Atelier 6, article 2

© excerpt from A People’s History of the United States :
by Howard Zinn

[As early as the 1960s] Attempts began to do with blacks what had been done historically with whites --to lure a small number into the system with economic enticements. There was talk of "black capitalism." ...

Chase Manhattan Bank and the Rockefeller family (controllers of Chase) took a special interest in developing "black capitalism." The Rockefellers had always been financial patrons for the Urban League, and a strong influence in black education through their support of Negro colleges in the South. David Rockefeller tried to persuade his fellow capitalists that while helping black businessmen with money might not be fruitful in the short run, it was necessary "to share an environment in which business can continue earning a profit four or five or ten years from now." With all of this, black business remained infinitesimally small. The largest black corporation (Motown Industries) had sales in 1974 or $45 million, while Exxon Corporation has sales of $42 billion. The total receipts of black-owned firms accounted for 0.3 percent of all business income.