Black municipal cooperative initiatives

In June, Professor Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Professor Stacey Sutton, and I had a really interesting panel discussion on Black municipal cooperative initiatives with Gordon-Nembhard’s summer cooperative class. Here is the video of the discussion:

Sutton discussed her work on 21st century municipal cooperative policy, which demonstrates the importance across US cities of municipal support to creating cooperative ecosystems: “Cooperative cities: Municipal support for worker cooperatives in the United States.” I discussed my research on cooperative development in Washington, DC, in the 20th century, including cooperative laws and a cooperative ecosystem envisioned by Cornelius Cornbread Givens and enacted by Mayor Marion Barry. The discussion with the students in the class was excellent. The real take away from the discussion is how people of color are absolutely instrumental in demanding and developing cooperatives. As I wrote in my article on DC cooperatives, “[In a segregated and deeply unequal society] African Americans had long supported cooperatives as a means to create economic wealth, political power, and cultural freedom…Cooperatives represented one way to forge a new society, a society in which all members might be equal.”

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