We Have Come This Far by Our Own Hands: A Tradition of African American Self-Help and Philanthropy and the Growth of Corporate Philanthropic Giving to African Americans1
Marsha Jean Darling
The long-standing commitment of African Americans to a tradition of self- help and organized charitable giving should neither be omitted from the analysis of American history nor diminished in importance alongside references to white philanthropy or government largess. The tradition of white philanthropy does not stand in lieu of African American self-help or charitable giving. A tradition of African American self-help, as benevolence and charitable giving, dates back to the early colonial era, while white giving to African Americans, as either individual or organized institutional assistance, does not have a historical longevity comparable to that of African American self-help and charitable giving. In fact, throughout most of this country's early history, if African Americans did not do for themselves, no one else did.
As one examines the historical, political, social, and economic experiences of the majority of America's racial minorities, the question of what promotes and facilitates community development is continually significant. Community development, the growth of vital services, and the evolution of the