Telling New Stories About N.C.’s Past
Many historians refer to the years between 1890 and 1950 —commonly known as the “Jim Crow era” — as the nadir of race relations in the United States. Segregation was enshrined in law in the South, and de-facto segregation was culturally accepted in the North.
Even in this hostile atmosphere, though, many African-American entrepreneurs — some former slaves — discovered economic niches, built businesses, and amassed sizeable fortunes.
“These African-Americans were creating wealth and providing jobs,” said Troy Kickler, Founding Director of the North Carolina History Project, in describing his February 2013 series on entrepreneurship among African-Americans during slavery and the Jim Crow years. “How much wealth and how many jobs could they have created if they had been allowed to fully participate in the market?”
This is one of many historical observations made by Troy, and one of many reasons why his initiative housed at the free-market think tank the John Locke Foundation has proved so valuable.
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