How to Buy Black

Spending with economic self-help as a goal takes more than good intentions. Here are 14 strategies for conducting your own empowerment experiment

The Andersons

When Chicagoans John and Maggie Anderson made a pledge to spend all of their income with black-owned businesses for an entire year, they launched a movement that would eventually become The Empowerment Experiment ( The story of that year, 2009, has now been told in a new book by Maggie Anderson, Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy (PublicAffairs; $25.99).

Along the way, the Andersons—highly educated, upper-middle-class professional parents of two young daughters—discovered that spending with a focus on community self-help takes more than just good intentions—it requires a strategic approach. In the following excerpt from Our Black Year, Anderson details 14 key tips to take economic empowerment from lofty notion to practical and executable reality. Here’s what it takes to follow their “buy black” example.

Maggie’s Tips for Buying Black the EE Way

Begin with the “low hanging fruit.”
Make it easy on yourself: Jump-start your new lifestyle by altering your spending habits on what is most convenient. Subscribe to a black newspaper or magazine, support black designers at the department stores, buy black-made products at mass retailers and grocery stores, open an account at a black-owned bank, buy gift cards at a black-owned McDonald’s or Burger King.

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  1. Pingback: How to Buy Black | Black Liberation Army

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