Corey Carolina

Black entrepreneurship is vital to the success of America as entrepreneurship from all races are. History shows us Black people have been used to build, innovate, defend, and feed this country, but the equity of financial success has not been recognized by Black people.

The land in America was owned by the Native people, but some historical reports state Black people were in America before the first slave ships reached America. Black people were some of the original people on this planet and have given scores of contributions to the greatness of this world.

Before the Civil War, Black people who were slaves were legally held as property and could not be owners of patents. In 1821, Thomas Jennings was credited with patenting a method that removed dirt from clothing. More than likely, Jennings was the first Black American to receive a patent. He was an American pioneer, and his patent and techniques are used in modern-day dry cleaning. In previous years, Black slaves created innovations that were stolen by their slave masters because slaves could not own patents. After slavery, the Black innovator was able to have a small piece of the American dream: ownership.

Now, the brilliance of Black innovation and creativity is showcased daily on websites, brick-and-mortar stores, and on the streets of America. The Black culture has spanned across the world and has influenced millions of people. Supporting Black-owned businesses helps ensure the creativity continues to spread across the planet. Black-owned businesses tend to be sole-proprietor businesses with fewer than five employees. Your support is needed to help this business thrive.

Some may think marketing the need to support Black-owned businesses diminishes support for nonminority- or veteran-owned businesses, but that is not the case. Black-owned business has not been given an equal chance to survive in the past, when other businesses have. Support for Black-owned businesses is as patriotic as you can get. Black people love this country, and although history shows we should not love our oppressors, Black people have given loyalty to the country that once refused to recognize them as humans.

Feeling guilty for what racist ancestors did is not what Black-owned businesses want; we want the recognition of Black peoples' talent. Black people are your brothers, friends, co-workers, your children's teachers, and the entertainers many Americans look up to, so supporting their businesses and activities is key. Black people support white-owned and women's businesses more than they provide support for Black-owned businesses, and that is generational. As the "Buy Black" movement continues, Black people are learning about the amazing entrepreneurs who look like them. These entrepreneurs want to share their passion for excellence with people who look like them and people who do not.

I invite you to find Black-owned businesses in your town or on the internet to support, as that could help a small business become an international business. You would be helping those who have been marginalized and discriminated against in the financial markets succeed. Buying Black does not mean you do not support your own race. It means you support Americans, and sometimes you support Black Americans. Expand your knowledge of all races, and let's all stretch ourselves to appreciate other races and creative minds. Let's diversify our entrepreneurial support.

Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co. He is also an author.

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