Cooperatives in the African American Experience

Prepared for the Babson-Equal Exchange Cooperative Curriculum
By Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Ph.D. (John Jay College, City University of New York; 
and Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective)
June 18, 2012 
Learning Objectives: 
  • To learn about the various attempts at and successes of African American cooperative ownership throughout US history.
  • To understand the opportunities and challenges offered by cooperative ownership for African Americans and consider the circumstances under which cooperative ownership has been beneficial to African American communities, Black women and/or Black youth.
  • To analyze the barriers and challenges to cooperative ownership among African Americans, and to recognize the role played by unfair competition and racism in undermining Black cooperatives. 
  • To identify the leaders of and explore the contours of the African American Cooperative Movement, its development, periods of strength, and relationship to the Civil Rights Movement.