Maggie Anderson Our Black Year Panel Discussion at the African American Museum

Author Maggie Anderson who wrote the book “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy”, which chronicled her family’s life for one year buying only black. Signing and Panel Discussion at the
African American Museum
Maggie and John Anderson were successful African American professionals raising two daughters in a tony suburb of Chicago. But they felt uneasy over their good fortune. Most African Americans live in economically starved neighborhoods. Black wealth is about one tenth of white wealth, and black businesses lag behind businesses of all other racial groups in every measure of success. One problem is that black consumers–unlike consumers of other ethnicities– choose not to support black-owned businesses. At the same time, most of the businesses in their communities are owned by outsiders.
On January 1, 2009 the Andersons embarked on a year-long public pledge to “buy black.” They thought that by taking a stand, the black community would be mobilized to exert its economic might. They thought that by exposing the issues, Americans of all races would see that economically empowering black neighborhoods benefits society as a whole. Instead, blacks refused to support their own, and others condemned their experiment. Drawing on economic research and social history as well as her personal story, Maggie Anderson shows why the black economy continues to suffer and issues a call to action to all of us to do our part to reverse this trend. (amazon)
After wards there was a very informative panel discussion with five black owned business people to discuss ways that the black community can support each other.

Above: moderated by A. Bruce Crawley, President and CEO of Millennium 3
Management, Inc., on the topic of supporting fellow African American businesses.
Along with Anderson, panelists include Steven Bradley, President & CEO of Bradley &
Bradley Associates, Inc. and Chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce
PA, NJ & DE, Steve Davis, President & CEO of Omega Optical and Megan R. Smith, President of Brownstone PR and Patricia Coulter, President & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia.African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population but represent
anywhere from 25-40 percent of the consumer base for grocery stores, fast food
restaurants, athletic apparel, and toy stores. Anderson urges black America to move back to the neighborhoods, it’s your duty to help the community.Patricia Coulter, (left) President & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia. Did you know that in the Asian community a dollar circulates among local shop owners, banks, and business professionals for up to 28 days before it is spent with outsiders. In the Jewish community, a dollar circulates for 19 days. In the African
American community a dollar is gone within 6 hours. Maggie Anderson (right) invest in a black bank: United Bank. Education is the key to the children learning to buy from the community.
Steve Davis, President & CEO of Omega Optical (I bought my glasses from Omega Optical. They’re snazzy.) Steve discussed how many of his workers are people you see in the community, maybe you know them from church. He discussed his investments in the community and the charity work the store does.
Patricia Coulter, (left) President & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia. You need to find out what kind of investment is a company making in your community. If I go to a dress shop I want to know where are the black designers, if they don’t have any walk out. If we use our dollars as power, as a statement, people will listen. Anderson (right) says she no longer buys Polo to wear, and she won’t drink Hennessy, a favorite of Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy and Kanye West.
Kimberely Highsmith, B-Mor Technologies asked how do we get the word out. Most of her clients are not from the black community? The panel responded education of the kids, church, community groups and social media. Plus we need to encourage the black community to open stores, to start companies, to not be reliant to be the worker but to be the boss too.
Robert W. Bogle is president and chief executive officer of The Philadelphia Tribune (seated) and standing E. Steven Collins. Others spotted in the crowd Councilwomen Blondell Reynolds Brown, Baba Taiye Renfrow, Tracy Davis, Dwight Evans, and many more notable peeps.
Harold Epps, President and CEO at PRWT Services, Inc. put it best: Take $2,000 that you would normally spend, just spend it in the community. Invest in the community.
LinkThere was a cocktail hour beforehand and I photographed a few people.
Dr. Joi Spraggins and Chris Lewis
Carlton Langley, and Karla Trotman
Mariska Bogle looking stylish as usual. Megan Smith, Brownstone PR said that the event was a fantastic opportunity for the African American American Chamber of Commerce, PA,NJ,DE, PRWT Services, the Urban League of Philadelphia, NAMD and the African American Museum of Philadelphia to come together around an issue that is of great importance to our communities: the extreme need for African Americans to support and champion African American owned businesses and organizations. It goes beyond simply ‘buying Black’; rather, this conversation spoke to the need for a strategic effort to effectively recycle the dollars in our community.
Check out: Author Maggie Anderson of “Our Black Year” on w/ on 2/27/12