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CLINGMAN: Find a Need and Fill It

James Clingman | 12/4/2013, 3 p.m.
One of the greatest entrepreneurs in this nation, Arthur George Gaston, offered these wise words of advice to prospective business ...
James Clingman

Isn’t it amazing that in spite of the obvious fact that economics runs this country, Blacks in 2013 still place more emphasis and expend more energy on politics and so-called civil rights, than we do on economic empowerment? Booker T. once shared that a society does not have to be compelled to associate with a Black man who is educated and has $50,000 to lend. A.G. Gaston took that to heart and used it to his great financial advantage as well as for others.

To all of you future and current entrepreneurs out there, make sure to take some time to study Black business owners, especially those from the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s. S.B. Fuller, Annie Malone, Madam C.J. Walker, Anthony Overton, Sarah Washington, Phillip Payton, Herman Perry, Wendell Dabney and others are examples of what we should be doing today as business owners. Of course, there are many contemporary Black entrepreneurs we must study as well.

Booker T. Washington said, “America will have no internal peace until there has been a grant of full economic rights and opportunities to Black America.” We have a role to play in that ideal, brothers and sisters, by establishing viable businesses, growing them, and creating jobs for ourselves. Let’s get busy and remember to “find a need and fill it.”

James Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com.