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Past and Present

Past & Present: The 'Black Money Matters' Movement

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An important off-shoot of the Black Lives Matter Movement is the growth of a parallel phenomenon known as Black Money Matters. As history reveals, African Americans’ use of their collective spending power to bring about positive change is nothing new. For instance, during the Civil Rights era, such episodes as the Montgomery Bus Boycott clearly showed the power of strategic consumerism.

The primary beneficiaries of the contemporary Black Money Matters Movement are black-owned banks. Between 1987 and 2015, the number of black banks in the United States declined from 91 to 24. The evidence indicates that these financial institutions could benefit mightily from increased African American consumer support.

While the Black Money Matters Movement is a favorable development in the context of African American business history, the past several decades have been disastrous for many historic black enterprises. The decline and disappearance of African American-owned insurance companies, the true cornerstone of historic black economic development, graphically verifies this assertion.

As recently as the 1960s, there were more than 50 viable black insurers in the United States. Today, that number has dwindled to just two. Moreover, based upon recent trends, by the end of this decade, those two remaining black-owned insurance companies may totally disappear from the landscape of American business. One can only hope that the Black Money Matters Movement can help save black banks from a similar fate.