‘We want no more economic islands': the mobilization of the black consumer market in post war U.S.

Ronny Regev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

WWII ushered in an era of economic growth in the United States, which enshrined consumption as an integral part of liberal citizenship. Black Americans were often excluded from the benefits of this ‘affluent society,’ due to the prevalence of segregation and discrimination in the name of white supremacy. Still, throughout the 1940s and 1950s, a network of black intellectuals and business leaders promoted their own vision of economic abundance. By emphasizing the power of the ‘black market,’ the Afro-American economic elite advocated for a black consumer society, in which black shoppers used their buying power to promote racial uplift. Following the full contours of the African American consumer discourse reveals that the preoccupation with the black shopper helped turn this quotidian identity into a political category and marked the commercial realm as a viable arena in the struggle for civil rights.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)45-69
Number of pages25
JournalHistory of Retailing and Consumption
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • African American buying power
  • Black consumer
  • civil rights movement post war U.S‌
  • consumer culture

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