Encyclopedia of African American Business

Updated and Revised Edition, 2nd Edition

by Jessie Carney Smith, Editor


Race and racism have played a part in the shaping of black America's business history—a fact that is well-documented—yet there have always been black entrepreneurs who became successful in their businesses.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of African American Business

November 2017


Pages 1032
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Race and Ethnicity/African American Studies

This two-volume set showcases the achievements of African American entrepreneurs and the various businesses that they founded, developed, or promote as well as the accomplishments of many African American leaders—both those whose work is well-known and other achievers who have been neglected in history.

Nearly everyone is familiar with New York City's Wall Street, a financial center of the world, but much fewer individuals know about the black Wall Streets in Durham and Tulsa, where prominent examples of successful African American leaders emerged. Encyclopedia of African American Business: Updated and Revised Edition tells the fascinating story that is the history of African American business, providing readers with an inspiring image of the economic power of black people throughout their existence in the United States. It continues the historical account of developments in the African American business community and its leaders, describing the period from 18th-century America to the present day.

The book describes current business leaders, opens a fuller and deeper insight into the topics chosen, and includes numerous statistical tables within the text and in a separate section at the back of the book. The encyclopedia is arranged under three broad headings: Entry List, Topical Entry List, and Africa American Business Leaders by Occupation. This arrangement introduces readers to the contents of the work and enables them to easily find information about specific individuals, topics, or occupations. The book will appeal to students from high school through graduate school as well as researchers, library directors, business enterprises, and anyone interested in biographical information on African Americas who are business leaders will benefit from the work.


  • Provides a broad overview of the development of African American business and business leaders, from the beginning of black life in America through the present
  • Demonstrates that African Americans developed self-sufficiency early on despite rampant racism and legal restrictions and how their efforts and accomplishments impacted the economy
  • Identifies many women African American business leaders
  • Introduces readers to the success of African American entrepreneurs beyond American shores
  • Shows the influence of social media on the shaping of businesses in the modern context
Author Info

Jessie Carney Smith, PhD, is dean of the library and holds the Camille Cosby Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Fisk University, Nashville, TN. She has published more than 25 books on African American topics, including Greenwood’s Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture, 4 volumes, and Greenwood’s first edition of Encyclopedia of African American Business, 2 volumes; as well as Notable Black American Women, Books I–III, Notable Black American Men, Books I–II; Black Firsts, Third Edition, and, with Lean'tin L. Bracks, Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era. Smith has received the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year from the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the iSchool at the University of Illinois; the Women's National Book Award, and the Anna J. Cooper Award. Her memberships include the American Library Association, NAACP, Links, Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.



"This edition improves on the earlier material, featuring, for instance, more photographs and an extensive appendix of tables on employment, income, and poverty levels that serious researchers will value. It also skillfully explores the role of women as well as the emergence of African American businesses in global markets. VERDICT Cohesive, highly informative, and well written. There is more than enough different and enhanced material for libraries that own the original to justify purchase. A solid starting point for a wide range of readers interested in the development and spread of African American business."—Library Journal

"These well-written entries exhibit solid research by the writers. . . . An excellent recommended companion volume for all academic and public libraries."—ARBA


2017 Best Reference Title — Library Journal

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