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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The National Negro Business League in New York City, Niagara Falls, and Other Cities and Towns in New York State

by Michael Boston

In 1900 Booker T. Washington founded the National Negro Business League (NNBL), which was an organization designed to “stimulate” and “promote” business development among African Americans throughout the nation.[1] As a national leader, Washington consistently received numerous requests to speak throughout the country. En route to many of his engagements, he had the rare opportunity to observe many African Americans single-handedly engaged in business ventures. According to Washington, “the number of successful business men and women of the Negro race that I was continually coming in contact with during my travels throughout the country was a source of surprise and pleasure to me. My observations in this regard led me . . . to believe that the time had come for bringing together the leading and most successful colored men and women in the country who were engaged in business.”[2] Washington felt that if he could have these businesspersons meet and interact with one another, they would be further encouraged and inspire others in their respective communities to undertake entrepreneurial ventures. Moreover, during the winter of 1900, Washington, T. Thomas Fortune, the owner and editor of The New York Age[3], the leading African-American paper of the day, Emmett J. Scott, Washington’s official secretary, and other friends discussed strategies for bringing together African-American entrepreneurs and for promoting business development among African Americans.[4]

These men agreed that a meeting should be held in Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday and Friday, August 23 and 24. They viewed these dates as a good time for a meeting because they were considered slack periods for businesspersons, as well as for Washington, who had a demanding executive role at Tuskegee Institute. Moreover, during the summer of 1900, steamship lines and railroads had reduced rates to Boston.[5] To bring the meeting to fruition and promote business development, a list of business persons that resided throughout the country was compiled, and a circular was generated, inviting them to come to Boston for the first meeting. The requirement for actively participating was that an individual “be engaged in business.” Washington’s goal for the first meeting (and all ensuing ones) was to allow businesspersons to gain knowledge and encouragement from one another and motivate the delegates to establish local business leagues among African Americans in their respective communities.[6] Being a practical man, Washington would take pride in this because he felt that African Americans actually engaged in business ventures and expressing their “ups and downs” was more helpful than theoretical advice. Expressing himself further concerning the intent of the first meeting, Washington wrote:

It is very important that every line of business that any Negro man or woman is engaged in be represented. This meeting will present a great opportunity for us to show the world what progress we have made in business lines since our freedom. This organization is not in opposition to any other now in existence but is expected to do a distinct work that no other organization, now in existence, can do as well.[7]



From 1900 to 1915, the NNBL Annual meetings became the most popular occasions for Washington to espouse his entrepreneurial ideas. Washington grew to believe that entrepreneurial development was a critical means by which African Americans could make themselves “an indispensible asset” to the nation and thereby contribute toward ending “the Race Problem.” Following the pattern established at the First Annual meeting in Boston, Washington usually spoke twice. He would give opening remarks, usually after the invocation. These opening remarks were generally comments welcoming the delegates who had come from places near and far, and Washington would thank the local league that was responsible for sponsoring the annual meeting and the related social outings. Toward the end of the meeting, Washington would give his annual address. A larger audience, consisting of the usual NNBL delegates and non-delegates who had come just to hear Washington speak, would usually gather to hear him. In these addresses, Washington promoted his entrepreneurial ideas, telling delegates and non-delegates to 1) get practical education, to 2) find an economic niche, to 3) start small in business and grow large, to 4) pay the price of business success, to 5) put the attention of religious faith into the practices of their business activities, to 6) learn all they could about their business fields and never to become content, to 7) not be afraid to take risks, to 8) pioneer businesses and to 9) conduct business in all markets.

In conjunction with Washington’s rising hegemonic leadership status over Black America, the popularity of the NNBL increased and local branches were established throughout the nation—north, south, east and west. For instance, in 1906, 400 local leagues had been reported as being established; by 1909, The Tuskegee Student, a publication of Tuskegee Institute, reported that 500 local leagues were scattered throughout the country,[8] and for the years 1914-15, Monroe N. Work, author of The Negro Year Book, 1914-15, reported 295-chartered leagues.[9] How reliable these figures are is debatable,[10] but the NNBL by 1915 probably had close to 300 local leagues, which were generally identified by the fact that they had been chartered.[11] Most local business leagues operated in the southern states due to the higher preponderance of African Americans in that section, especially prior to the First and Second Great Migration movements.

Although most local business leagues operated in the South, local business league leaders of New York City strove to follow Washington’s directive of stimulating and promoting business development in their midst. Washington’s presence served as an inducement for this. As Tuskegee Institute experienced rapid growth, especially after Washington’s 1895 Atlanta Exposition Address, he was compelled to be away from campus six months a year, largely for fund-raising purposes. A significant portion of his time away from Tuskegee Institute was spent in New York City. There he interacted with a cohort of individuals who became crucial members of his “Tuskegee Machine”[12] and promoters of African-American business development.

T. Thomas Fortune, an intellectual leader and journalist who vehemently disagreed with Frederick Douglass’s stance that the Republican Party was the ship and all else was the sea, promoted African-American business development in the New York Age. He featured African-American entrepreneurs in his paper and advertised their “goods and services.” Perhaps no other newspaper in the country detailed the activities of the NNBL to the extent that the New York Age did. It featured the annual meeting from 1900 to 1915 and beyond, during the timeframe in which Fortune owned the paper and when ownership passed on to another Tuskegee Machine member—Fred Moore.[13] In fact, in 1900 at the first annual meeting, Fortune presented a paper titled “The Negro Publisher.”[14] He is credited for being a ghost writer for Washington’s book The Negro in Business, a work that strongly advocated African-American business development.[15] In helping to organize the NNBL, Fortune strongly believed “that economic development” was a means by which African Americans “could achieve real freedom.”

Philip A. Payton, Jr., who advertised in T. Thomas Fortune’s newspaper and who was another respectable member of the NNBL, in 1904, founded the Afro-American Realty Company, which was a firm that rented Harlem properties.[16] Payton, besides being commonly acknowledged as a successful businessman throughout a significant portion of his career, is most remembered for his activities in opening Harlem to African-American tenants. Reputedly, one angry Harlem realtor, in attempting to get back at another Harlem realtor, allowed Payton to rent apartments in one of his buildings to African Americans. This caused “white flight,” which thereby opened-up other rental properties and ultimately Harlem to African Americans.[17] And, as history has shown, Harlem grew to become one of the most, if not the most, cosmopolitan African-American community in the nation. Payton, due to his efforts, is often referred to as “the Father of Black Harlem.”

Payton, who was also instrumental in helping to organize the 1905 annual NNBL meeting in New York City, attributes his inspiration in organizing the Afro-American Realty Company to the ideas and work of Booker T. Washington. It was while he was in attendance at the 1902 annual NNBL meeting in Richmond, Virginia that he gained the inspiration to form his company.[18] Furthermore, after the Afro-American Realty Company was formed, Payton brought in other NNBL members as shareholders or members of his board of directors.[19] His most popular stockholder and board member was Emmett J. Scott, the corresponding secretary of the NNBL and Washington’s assistant.[20] Although the Afro-American Realty company had its problems and ultimately failed,[21] initially in the “Washingtonian framework,” Payton was viewed as a pioneer willing to venture out and take risks who was worthy of emulation.

With the NNBL becoming more “institutionalized” and “an expanding forum for Booker T. Washington to espouse his business ideas,” the Executive Committee of the NNBL decided to hire a “national organizer” in 1903 whose job was to travel throughout the country and help “revitalize” and “organize” local business leagues. That duty went to New York City resident Fred R. Moore, an individual who edited the Colored American Magazine, helped organize the 1905 annual NNBL meeting held in New York City who held economic ideas similar to Washington’s but at times more “nationalistic,” and likely introduced to Washington through his good friend T. Thomas Fortune.[22]

As national organizer until about 1907, Moore traveled throughout New York State promoting business development. He visited Poughkeepsie and spoke to a receptive audience.[23] He spoke at St. James A. M. E. Zion Church in Ithaca.[24] During the Antebellum Period, Harriett Tubman periodically worshipped at this church, which had been an Underground Railroad Station led at one time by a bold fugitive slave—“the Reverend Jeremiah Loguen.” Moore visited East Spencer where he met George W. Cook, who was a brick manufacturer and secretary of the local business league of Ithaca.[25] Considering his New York State travels, sources indicate that Moore spent the bulk of his time organizing in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This may have been in harmony with the outlook of Booker T. Washington because in 1906 he received a letter from Theodore W. Jones, an important Chicago Tuskegee Machine member who had advised Washington to have Moore operate mainly in the South and in cities in “northern” and “western locales” that had fairly large African-American populations.[26] The rationale was that local business leagues could survive and prosper best in these settings.

The NNBL and its impact on New York City expanded before Moore was made national organizer. A local branch of the NNBL was formed in 1900, the same year of the formation of the national organization.[27] Probably at the 1905 national annual meeting, held in New York City and largely organized by Fred Moore and A. Phillip Payton, Washington challenged New Yorkers to be more progressive in their creation and development of businesses. From a list entitled “What Negroes are Spending in New York and [the] Number of Businesses They Ought to Support,” Washington noted: “New York City has a Negro population of over 100,000. At a conservative estimate it is probable that for the necessaries of life, food, clothing, fuel, etc., these Negroes spend annually over $12,000,000.00….A deplorable fact is that very little of the immense sum spent annually by New York Negroes for the necessaries of life go to colored tradesmen because of that fact that there are not a very large number in the city.”[28] Perhaps in attempting to shame them, Washington further informed them that African-American economic development was occurring at a more rapid rate in other cities, particularly in the South.[29] This undoubtedly served as a catalyst to stimulate further African-American business development. Nonetheless, at this annual meeting, Washington also praised the New York City Local Business League delegates for their role in organizing the 1905 gathering (or the Sixth Annual Meeting of the National Negro Business League). In The Negro in Business, Washington Proclaimed that the 1905 gathering far surpassed any previous gathering that the League had had to date.[30] President Theodore Roosevelt sent a letter of encouragement to the delegates, emphasizing “that it [was] absolutely impossible to do good work in promoting the spiritual improvement of any race unless there [was] a foundation of material well-being….”[31] A number of other successful prominent whites addressed the delegates concerning economic development, including Oswald Garrison Villard, the grandson of William Lloyd Garrison, John Wanamaker, an enterprising Philadelphia businessman, Robert C. Ogden, a Philadelphia and New York City department store executive, and George Forster Peabody, a financial investor.[32] In terms of New York City Local League members that strove to promote business development in addressing the annual gathering, a D. Macon Webster of Brooklyn spoke on the “Business Interest of Greater New York,” while Charles W. Anderson, a collector for the Internal Revenue Service, first welcomed the guests and delegates to New York City and then spoke on behalf of the New York Business League.[33] All of these speakers supported the idea that “economic development” among African American would aid them immensely in the attainment of their rights in full.

The New York City Local Business League, following the lead of the NNBL, continued Washington’s and other organizers’ directive of promoting business development. James E. Garner, who was inspired by the rhetoric of the NNBL and who was appointed treasurer of the New York City local branch during its formation, continued to make his undertaking business a success.[34] John E. Nail, who had work for Phillip A. Payton’s Afro-American Realty Company, formed his own successful and prosperous real estate company.[35] William P. Moore, Charles H. Notis, Prof. B. H. Hawkins, James L. Jacobs, George H. Harris, William L. Pope, Richard Irving, Dora A. Miller, and Dora Cole Norman are a few of the many African Americans that attested to the positive influence of the NNBL in general and the New York City local branch in particular.[36]

The New York City Local Business League, in conjunction with an ever-increasing African-American population, fulfilled its mission, by helping to increase the number of Black New Yorkers engaged in business. First through periodicals, such as The New York Age, as aforementioned, they encouraged their readers to patronize black businesses whom they posited would ultimately hire black employees and look out for the wellbeing of the African-American community.[37] In 1899, in his monumental study, The Negro in Business, W. E. B. Du Bois recorded 63 African-American owned New York City businesses.[38] In 1901 Du Bois also reported that Black New Yorkers had invested at least $1,500,000 in business enterprises, mainly in real estate, catering, restaurants, undertaking professions, drugstores and hotels.[39] In 1907 The New York Age announced that there was a significant increase of Negroes entering business than ever before.[40] In 1909, George Edmund Hayes, who conducted a study titled “The Negro at Work in New York City, recorded 475 African-American owned and operated businesses.[41] With the constant influx of people of African descent settling in New Yok City, African-American entrepreneurs and those aiming to be businesspersons had an escalating market to offer their goods and services. Hence, from the date that the NNBL was formed until years past Booker T. Washington’s death, this trend continued, as depicted in Table I below[42]:

Table I: Black American Professionals (which includes Businesspersons),
    1900 to 1920

                   Year                   Males                Females
1900
729
281
1910
1,526
603
1920
3,320
948



Although Table I does not prove conclusively that the New York City Local Business League increased the number of African-American businesses in New York City, members certainly felt that their proactive leadership had expanded the number of businesses.[43]

Proactive leadership from individuals such as Fred Moore, D. Macon Webster, James Garner, J. C. Napier, C. C. Spaulding, Arthur George Gaston, and Albon Holsey continued to guide the NNBL. A NNBL project that particularly impacted New York City along with New York State was the formation of the “Colored Merchants Association (CMA),” which was established in 1929. In the early life of the NNBL, Washington supporters, such as I. B. Beale and Charles Banks, had suggested to Washington that the NNBL undertake a national business project to reinforce “rhetoric” with “praxis.” No such business venture was initiated during Washington’s lifetime. However, Albon Hosley, who replaced Emmett Scott as principal secretary at Tuskegee Institute after Washington’s death, would be the individual that made the NNBL operate more complexly, by organizing cooperative grocery stores. The goal was to organize African-American grocers into cooperative buying units, create a standardized store service, promote cooperative advertising, and use the local league chapters, throughout the country, as coordinating agencies.[44] At the height of the CMA, 25 cooperative grocery stores existed throughout the nation, with “central headquarters” located in New York City. This project although ultimately unsuccessful, due to the enduring impact of the Great Depression along with insufficient patronage, further contributed toward disseminating Washington’s economic message throughout the nation in general and in New York State in particular.

After 1918 to about 1955, as a rule, New York State communities that had a noticeably sized African-American population, often forced into enclaves, “due to segregation,” frequently had a local branch of the NNBL or individuals heavily influenced by the business philosophy of Booker T. Washington. Besides New York City NNBL branches in Harlem and Brooklyn,[45] Niagara Falls, New York during the 1930s and early 1940s, had a local NNBL branch that regularly met at the Niagara Community Center, which was the hub of the Black Niagaran community, intersecting African Americans of different religious faiths as well as Blacks and Whites of various classes. Black Niagarans formed their local National Negro Business League Branch in 1931.[46] This occurred 16 years after Washington’s death.[47] T. J. Ireland was instrumental in the league’s operations from its beginnings until its ending in about 1941. He does not appear in the 1930 United States Census for the City of Niagara Falls, although he was in Niagara Falls by 1927.[48] For a number of years, Ireland served as president of the local league, orchestrating meetings and public forums, and representing the league before city officials. Frank W. Holloman, Henry Patterson, Fredrick Johnson, William Martin, Ray Water, and W. H. Davis actively participated in league functions and took on leadership positions. Of these individuals, Henry Patterson is the only one recorded in the 1930 United States Census.[49] Census enumerators listed him as 26 years of age, living on 22nd Street, which was in Ward 4, the ward that had the largest number of Black Niagarans. Census enumerators also recorded Patterson as being a laborer, performing furnace work at a carbide plant.[50]

Available evidence indicates that the local league functioned most effectively in encouraging its members and operating as a job referral agency but not in implementing Booker T. Washington’s ultimate aim—the fostering and expansion of business development among Black Niagarans, as is partially conveyed in Table II below.[51]

Table II: Number of Black Niagaran Entrepreneurs, 1900-1940

                                                             Percentage
                                of                          Male                  Female
          Year          Black Population   Total Population     Entrepreneurs      Entrepreneurs
1900
344
1.77
6
3
1910
266
0.87
6
0
1920
509
1.00
7
2
1930
906
1.20
12
7
1940
975
1.25
13
8



The Local League tended to meet regularly on Monday evenings at the Niagara Community Center. John W. Pollard, who headed the Niagara Community Center, actively participated in local league functions. Dr. Charles B. Hayes, who was the first medical doctor of African descent[52] in Niagara Falls, also actively participated and took on leadership positions.[53] They annually held a banquet in which members and other interested parties attended. This perhaps was a smaller version of the banquet given at the annual meetings of the National Negro Business League held in various cities throughout the nation. At the annual meeting, a series of events were always planned that included a banquet. During Booker T. Washington’s presidential years, his annual address always served as the apex of the national gatherings.[54] At these Local League banquets, members heard encouraging comments from fellow members.[55]

At a meeting held in 1932, the Niagara Falls Local Business League had visited the Men’s Club of Niagara Falls, Ontario.[56] W. B. Davis gave a history of the Niagara Falls Local Business League, while T. J. Ireland expressed hope for the future operations of the Local League.[57] A Frederick Jones led a discussion on Negro leadership.[58] This sparked an intense debate on what type of leadership could advance the Negro the farthest. The groups juxtaposed Booker T. Washington’s leadership against W. E. B. Du Bois’. For the attendees, this must have brought back memories of the Niagara Movement, which in 1905 used Niagara Falls, Ontario as one of its meeting sites. Their discussion grew to be too intense. Concerned leaders agreed to table the debate for the next meeting. Both groups agreed that “aggressive leadership” was needed to advance the Negro, whether in Canada or the United States. However, each side seemed to believe that the leader they supported best represented the most progressive form of leadership needed.

Like Booker T. Washington, the Niagara Falls Local Business League’s leadership attempted to establish relationships with white elites within the Niagaran community, a pattern that John W. Pollard also adhered to. They attended City Council Meetings and invited city officials to address their organization. For example, in 1932, Frank A. Jenss, the mayor of Niagara Falls, addressed their meetings, informing them that the structure of the city government needed to be changed for the betterment of Niagaran citizens.[59] In 1934 local Judge Thomas B. Lee gave an address before the Local League, whereby a mock trial was conducted to further inform league members of the operations of the judicial system.[60] In 1935 Francis D. Bowman of the Carborundum Company, one of Niagara Falls’ larger employers, addressed the Local League, with league members attentively listening to his lecture.[61] At a meeting before the city council and mayor, the Local League successfully got the city officials to denounce discrimination in any form.[62] Assuredly, in establishing these contacts, the Niagara Falls Local Business League believed that these men could aid them in some future endeavor. Booker T. Washington grew to believe that creating alliances with what he termed the better classes of Whites could serve to foster more progressive changes for African Americans.[63] The Niagara Falls Local Business League’s actions verify that they also embraced this concept.

The contacts with White elites aided the Niagara Falls Local Business League in assisting Black Niagarans in search of work during the Great Depression years. They held Niagara Community Center labor forums in which Local League members offered their advice on how job seekers could best obtain employment.[64] Pollard advised job seekers to “train themselves to fill a spot that is not already filled.”[65] Furthermore, he instructed them that if they went after a job hard enough they would obtain it.[66] These maxims coincide with teachings of Booker T. Washington, for example, when he proposed that if an individual made himself/herself an indispensable asset, he/she would always be in demand, and “that if there was no door opened to obtain an opportunity, then make one.”[67] In another incident, the Niagara Falls Local Business League heard reports that a number of local industries refused to hire any more Black employees, due to negative experiences they had encountered by granting a few Black Niagarans job opportunities.[68] The Niagara Falls Local Business League notified and informed local industries that for every bad African-American employee that they could come up with that the Niagara Falls Local Business League could supply data on numerous successful employees. In fact they informed local industries that they would happily serve as an employment agency for the industries, placing their credibility on the line. These statements in conjunction with their alliances seemed to have had an impact. “T. J. Ireland president of the Business League announced [in May of 1936] that eight men [had] been placed at the Union Carbide company plant within the past week through the cooperation of the personnel department of [that] company.”[69] Niagara Falls Local Business League members speculated that more jobs would soon become available, and they organized meetings at the Niagara Community Center to further encourage the unemployed to seek employment and to train them on their responsibilities of being good employees and teach them how bad work performance would adversely impact their racial group.[70]

Rochester, which is eighty-seven miles east of Niagara Falls, had a local NNBL that met regularly with members networking with one another. At one of their meetings in the mid 1920s, they met to elect their officers.[71] They called themselves “the Rochester Negro Business League.” Buffalo, which is a distance of seventy-four miles west of Rochester and twenty-one miles from Niagara Falls, also had a local NNBL branch. In 1910 Cornelius E. Ford, who was head of the Live Stock Commission Merchants of Buffalo, presented a paper at the Annual NNBL Conference in New York City; he titled his paper “Live Stock Dealing.”[72] Emmett Scott had asked him to present.[73] Ford informed Scott that it would be difficult for him to attend the meeting but somehow, he would make it.[74] “[In 1931] a group of about twenty members of the Negro Business League of Buffalo inspected the new plant of the Courier-Express [the main local newspaper,] at Main and Goodell Street Monday Evening. Among the group were Dr. Harold Robinson, president, Dr. M. S. McGuire, Chairman of the board of directors, and Mrs. Adelaide Tucker, secretary.”[75] Ten years later in 1941, A. P. Garrett served in a leadership capacity for the Buffalo local NNBL branch.[76]

Dr. Ezekiel E. Nelson, who resided in Buffalo, New York, was a physician and businessman, like Dr. Charles B. Hayes. Unlike A. P. Garrett, he was not a member of the NNBL. However, “[he] recall[ed] in later years that the Black uplift themes of the Washington era had a major influence [on] his thinking,”[77] as he had strongly considered attending Booker T. Washington’s school—Tuskegee Institute.[78] Like Washington, he espoused self-help and racial solidarity as viable strategies for the economic advancement of Buffalo’s African-American community.[79] Unlike Washington, he advocated “cooperative economics.” For more than three decades (1930 to 1970), Dr. Nelson worked with almost fanatical zeal to convince Black Buffalonians that cooperative economics and racial solidarity would enable the race to escape from poverty and economic oppression. He preached that by working together, pooling their resources, and supporting their cooperative enterprises, African Americans could build powerful economic institutions that would enable them to produce many of the goods and services that were needed and desired by the community. Supporting these types of business activities, he felt, would create jobs, particularly for the young, and create a higher standard of living for all involved in the cooperative ventures. And the profit generated could be reinvested into the community to establish new businesses. Thus, like Washington, who Dr. Nelson greatly admired and was impacted by, his adage was self-help.

At this writing, this author has “no conclusive evidence” of Washington’s economic influence on the cities of Syracuse and Albany, although Albon Holsey in 1932 did speak about African-American business development to more than two-hundred Albany citizens at the Morning Star Baptist Church.[80] Yet and still, the author strongly suspects that a future survey of sources covering African-American communities within these cities will convey similar results to other New York State cities and towns.

NNBL members generally did attempt to follow Booker T. Washington’s business directives. However, “racial barriers” prevented most of them from being “indispensible assets” to the broader community, as Washington desired, and thus contribute toward solving “the Race Problem.” With a greater influx of African Americans moving into northern communities during and after the First Great Migration[81], African-American entrepreneurs, in the words of John Sibley Butler, were detoured or relegated exclusively to a segregated African-American market.[82] Nevertheless, they strove to be successful entrepreneurs and leaders of their communities. Booker T. Washington’s promotion of business development in New York City and New York State, as well as other states, has made him not only “a champion of Black Business Development” but also “the Father of the Promotion of 20th Century Black Business Development.”[83]


About the author: Michael Boston is an African and African American Studies faculty at The College at Brockport.

Bibliography



[1] “Resolution and Recommendations Adopted by the National Negro Business League at its First Meeting held in Boston, August 23 and 24, 1900,” (The Booker T. Washington Papers, The Library of Congress), Microfilms: Reel no. 752, pp. 1-2.
[2] Booker T. Washington, The Negro in Business (Wichita, Kansas: DeVore and Sons, Inc., 1992), p. 199.
[3] Emma L. Thornbrough, “More Light on Booker T. Washington and the New York Age,” Journal of Negro History, 43, No. 1 (Jan. 1958), pp. 34-49. 
[4] Emmett J. Scott and Lyman Beecher Stowe, Booker T. Washington: Builder of a Civilization (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1917 New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1917), p. 185.
[5] Booker T. Washington, “Important to Colored Men and Women Engaged in Business Throughout the Country,” June 15, 1900, Tuskegee, Alabama,” (The Booker T. Washington Papers, The Library of Congress), Microfilms: Reel no. 416, pp. 1-2. 
[6] Frederick E. Drinker, Booker T. Washington: The Master Mind of a Child of Slavery (New York: Negro University Press, 1970), p. 119.
[7] Booker T. Washington, “Important to Colored Men and Women Engaged in Business Throughout the Country,” June 15, 1900, Tuskegee, Alabama,” The Booker T. Washington Papers, Washington, D. C.: The Library of Congress Microfilms: Reel no. 416, p. 2.
[8] “National Negro Business League at Louisville,” The Tuskegee Student,  21, (September 11, 1909):  p. 1.
[9] Monroe N. Work, Negro Yearbook, 1914-15 (Tuskegee, Alabama: Negro Yearbook Publishing Company, 1915), pp. 304-308.
[10] In giving his annual address for the NNBL meeting in 1909, Washington stated that there were at least 500 leagues and not exactly 500. Report of the Tenth Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League, Held in Louisville, KY., August 18-20, 1909 (A. M. E. Sunday School Union Print., 1909), p. 71.
[11] Charted here means a representative applied for his town of city to have a local branch of the National Negro Business League in their town or city.
[12] The Tuskegee Machine Thesis, by Louis Harlan, author of Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915, stated simply, argues that Booker T. Washington, in attempting to retain his hegemonic leadership over Black America, which was often viewed as controversial, had numerous willing accomplices throughout the nation that helped him to retain his stronghold.  They were often in important key positions.  They not only alerted Washington to his unknown enemies but also helped to sabotage some of their efforts to bring Washington down
[13] John Hope Franklin and August Meier, Black Leadership of the Twentieth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), p. 34.
[14] Kenneth Hamilton, Records of the National Negro Business League (Bethesda, MD.: University Publications of America, 1995), p. 5.
[15] John Hope Franklin and August Meier, Black Leadership of the Twentieth Century, p. 31.
[16] Philip A. Payton, Jr., “Afro-American Realty Company,” The Colored American Magazine, 8, (November 1904), pp. 682-691; Maceo C. Dailey, “Booker T. Washington and the Afro-American Realty Company,” Review of Black Political Economy, 8, (Winter 1978), pp. 184-201. 
[17] Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto: Negro New York, 1890-1930 (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1971), p. 94.
[18] Booker T. Washington, The Negro in Business, p. 153.
[19] “Growth of the Afro-American Realty Company” The Colored American Magazine, 10, (February 1906), pp. 102-118.
[20] Ibid., p. 116.
[21] Maceo C. Dailey, “Booker T. Washington and the Afro-American Realty Company,” pp. 190-197.
[22] John N. Ingham and Lynne B. Feldman, African-American Business Leaders, A Biographical Dictionary (Westport, C.T.: Greedwood Press, 1994), pp. 465-475.
[23] “Poughkeepsie Harvest Home,” The New York Age, November 14, 1907, p. 6.
[24] “To Interest Negroes,” Ithaca Daily News, April 2, 1906, p. 1.
[25] “Fred R. Moore to Booker T. Washington,” April 2, 1906, New York, New York, Box 21, Folder 197, National Negro Business League, The Booker T. Washington Collection, Tuskegee University Archives, p. 1; “Fred R. Moore to Booker T. Washington,” June 26, 1906, New York, New York, Box 24, Folder 206, National Negro Business League, The Booker T. Washington Collection, Tuskegee University Archives, pp. 1-8.
[26] “Theodore W. Jones to Booker T. Washington,” June 12, 1906, Box# 1, Albon L. Holsey Collection, Tuskegee University.
[27] Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto, 97.
[28] Booker T. Washington, “What Negroes Are Spending in New York and [the] Number of Businesses They Ought to Support,” Booker T. Washington Papers, Cont. 548-549, Shelf No. 18, 185.2, reel no. 416, the Library of Congress.
[29] Ibid.
[30] Booker T. Washington, The Negro in Business, 205.
[31] Ibid., 205-206.
[32] Ibid., 206.
[33] Ibid., 213-214.
[34] Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto, 97.
[35] John N. Ingham and Lynne B. Feldman, African-American Business Leaders, A Biographical Dictionary, 477-483.
[36] William P. Moore, “Progressive Business Men of Brooklyn,” Voices of the Negro, Vol. 1, No. 7 (1904), pp. 304-308; Kenneth Hamilton, ed., Records of the National Negro Business League, Washington, D. C.: University Publication of America, 1995, p. 6 & p. 21.
[37] “National Negro Business League Celebrates Tenth Anniversary,” New York Age, August 18, 1910, p. 1.
[38] Seth, M Scheiner, Negro Mecca: A History of The Negro in New York City, 1865-1920 (New York: New York University Press, 1965), 78.
[39] Ibid.
[40] Ibid.
[41] George Edmund Hayes, “The Negro at Work in New York City,” Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, Vol. 49, No. 3 (1912), p. 98.
[42] Seth, M Scheiner, Negro Mecca: A History of The Negro in New York City, 1865-1920, 224-225.
[43] “Afro-American Notes,” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 8, 1907, p. 18; “New York Negro Business League Holds Big Meeting,” The New York Age, July 28, 1928, p. 2; “Good Advice To The Negroes: Booker T. Washington Preaches The Gospel of Work,” The Sun, June 7, 1909, p. 3.
[44] For more information on the CMA, see Vishnu V. Oak’s work, The Negro’s Adventure in General Business (Westport, Connecticut: Negro University Press, 1970), pp. 62-65 or John Burrows’s work, The Necessity of Myth: A History of the National Negro Business League, 1900-1945 (Auburn, Alabama: Hickory Hill Press, 1988),  pp. 127-149.
[45] John E. Bruce, “The Necessity for Business Leagues,” Voice of the Negro, Vol. I, no. 8 (1904), pp. 338-339; William P. Moore, “Progressive Business Men of Brooklyn, pp. 304-308.
[46] “Niagara Falls,” Chicago Defender, November 28, 1936, 9.
[47]  “Negro Business League Inspects New C-E Plant,” Buffalo, NY Courier-Express, February 18, 1931, 12; “Interesting Items Gleaned By The Age Correspondents,” The New York Age, March 13, 1926, 8.
[48] “T. J. Ireland Is dead at 67,” Niagara Falls, NY Gazette, September 15, 1970, 15.
[49] U.S. Census for 1930 the City of Niagara Falls, Reels # 44, 45, & 46. Niagara Falls Public Library, Niagara Falls, NY.
[50] Ibid.
[51] U.S. Census for 1900: Town of Niagara, Niagara Falls City and LaSalle Village (Niagara Falls, NY: Niagara Falls Public Library), microfilm reel 23;
U.S. Census for 1910: Town of Niagara, City of Niagara Falls, Village of LaSalle (Niagara Falls, NY: Niagara Falls Public Library), Microfilm, reels 28 & 29;
U. S. Census for 1920 for the City of Niagara Falls, Town of Niagara Falls and Village of LaSalle, Sheets 1-32 (Niagara Falls Public Library), reels 33, 34, & 35;
U.S. Census for 1930, the City of Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls Public Library, NY: Niagara Falls Public Library), reels 44, 45, & 46;
1940 Census.Archives.gov (Niagara County, Niagara Falls); Theodore Williamson, personal interview, May 13, 2002; Bill Williamson, personal interview, January 30, 2010.
[52] Dr. Charles B. Hayes was born in Jamaica, West Indies.
[53] “Niagara Falls,” Chicago, IL Defender, November 13, 1931, 20.
[54] “Annual Report of the Fifteenth Annual Convention: National Negro Business League, Held at Muskogee, Oklahoma, August 19-21, 1914,” (The Booker T. Washington Papers, The Library of Congress), Microfilms: Reel no. 754.
[55] “Business Men of Community Center Hold Annual Meeting,” Niagara Falls, NY Gazette, December 15, 1936, 11.
[56] “Community Center News,” Niagara Falls, NY Gazette, May 13, 1932, 2.
[57] Ibid.
[58] Ibid.
[59] “Falls Men Favor Government Change,” Lockport, NY Union-Sun and Journal, February 11, 1932, 10.
[60] “Community Center News,” Niagara Falls Gazette, May 25, 1934, 6.
[61] “Niagara Community Center Serves 48 Different Groups of Persons,” Niagara Falls, NY Gazette, April 13, 1935, 14.
[62] “Community Center News,” Niagara Falls Gazette, January 24, 1939, 6.
[63] Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), 238-265.
[64] “New York State,” Chicago Defender, October 1, 1938, 11.
[65] “Our American Way,” Niagara Falls Gazette, April 17, 1940, 5.
[66] Ibid.
[67] See Chapter 3 of Michael B. Boston, The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington (Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida), 2010.
[68] “Community Center News,” Niagara Falls Gazette, May 22, 1936, 13.
[69] “Community Center News,” Niagara Falls Gazette, May 15, 1936, 14.
[70] Ibid.
[71] “Interesting Items Gleaned By The Age Correspondents,” The New York Age, March 13, 1926, p. 8; “Interesting Items Gleaned By The Age Correspondents,” The New York Age, May 1, 1926, p. 8; 
[72] Kenneth Hamilton, Records of he National Negro Business League, p. 11.
[73] “Cornelius E. Ford to Emmett J. Scott.” August 13, 1910, Box 69, Folder 395, The Booker T. Washington Collection, Tuskegee University.
[74] Ibid.
[75] “Negro Business League Inspects New C-E Plant,” Buffalo, NY Courier-Express, February 18, 1931, p. 12.
[76] “A. P. Garrett of the Buffalo Negro Business League,” Buffalo, NY Courier-Express, May 21, 1941, p. 8.
[77] Monroe Fordham, “The Buffalo Cooperative Economic Society, Inc., 1928-1961: A Black Self-help Organization,” Niagara Frontier, p. 42.
[78] Ibid.
[79] Ibid., pp. 41-49.  Also in Buffalo, New York, Frank Merriweather Sr., who was an entrepreneur, named a political club after Booker T. Washington.  The prominent Buffalo undertaker, Sherman L. Walker was a member of the Booker T. Washington Political Club.  Consult “Throng of 1,200 Attend Rites for S. L. Walker,” The Buffalo Criterion, 3-9 January, 1970, p. 1, and my interview with Jessie Nash, Jr., March 28, 1995.   
[80] “Inter-Racial Group To Elect Tonight,” Albany, NY Evening News, January 21, 1932, p. 32.
[81] The First Great Migration refers to that period in United States history when hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated out of the South during the First World War.  The dates for the First Great Migration are from 1914 to 1918, the beginnings of World War I to its end.  Cities, such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland, gained significant increases in their African-American population.
[82] John Sibley Butler, Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1991), pp.143-164.



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