Our year Buying Black by Maggie Anderson

Our year buying  Black

Author is mostly known for

Maggie Anderson is known for her campaign to buy only from black enterprises in 2009.

Margarita Anderson and her family made history and dominated headlines as national media covered their year-long stand living exclusively off Black businesses, professionals, and products for an entire year.  This first-ever real-life case study in self-help economics was called The Empowerment Experiment (EE). Their experiment resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business which proved with the data from the Anderson’s journey how incremental support of Black businesses can rescue the Black community and improve the American economy as a whole.

Author whereabouts 

Since the experiment, Margarita has become the face of a conscious consumerism movement uniting consumers, corporations, and the quality Black businesses that can rescue struggling communities and provide role models to Black youth.  A sought-after speaker, she tours the country inspiring more consumer and corporate engagement of Black professionals and firms.  Margarita appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS Newshour, and CBS Morning News, among many other national television and radio shows…and uses her growing platform to increase awareness about economic inequalities that starve Black neighborhoods and deny Black businesses, and how proactive support of Black businesses can create jobs and curb crime in America.


Maggie and John Anderson were successful African American professionals raising two daughters in a tony suburb of Chicago. But they felt uneasy over their good fortune. Most African Americans live in economically starved neighborhoods. Black wealth is about one tenth of white wealth, and black businesses lag behind businesses of all other racial groups in every measure of success. One problem is that black consumers–unlike consumers of other ethnicities–choose not to support black-owned businesses. At the same time, most of the businesses in their communities are owned by outsiders.

On January 1, 2009 the Andersons embarked on a year-long public pledge to “buy black.” They thought that by taking a stand, the black community would be mobilized to exert its economic might. They thought that by exposing the issues, Americans of all races would see that economically empowering black neighborhoods benefits society as a whole. Instead, blacks refused to support their own, and others condemned their experiment. Drawing on economic research and social history as well as her personal story, Maggie Anderson shows why the black economy continues to suffer and issues a call to action to all of us to do our part to reverse this trend

Key themes/Topics

  • Black Economic Empowerment
  • Buy Black
  • History of Black Business in the United States
  • Black Entrepreneur in the Chicago area
  •  History of Black business in  Chicago
  • Self-help Economics
  • Consumer Activism

I found strange

I picked this book mainly because I was considering doing the same thing as the author. I was anxious to learn about previous experiences of liked-minded people. I did not expect that the author and her family will restrict themselves on so many levels just to prove a point. That being said, nothing was strange in the book itself.

I have read some reviews on the web who critiqued the author on the fact that the book overemphasizes the experiment side.  I don’t really see it as an issue. The truth of the matter is, it was an experiment to shine a light on an issue. The author and her family was very dedicated to the project as you will discover in your reading.

I found brilliant

The book alternate between stories of the personal struggle of the families and historical facts about African American Business in the US and more specifically in the Chicago area. I have never lived in the area so I couldn’t related to many things that were mentioned in the book. However, I did appreciate the reference to black intellectuals and the research they conducted on the subject.

I also very much appreciate the candid observations on the “black consumer”. The black consumer is very elusive and difficult to comprehend.. And I can attest to that fact since I have tried my hand as a business owner. The author made the effort to try to understand the root cause of a lot of these issues. It is very easy and tempting to blame the black consumer, however, we must acknowledge that there is an historical context that drives a lot of the actions the community faces.

What to expect

You can expect more understanding of the plight of black business owners in America. You will also gain a new understanding of the Black consumer , mainly African American. The family struggle is also quite heroic. You will fall in love with the family. And finally, You will also find a lot resources in the back of the book to help you embark on your own journey of supporting black business. I highly recommend this important book.

As for my self, this book has strengthened my resolve to sought and support black business in any way that I can.




2 responses to “Our year Buying Black by Maggie Anderson”

  1. Ndeye Sene Mbaye Avatar

    Reblogged this on afropreneursblog and commented:

    Note de Lecture/Book review: Our Year Buying Black by Maggie Anderson


  2. donnasartofnow Avatar

    Who knew? Thanks so much for sharing


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