By Elijah Davis
Strategic Growth Manager
Urban Impact Birmingham
Happy National Black Business Month!
Birmingham has a rich history and present of Black-owned businesses. This month, we celebrate Black-owned businesses through patronage and advocacy. National Black Business Month was founded by Historian John William Templeton and engineer Frederick E. Jordan Sr founded National Black Business Month in August 2004 to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses,” which also references a larger tradition of “Black August” – a month that observes the historical Black resistance of the Diaspora. The Black August tradition was brought back in to focus locally by social impact firm Elevators in recent years.
From the Alabama Penny Savings Bank to Windham Brothers Construction Co. to James Armstrong’s barbershop to Green Acres to Yo’ Mama’s Restaurant, Birmingham’s Black businesses have always contributed to its vibrancy and has always been foundational to its economy.
We believe that Birmingham can only reach its potential when its current Black residents have fair, equitable and reciprocal access to the economy.
We serve one of the most famous hubs of Black-owned businesses, the Historic 4th Ave. Business District (Birmingham’s Black Business District), one of last remaining and one of the best-preserved “Black Wall Streets” with 55+ Black-owned businesses, 20+ Black property owners and a host of legacy businesses like the Etheridge Brothers Barbershop, which is celebrating 50 years in business.
This month, with the mainstream more aware than ever of the plight of Black-owned businesses, we focus on the promise of what Birmingham can be. We must urgently, holistically and unequivocally support Black lives and Black livelihoods.
We believe that Birmingham can only reach its potential when its current Black residents have fair, equitable and reciprocal access to the economy. We believe Birmingham is better when its businesses look like the city it serves, employs the city it serves and invests in the city it serves.
We invite you to join us in celebrating and advocating for Birmingham’s Black-owned businesses this month, and year-round! Here are some ways REV Birmingham and Urban Impact Birmingham are inviting you to get involved
Participate in “Black Business Fridays” with the Great Receipt Race.
Use blkLSTed to find, list and support Black-owned businesses in the City of Birmingham.
Learn about and support one of the most important places in Birmingham’s city center, the Historic 4th Ave. Business District and Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument District.
Over the course of the month, we’ll invite key voices in community and economic development to speak on aspects of the plight and promise of Black-owned businesses in Birmingham. Together, we can build a more vibrant and just future for Birmingham.
If you’ve been following REV for a while, you probably remember The Big Pitch Competitions we used to hold back in the day. The Big Pitch presented by PNC was essentially our own little version of Shark Tank. And a lot of your favorite local businesses that participated in this competition now have active retail storefronts that you can go check out. Let’s start with some of our finalists that are based in the City of Birmingham and see what they’ve been up to!
Have you been to Downtown Birmingham’s newest development located on 25th Street? If not, you need to head down there ASAP and check it out! This new single story development is a product of a collaboration between David Baker Architects (DBA) and Locke General Contractors, led by DBA’s very own Amanda Loper. It is intended to be a “collaborative commercial space in a catalyst development area of Birmingham.” Both DBA and Locke General Contractors will be tenants of the space, along with June Coffee Roasters, Zephyr Barber, and Last Call Baking Cooperative!
One of Birmingham’s many hidden treasures is the music scene downtown. The sheer volume of concert venues we have in downtown Birmingham is something most people aren’t even aware of – but it really is remarkable! There is truly something for everyone, whether you’re into the smaller, more intimate venues or the large-scale venues for those big name artists. Keep reading to check out some of the cool venues downtown Birmingham has to offer.