil War to the twenty-first century, will be published in Spring 2009.
"Walker has produced an excellent, highly readable, and informative book that will stand the test for years to come as the standard in the field of black history. It is a superb contribution to the literature of African American history."
--Journal of American History
"Like Du Bois's work a century before, Walker's book will attract scholars to the field of black business history and compel them to realize how this subject sheds considerable light on many aspects of American business history."
--Business History Review
"This massive study does indeed break new ground, and in a big way. . . . It has interpretative depth and substance, stressing the African source of a mercantile ethos among blacks. . . . To be sure, no one can now contend that blacks lack an entrepreneurial tradition. . . . It is a first-rate piece of historical scholarship."
--Journal of American Ethnic History
"Walker makes a magnificent contribution to the literature on African American entrepreneurship and capitalism. Shattering myths, pointing to possibilities, and refining our thinking about procrustean racism, Professor Walker explores perceptively a world where blacks have been much maligned and vilified. . . . No effective discussion of the black community can go on without Professor Walker's book as a basis for understanding the peculiarities and promises of Black life in America."
"A richly detailed, sweeping examination of black business from precolonial Africa to the conclusion of the Civil War. . . . Highly recommended."
"Juliet Walker's History of Black Business in America is without peer. It is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the struggle of African Americans in a field where there have always been barriers."
--John Hope Franklin
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