Drawn from his research on the first generation of African American U.S. consuls and diplomats, Allison Blakely's presentation will highlight three entrepreneurs from the19th and early 20th century, who were widely known then but are seldom mentioned now: Mifflin Wistar Gibbs (1823-1915), John L. Waller (1850-1907), and Richard T. Greener (1844-1922).

Blakely offers their experiences as exemplary evidence that what is generally known about achievements in Black entrepreneurship in American history barely begins to capture the broad scope and boldness of aspirations and accomplishments in that sphere over the centuries.

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About the Speaker

Allison Blakely is a Professor Emeritus of European and Comparative History at Boston University. His doctorate, in Russian History, is from the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of Blacks in the Dutch World: The Evolution of Racial Imagery in a Modern Society [Bloomington: Indiana University Press,1994]; and Russia and the Negro: Blacks in Russian History and Thought [Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press 1986], a winner of an American Book Award. Among his numerous chapters in edited anthologies is “Blacks in the U.S. Diplomatic and Consular Services, 1869-1924,” in Linda Heywood, Allison Blakely, Charles Stith, and Joshua C. Yesnowitz, eds, African Americans in U.S. Foreign Policy: From the Era of Frederick Douglass to the Age of Obama (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 13-29. His most recent scholarly publication is “Contested Blackness in Red Russia,” The Russian Review 75 (July, 2016): 359-67. He is a former President of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and serves on the Editorial Board of its magazine The American Scholar. He is also a member of the National Council on the Humanities, to which he was appointed by President Obama in 2010.

About the Series

This is the first workshop of the 2022-2023 academic year in our ongoing series: History and Legacy of Black Entrepreneurship in the United States.

Join the conversation as we bring together scholars and academics from institutions around the country to share out their research in a discussion-based forum.

By studying the history of Black entrepreneurship and innovation, we can gain an understanding of the creative strategies these entrepreneurs employed to succeed. We will discuss how the constraints they faced have limited overall economics of not only Black communities but our society as a whole. We will explore how so many of these constraints, which have become institutionalized, can be overcome in the future.

Online Event Details

Registrants will receive the link to the event content in an order confirmation email from Eventbrite, and in a reminder email before the event starts. 

Who can attend?

Open to the public, the campus community, students, graduate students, undergraduates, postdocs, research scholars, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Registration is required.