The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African American Inventors

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African American Inventors

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African American Inventors

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African American Inventors

Synopsis

Successful entrepreneurs and inventors share valuable characteristics like self-confidence, perseverance, and the ability to conceptualize unrealized solutions or opportunities. However, another personality trait has been required for African Americans wishing to become business owners, creative thinkers, or patent holders: a willingness to overcome the additional barriers placed before them because of their race, especially in the era before civil rights.

"The Entrepreneurial Spirit of African American Inventors" provides historical accounts of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship among black Americans, from the 19th century to the present day. The author examines how these individuals stimulated industry, business activity, and research, helping shape the world as we know it and setting the precedent for the minority business tradition in the United States. This book also sheds light on fascinating advances made in metallurgy, medicine, architecture, and other fields that supply further examples of scientific inquiry and business acumen among African Americans.

Excerpt

In past centuries, American people of color were acknowledged by whites for their talent for music and dance, but any mention of the “Negro’s” innate ability in the realm of inventive genius was considered fantasy. Thought of as having little if any originality, they were presumed to possess mental deficiency in the mechanical and industrial arts and to be incapable of original thought. Even people of color themselves, coming from the previous condition of bondage and having very little opportunity for gaining knowledge in science, fine art, or literature, were unaware of members of their race who had the faculty for discovery. Whites reasoned that the black man could not perform like any person of the majority race. But the general assumption by whites that blacks were not capable of becoming inventors or had no business acumen was far from truthful. The paternalistic and denigrating attitudes of white supremacists permeated Western society, but in spite of their power and opinion, notable black ability and ingenuity prevailed.

Numerous accounts reflect innovative efforts of Americans of African descent, of those who believed in self-reliance and self-motivation. In earlier centuries blacks developed a strong business tradition. These stalwart, creative men and women helped make a better America, and they displayed entrepreneurial spirit identical to that of other immigrants in America. Free inhabitants in Northern and Southern cities and towns received considerable income from barbering, tailoring, catering, and the clothing business. Livery stable enterprises afforded freedmen another profitable effort.

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