The Power Of Black Cooperatives Is More Relevant Than Ever Before

black tenants eating dinner
Via Picryl
Leslie Taylor-Grover
May 3, 2023

Our community has a rich history of working together through cooperatives. And now cooperative ownership could be the key to our financial and political futures.

During enslavement, we pooled our resources to pay for burials, care for the sick, provide for children, purchase land, and buy freedom for each other. One of the most famous cooperatives was the Underground Railroad, which both free and enslaved Black people created with their money and property.

Whether fighting for the rights of Black workers during the Great Depression or growing food when we were freed from plantations, Black cooperatives supported our people. Because we faced retaliation from white detractors, much of that history has been hidden. But we can use our knowledge of that history to tap into the power of cooperatives today.

Black cooperatives started small. Many began as book clubs or study groups. Civil rights organizations like SNCC and The Black Lives Movement were direct results of our people working together for our own good, financially and politically. Those small groups worked with other groups and our power grew.

What would happen if you and a small group of friends started meeting in your community about issues you want to see changed?