The History of Blacks’ Buying Power Reaching $1 Trillion

Couple counting money

In 2012 Nielsen conducted a study that concluded that Blacks buying power would reach $1 trillion by 2015 and as we Celebrate Black History Month, such astronomical economic progress could be traced back nearly 100 years to its roots here in Los Angeles.

While Blacks only make up approximately 13 percent of the American population and own merely 5 percent of all U.S firms today, according to a Small Business Administration report, our Black pioneers set a remarkable trend that if continued would have solidified Blacks in the financial marketplace for generations to come.

Among the most significant individuals to influence the economic purchasing power of Blacks was the founding publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, Leon H. Washington Jr.  who initiated a campaign encouraging Blacks to “Don’t Spend Where You Can’t Work!”

In 1933 Washington left his advertising position at the California Eagle, then the oldest, largest Black newspaper here, and started his first newspaper, which he originally called The Eastside Shopper.

A year later, Washington renamed the paper, The Sentinel, which soon became a rival to the Eagle.

He married Sentinel photographer, Ruth Brumell, and subsequently appointed Mrs. Washington as an assistant publisher in 1948 because of failing health.

In the first two decades of its existence, Washington’s Sentinel championed economic equality and entrepreneurship for its mostly African-American readers in the Los Angeles community.

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Source: LA Sentinel

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