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The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis, 1920-1929$
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Christopher Robert Reed

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036231

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036231.001.0001

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The Golden Decade of Black Business

The Golden Decade of Black Business

(p.71) Chapter 3 The Golden Decade of Black Business
The Rise of Chicago's Black Metropolis, 1920-1929

Christopher Robert Reed

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines black business activities in Chicago in the 1920s. Robert S. Abbott, Jesse Binga, and Anthony Overton dominated the business activities of the Black Metropolis with their control over finance and information like no others in their community and very much like the business titans found throughout other major Chicago economic enclaves. Business was national king at this time and their collective presence provided a significant part of the foundation of making the Black Metropolis a reality. The economic influence of the 1920s built to such a crescendo that other interests and activities were virtually submerged to it as an epicenter. In fact, one internal memorandum of the NAACP concluded the following: “There are so many diversified interests in Chicago that the N.A.A.C.P. really suffers greatly from indifference on the part of the people.” These diversified interests were related to economics and the emergence of a consumers'society—working for extra money from which to increase spending and buying; spending for recreation and leisure rather than just for necessity; buying property, automobiles, and the new technological devices such as the refrigerator and record player; and investing in oil exploration, stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Keywords:   African American businesses, Chicago, blacks, business development, Black Metropolis, Robert S. Abbott, Jesse Binga, Anthony Overton

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