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People of African descent in the United States have a long and strong but largely hidden experience of co-operative ownership since at least the 1700s, and have had a quiet presence at times in the U.S. mainstream co-operative movement. What can we learn from this history and these experiences? We find that African Americans have used mutual aid and co-operatives for both survival and to gain economic well-being and independence; and that co-operative economics has been a hidden but integral aspect of the long civil rights movement in the USA.
In this webinar, we’ll explore how subaltern populations use co-operative economics to address marginalisation, discrimination, and poverty; the importance of solidarity and trust in the sustainability of co-ops; the importance of organisational supports and connections between co-ops, religious and fraternal organisations, organised labour, populism and civil rights activism; and the role of Black women’s leadership in the co-operative movement.
We’ll also learn how important internal and public education about co-operative economics and democratic economic participation are; as is measuring both the market and non-market benefits of co-operatives to their members and their communities.
Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice and 2016 inductee into the U.S. Cooperative Hall of Fame, Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D., is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development in the Department of Africana Studies, John Jay College, City University of NY.