Using historical and present data, this presentation examines the contribution of Black entrepreneurship to the continuous re-birth of people of means, shopkeepers, or the Black bourgeoisie. 

Forgotten data from works such as W.E.B. Dubois’ 1896 study Economic Co-Operation Among Negro Americans, his 1911 book The College Bred Negro, shows that by the 1940s, Black families in this tradition were in their third generation of college matriculation (Charles Johnson’s The Negro College Graduate). Evidence from Monroe Works research on the Negro Business Leagues shows how by 1911 blacks were just as likely to be self-employed than most Americans. 

Dr. John S. Butler will discuss his own work, Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans:  A Reconsideration of Race and Economics, to compare black Americans with other self-help entrepreneurial groups which adopted the entrepreneurial model for adjustment to American Society. 

This tradition continues today in the form of a value system which is grounded in Black success, and shows how homophily continues to fuel the black bourgeoisie through organizations and endowments. The data explored from the 1700s to the present allows for the understanding and presentation of models which accounts for the continued success of Black Americans in this tradition.  Attendees will learn how this model can fuel a rebirth among communities who have been lost in the wilderness.


Watch the talk on YouTube [00:59:54]

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Speaker Bio

John Sibley Butler holds the J. Marion West Chair for Constructive Capitalism in the Graduate School of Business, Department of Management at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the Management Department and holds a joint appointment in Organizational Behavior in the College of Liberal Arts, where he holds the Darrell K. Royal Regents Professorship in Ethics and American Society (Sociology). His research is in the areas of Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship/New Ventures. His research appears in professional journals and books. He is the Sam Barshop Fellow at The IC2 Institute, an organization dedicated to the creation of new ventures throughout the world. Professor Butler has been involved as a founder of Glofish and Nuclien.

For the last seven years, Professor Butler has occupied the Distinguished Visiting Professor position at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan, where he lectured on new venture start-ups and general entrepreneurship. This past year, he was named as a distinguished Libra Professorship at The University of Southern Maine.

Professor Butler has served as a consultant for many firms and the U.S. Military. At this time, he is Management Consultant for State Farm Insurance Companies, with Corporate Headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. In this connection, he has given lectures on general management issues of corporate America. He is also one of the distinguished professors who composed the Economic Advisory Team of Governor George Bush’s 2000 Presidential Campaign.

Professor Butler has appeared on over 30 radio and television programs, including Eye On America (CBS Nightly News), The Jim Leher News Hour, CBS Radio Talk Show, The Osgood Report, and Public Radio. In addition, Professor Butler’s research has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, and other newspapers and magazines across America. His books include Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black America: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics; All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way (with Charles C. Moskos – Winner of the Washington Monthly Best Book Award); Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurship: The Continuous Rebirth of American Communities (with George Kozmetsky, forthcoming); and, Forgotten Citations: Studies in Community, Entrepreneurship, and Self-Help Among Black-Americans (with Patricia Gene Greene and Margaret Johnson, forthcoming).

Professor Butler received his undergraduate education from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

More about the History and Legacy of Black Entrepreneurship in the United States lectures and workshops

Who can attend?

Open to the public and the campus community.

Registration is required.