Each year in February Black History Month is celebrated throughout America and each year a theme is attached to be to the celebration. This year the theme that is being used to highlight black history is “Black Migration”.
The theme of black migration aims to highlight and recognize the historic effects the movement of blacks has had on the history of the United States.
Early in the 20th century, there was an increase of black industrial leaders and black entrepreneurs. This came about due to the movement of black families relocating from farms to cities, and from the South to the more industrialized Northeast and Midwest. Some of the mare notable of these figures include;
James Forten, who invented a sail making device that enabled him to create a highly profitable business. Forten soon acquired a fortune which by the 1830’s was estimated at $100,000 which in todays’ dollars would represent over $2.5 million.
In the 1850’s Samuel T. Wilcox became a wholesale and retail grocer in Cincinnati. Wilcox was known as one of the first to establish high-quality grocery stores, offering only the fanciest and best brands of hams, dried fruit, soaps, and other articles. Through his hard work and work ethic, Wilcox was soon enjoying annual sales of $140,000 per year (approximately $4.2 million, adjusted for inflation).
One of America’s first and most prominent African-American businesswomen was Annie Malone. Malone founded and developed Poro College, a commercial and educational business focused on cosmetics for black women. Through the school and the business, Malone created jobs for 75,000 women around the world. She’s recorded as the first black female millionaire in the United States, with a reported $14 million in assets in 1920 (a whopping $167 million by today’s standards).
This list of successful and influential people of African American decent and their contributions in shaping America’s history is vast and black history month gives us a chance to learn about more them and use them as role models.