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.
Magic City Match is a program that transforms lives and opens doors for Black entrepreneurs and business owners. Led by REV Birmingham and powered by Prosper, this initiative aims to create opportunities for Black-owned businesses by matching them with brick-and-mortar spaces where they can thrive. After a successful pilot program in 2022, Magic City Match is back in action and ready to empower a new wave of entrepreneurs.
One of the most legendary and storied neighborhoods of Birmingham is Woodlawn. It is a community, anchored by one of the great public high schools of Birmingham, that has produced many citizens who contributed to the life of our city and has had an impact beyond the neighborhood itself. In a short post like this true justice cannot be done to the rich heritage and legacy of Woodlawn. However, we hope that this narrative brings together many of the diverse threads that make up the fabric of the community’s historic arc in a concise piece.
Woof, woof! I’ve been having an absolute blast visiting my sister in Downtown Birmingham. I can hardly wait to share all the details with you once you return from your vacation. In the meantime, I wanted to put paw to paper and tell you all about it, with the hope of convincing you that moving Downtown could be the most wonderful decision ever.