The editors provide a historic overview of African American entrepreneurship in Chicago. Beginning with the pioneering entrepreneurial exploits of Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable, persons of African descent have long engaged in commercial activities in the Windy City. Early on, during the nineteenth century, most black Chicago businesspersons featured whites as their primary clients. Yet, because the twentieth century featured a simultaneous rise in both the city’s African American population and white antagonism toward blacks, a new breed of black entrepreneur emerged that focused upon serving the needs of a perceived “Black Metropolis.” This ultimately resulted in Chicago’s primacy as a center of black business activity. However, in the early twenty-first century, due to a variety of circumstances, Chicago’s African American business community has diminished.
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