The Empowerment Experiment (formerly called the Ebony Experiment as of March 12, 2009), was co-founded by John and Maggie Anderson of Oak Park, Illinois. Steven S. Rogers, director of the Kellogg Entrepreneurial Practice Center at Northwestern University’s Graduate School of Management, serves as an Executive Advisor to the experiment, which is a year-long study designed to find out what happens when people buy things only from black-owned businesses.
Some participants who are committed to this movement have been willing to drive substantially longer distances than what they had driven before the movement started, in order to purchase goods from black-owned businesses.
By May 12, 2009, 4,000 people had signed up on the Andersons’ website to participate in their experiment.
The United States has one million black-owned businesses, which account for more than $100 billion in annual sales. Blacks have more than $800 billion in expendable income each year.
Lawrence Hamer, associate professor of marketing at DePaul University, praised the experiment as being “brave and courageous,” and said the rationale for it was “exactly right.”
James E. Clingman, who writes frequently about African-American economic empowerment, and also teaches a class on black entrepreneurship at the University of Cincinnati, said, “I’d rather have more black businesses than black politicians.”
Gregory Price, chairman of the economics department at Morehouse College, said the ideas behind the movement were similar to the ideas expressed by black visionaries like Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey. Price also said, “The idea is a sound one, given that black Americans are still underrepresented in the ranks of the self-employed and that entrepreneurship is a key component to wealth.”
- ^ Jump up to:ab c d Couple’s ‘buy black’ experiment becomes a movement, Associated Press, May 12, 2009
- ^Their year of buying black Archived 2008-12-21 at the Wayback Machine, Chicago Sun Times, December 20, 2008.
- ^ Jump up to:ab c Oak Park couple travel far and wide to buy only from black-owned businesses, The Chicago Tribune, March 9, 2009