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THE BUSINESS OF DR. KING’S DREAM
As we mark another anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., many commemorations will center around singing and praising and speech making. The message will be that Dr. King dreamed of an America in which equal opportunity was not a slogan, but a practice in all Institutions.
One of the things that I think gets missed when discussing the dreams of Dr. King is that his vision went beyond equal employment, education, and housing. He understood that there also needed to be equal opportunity in business development for Black Americans. He knew that it wasn’t going to be enough just to fix the schools, or fix hiring practices; Black folk need to seek self-sufficiency through owning and operating their own businesses.
Prior to, and in the early stages of the Movement, Blacks did own and operate their own businesses. Many were successful, but that success was limited by the restraints of racism and bigotry. Once Dr. King enlightened society about the injustices America imposed on Blacks, opportunities began to develop. Think about the most successful Black owned businesses in America, and all of them owe some portion of their success to the works of Dr. King.
Today, there are more Black businesses in America than ever before, but there needs to be more. Blacks have to continue to cultivate opportunities to be producers and not just consumers. And Blacks need to understand that markets are no longer just local; that you can market your products and services to the world. The more we move to an entrepreneurial mindset, the more we separate ourselves from an entitlement mindset. Yes, I understand that every Black person can’t start their own business, but what I do know is that more opportunity exists today than it did fifty years ago. I’m suggesting that those who are so inclined should take advantage.
Is America as fair and equal today as it should be? Absolutely not. Do opportunities exist for Blacks to grow and develop businesses? Absolutely. I suggest to you that these opportunities were also part of Dr. King’s Dream. And so I ask, “How are you pursuing Dr. King’s Dream?