The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship

Volume 1, To 1865

Second Edition

By Juliet E. K. Walker

The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship

432 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5910-0
    Published: December 2009

Buy this Book

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Despite almost four centuries of black independent self-help enterprises, the agency of African Americans in attempting to forge their own economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship has remained noticeably absent from the historical record. Juliet Walker's award-winning book is the only source that provides a detailed study of the continuity, diversity, and multiplicity of independent self-help economic activities among African Americans. This new, updated edition covers African American business history through the end of the Civil War and features the first comprehensive account of black business during this era.

About the Author

Juliet E. K. Walker is professor of history at the University of Texas, Austin, and the founder and director of the Center for Black Business History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology.
For more information about Juliet E. K. Walker, visit the Author Page.


"Walker has produced an excellent, highly readable, and informative book that will stand the test for years to come as the standard in the field of black history. It is a superb contribution to the literature of African American history."--Journal of American History

"Like Du Bois's work a century before, Walker's book will attract scholars to the field of black business history and compel them to realize how this subject sheds considerable light on many aspects of American business history."--Business History Review

"This massive study does indeed break new ground, and in a big way. . . . It has interpretative depth and substance, stressing the African source of a mercantile ethos among blacks. . . . To be sure, no one can now contend that blacks lack an entrepreneurial tradition. . . . It is a first-rate piece of historical scholarship."--Journal of American Ethnic History

"Walker makes a magnificent contribution to the literature on African American entrepreneurship and capitalism. Shattering myths, pointing to possibilities, and refining our thinking about procrustean racism, Professor Walker explores perceptively a world where blacks have been much maligned and vilified. . . . No effective discussion of the black community can go on without Professor Walker's book as a basis for understanding the peculiarities and promises of Black life in America."--H-Net

"A richly detailed, sweeping examination of black business from precolonial Africa to the conclusion of the Civil War. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"Juliet Walker's History of Black Business in America is without peer. It is a must read for anyone who wishes to understand the struggle of African Americans in a field where there have always been barriers."--John Hope Franklin