African-American Contributions to Missouri's Economy
African-Americans have made invaluable contributions to the state’s economy. To wrap up Black History Month, MERIC presents statistics highlighting this population and their accomplishments:
African-American Economic History Timeline
Represents highlights only and not meant to be an inclusive look at African-American economic history.
Click here for an timeline of African-Americans in Missouri.
African slaves arrive in Jamestown; backbone of Southern economy for centuries
Slavery introduced to Missouri
Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, pioneer and explorer, builds Lake Michigan trading post that becomes Chicago
Afro-American Insurance Company founded in Philadelphia; first known insurance firm owned and managed by African-Americans
Thomas L. Jennings, first known African-American patent holder, for a dry-cleaning process. Sarah E. Goode, 1885, first African-American woman to receive patent, folding bed
Frank Johnson’s dance orchestra of Philadelphia tours England; believed to be first American band of any color to do so
Macon B. Allen becomes first licensed African-American lawyer when admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter, Allen becomes first African-American justice of the peace
William Liedesdorff, shipping magnate, San Francisco, believed first African-American millionaire
Slavery abolished in Washington, D.C.
Slavery abolished in Missouri
Lincoln Institute founded in Jefferson City by members of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantry
Augusta Institute, later Morehouse College, founded in Atlanta; Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Tuskegee Institute, home to new generation of entrepreneurs and educators, founded by Booker T. Washington
Provident Hospital, first true African-American hospital, founded in Chicago by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (later, Provident Hospital School of Nursing); foundation for Midwestern African-American healthcare. Dr. Williams conducts first known successful open-heart surgery there in 1893
Late 1800s- 1920s
Elijah McCoy has 57 patents for products (especially heavy machinery) so reliable they are origin of term "the real McCoy"
Golden age of African-American entrepreneurship in Kansas City
go to "Kansas City's Entrepreneurship 1900-1920"
George Washington Carver, born in Newton County in 1864 or 1865, develops hundreds of industrial uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans; new type of cotton; credited with first true biofuel and for introducing crop rotation to farmers in the South
Harlem Renaissance poet James Weldon Johnson composes lyrics to "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing", commonly known as "Negro (or Black) National Anthem"
Niagara Movement founded by W.E.B. Dubois, others, to promote full civil liberties and an end to racial discrimination; group becomes NAACP in 1909
Chicago Defender, largest and most influential African-American newspaper of early 20th century, founded
National Urban League founded
St. Louis Argus founded by Joseph E. Mitchell and George Vaughan; still published today
Lincoln Motion Picture Company, believed to be first African-American production company, founded in Los Angeles
African-American architect Vertner Woodson Tandy, believed to be first African-American architect licensed in New York State, designs mansion for African-American cosmetics magnate Madame C. J. Walker, believed to be first African-American female millionaire (hair straightening products), Hudson River north of New York City
Kansas City Call founded by Chester A. Franklin; also still published
Businessman/inventor Garrett A. Morgan patents the traffic signal
A. Phillip Randolph organizes Brotherhood of Sleeping Porters; considered first true African-American union
James W. Ford, first African-American on a presidential ticket, Communist Party USA, vice president
United Negro College Fund founded
President Truman orders integration of all U.S. armed forces
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (Kan.): U.S. Supreme Court outlaws racial segregation of public education. Separate but equal legal doctrine dead
"The Nat King Cole Show" debuts, first African-American-hosted network television show
John Harold Johnson (Ebony, Jet), first African-American on Forbes 400 list of richest Americans
"The Oprah Winfrey Show" debuts in Chicago. Forbes says the queen of all media is now worth $1.3 billion
Robert Johnson (Black Entertainment Television network) declared first African-American billionaire
Year of the African-American CEO: Kenneth Chenault, American Express; E. Stanley O'Neal, Merrill Lynch; Richard Parsons, AOL Time Warner -- and Ephren Taylor, 24, youngest African-American CEO ever, City Capital Corporation and AmoroCorp
Sources: US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2005 and 2002 Survey of Business Owners; Missouri Secretary of State Archives; historymakers.com; Black Archives of Mid-America; African American Odyssey; wikipedia; yahoo news; forbes.com