Chicago Black Businesses: Passing the Torch

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black ownedby Lauren Johnson

Chicago has been a hub for black culture and traditions for decades since the migration of blacks from the South between 1915 and 1960. The rapid influx of blacks settling on the south side of Chicago strained the local economy, creating a need for foundational businesses like groceries, clothing stores, and doctors offices.

This problem still persists, although less drastically, to this day, as documented in the CTVN production “Black Owned.” The documentary features black-owned businesses throughout Chicago’s south side, with owners speaking out about the differences they hope to make in their communities by encouraging entrepreneurship in youth.
Quentin Wall, owner of Authentic Cooking Catering, looks to inspire youth in his neighborhood by letting them know they can benefit from utilizing the community around them.

“Just know you can open up your own business and you can rely on your own people to survive.”

As cited in “Black Owned.” Chicago has the most black-owned businesses per capita compared to other cities in the U.S. In addition, Chicago saw a 60.5% increase in black-owned businesses between 2002 and 2007.

Chicagoans believe the increase in black-owned businesses on the south side can lead to creating a stronger community with more resources. As a restaurant customer put it:

“If we spend money in our community, maybe then our money can be transferred to someone that lives in the community. If they improve their home, that improves the block. . . then the resources for the community increase.”

The need for black-owned businesses can lead to nothing but success to business owners on the south side and also build a stronger sense of community that inspires youth. Stay tuned to CTVN for spotlights and updates on black-owned businesses.

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