Entrepreneurship and Self-Help among Black Americans

A Reconsideration of Race and Economics, Revised Edition

By John Sibley Butler

Subjects: African American Studies
Series: SUNY series in Ethnicity and Race in American Life
Paperback : 9780791458945, 416 pages, March 2005
Hardcover : 9780791458938, 416 pages, March 2005

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Table of contents

List of Tables

Preface to the Revised Edition

1. The Sociology of Entrepreneurship

2. Race and Entrepreneurship: A Respecification

3. "To Seek for Ourselves": Benevolent, Insurance, and Banking Institutions

4. Entrepreneurship under an Economic Detour

5. Durham, North Carolina: An Economic Enclave

6. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Business Success and Tragedy

7. The Reconstruction of Race, Ethnicity and Economics: Toward a Theory of the Afro-American Middleman

8. The Present Status of Afro-American Business: The Resurrection of Past Solutions

9. Conclusion and Policy Implications




This long-awaited revision of a classic work traces the unique development of business enterprises and other community organizations among black Americans from before the Civil War to the present.


Since its publication in 1991, Entrepreneurship and Self-Help among Black Americans has become a classic work, influencing the study of entrepreneurship and, more importantly, revitalizing a research tradition that places new ventures at the very center of success for black Americans. This revised edition updates and enhances the work by bringing it into the twenty-first century. John Sibley Butler traces the development of black enterprises and other community organizations among black Americans from before the Civil War to the present. He compares these efforts to other strong traditions of self-help among groups such as Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans, Greek Americans, and exciting new research on the Amish and the Pakistani. He also explores how higher education is already a valued tradition among black self-help groups—such that today their offspring are more likely to be third and fourth generation college graduates. Butler effectively challenges the myth that nothing can be done to salvage America's underclass without a massive infusion of public dollars, and offers a fresh perspective on those community based organizations and individuals who act to solve local social and economic problems.

John Sibley Butler is Professor of Sociology and Management and holds the Gale Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He is Visiting Distinguished Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, School of International Politics, Economics, and Business, in Tokyo, Japan, and is Distinguished Libra Professor at the University of Southern Maine, where he is working to enhance the economic prosperity of that region. He is also the editor of The National Journal of Sociology.