Photo: Courtesy of National Park Service, Maggie L. Walker-National Historic Site “Let’s make America Great Again”
By Dr. P.R. Pryor
TCP Enterprises International
Community, Business & Personal Empowerment
On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous speech entitled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” in Memphis. In it, King urged African Americans to put their money in Black-owned banks. It wasn’t his most famous line, but the message was clear: “We’ve got to strengthen Black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in the Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis … We begin the process of building a greater economic base.”
The next day, King was assassinated and his hope of harnessing Black wealth remains unfulfilled. Before integration, African Americans in cities like Richmond, Chicago and Atlanta relied on Black community banks, which were largely responsible for providing loans and boosting Black businesses, churches and neighborhoods. After desegregation, Black wealth started to hemorrhage from these communities. White-owned banks were forced to open their doors to African Americans and the money that once flowed into Black banks and back out to Black communities ended up on Wall Street and other banks farther away. (The Atlantic)
Although today there are 206 million African American-owned businesses; a 34% increase ranging from 2007 to 2012; 109,000 of which have paid employees (4.2%); and 205 million that are non-employer firms (95.8%) combined are averaging $150 billion in annual receipts. Here lies the deficit; only a small percentage of the African American dollar is being invested, spent or recycled back into African American communities. The monies are instead spent in white-owned business and ultimately support white communities.
What is the Black Community’s National Agenda?
The Black Community’s National Agenda should be of course to obtain “Black Wealth,” sustainable wealth. What is the strategy or formula? Perhaps it should be taken from a page in history, reflective of one of the most prominent concentrations of African American businesses in the United States. In order to validate the fact that “Black wealth,” in addition to thriving Black communities, is attainable, as was successfully accomplished in the days of “The Black Wall Street of America” aka, The Greenwood District of Tulsa, which became a nationally renowned entrepreneurial center in the early 1920s. (read the history on Black Wall Street)
Fast forward the year is now 2017; the average Black dollar is recycled in the Black community on an average of only 3 times, verses those dollars circulated through Black-owned businesses and Black communities during the days of the infamous “Black Wall Street” on average of 36 to 100 times prior to it leaving the Black community.
To obtain wealth, you must re-invest…
Dr. Claud Anderson, President of PowerNomics Corporation of America, Inc. and the Harvest Institute, gives us insight concerning Black Empowerment and Exceptionalism. PowerNomics is a company which publishes books and produces multimedia presentations depicting the strategies and concepts of Dr. Anderson, surrounding acquiring and sustaining Black wealth. Below is a model of Dr. Claud Anderson’s Hierarchy of Black Wealth:
THE HIERARCHY OF BLACK WEALTH
As taught by Dr. Claud Anderson
- EDUCATION – The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university; an enlightening experience
- BLACK MEDIA OUTLETS – Controlled Images that our community sees
- LAW ENFORCEMENT – Engage your legislators / politicians to change laws that affect Black communities
- POLITICS – Rent, Lease or Purchase as many politicians as you can
Leveraging Power and Politics call for Strategic Leadership and Decision Making Leveraging, once accomplished now you have obtained power. Leveraging, provides an opportunity to think differently about power, politics as well as cause-and-effect relationships with respect to leadership, power and influence. The changes that are shaping the nature of work in today’s complex organizations and communities require that we develop the political will, expertise and personal skills to become more flexible, innovative and adaptive. Without political awareness and skill, we face the inevitable aspect of becoming immersed in bureaucratic infighting, parochial politics and destructive power struggles, which greatly retard organizational initiative, innovation, morale and performance, as well as the issues linked to values and ethics, culture, visioning and the management of change. (Kotter 1985)
Get involved in the process engaging your elected officials to change laws in favor of the Black community.
BLACK MEDIA OUTLETS
As we know, the Media has an enormous amount of power and influence concerning almost every aspect of our lives. It is important that communities create platforms to control the images and programs which our communities are exposed to daily. We want to ensure that they are images that are relatable to a people and or culture, images of power and influence; and most importantly images surrounding wealth, prosperity and upward mobility.
BUSINESS OWNERSHIP – Cooperative Economics
Start a jointly owned enterprise engaging in the production or distribution of goods or the supplying of services, that is operated by its members for their mutual benefit typically organized by consumers or farmers. May also be called a co-op.
POWER AS A MOTIVE
Power is attractive because it confers the ability to influence decisions, about who gets what resources, what goals are pursued, what philosophy the organization adopts, what actions are taken, who succeeds and who fails. Power also gives a sense of control over outcomes, and may in fact convey enhanced control. Particularly as decision issues become more complex and outcomes become more uncertain, power becomes more attractive as a tool for reducing uncertainty.
So, what is the Black Community’s National Agenda? In a world that is getting increasingly smaller and poses the potential of dictatorship opposed to a democracy, we must come to the realization that obtaining wealth is a choice not an option.
There is only one color at the bargaining table, the color of America’s currency “GREEN.” To reserve a seat, you must possess wealth, which has the greatest influence. “GREEN” has been the most influential color throughout this Nation’s history. If you find yourself in an economic quagmire, now is the time to leverage and dig yourself out, utilizing the necessary strategies to obtain and secure wealth.
How to become debt free in a capitalistic society. For many, easier said than done, however, it is obtainable, here’s how.
- The goal should be to pay off mortgages; once you have made the final payment, you can truly attest to true homeownership, everything else is a process. Additionally, work on paying off your vehicles, nothing like having a Title free and clear.
- Ensure that you have the proper amount of insurance. Speak to your Insurance Agent in detail to ensure that your policy covers all of you needs, not just burial. A wise man leaves an inheritance to his children and his children’s children. (KJV)
- Educate the youth concerning economics and most importantly the FICO system (Credit Reporting) and how quintessential it is to financial success and the acquisition of wealth.
- Do not attempt to live above your means; watch your debt to income ratio. Remember, the goal is to be debt free. Don’t spend more than you earn.
- Pay off your revolving credit accounts (Credit-Cards) to avoid paying costly interest rates and fees, never touching the principle.
- Establish a savings, pay yourself prior to paying anyone else, this will ensure that you have operating capital.
- Attend College. Look into research grants which do not require being paid back. This process will assist in keeping down debt, every penny counts.
- Diversify your income streams, ensure that you have more than once source of income. In addition to your job you may consider starting a small business on the side.
- Be a good steward of your finances
- Talk to a reputable stock broker concerning potential investments. It takes money to make money. (money multiplies)
“Let’s make America Great Again” by establishing a National Agenda for Black communities.