The National Negro Business League (NNBL) was founded by Booker T. Washington in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900. The league, which predated the United States Chamber of Commerce by 12 years, strives to enhance the commercial and economic prosperity of the African American community. The NNBL was formally incorporated in 1901 in New York, and established hundreds of chapters across the United States. In 1966, the National Negro Business League was reincorporated in Washington, D.C. and renamed the National Business League.
Read on to learn more about the National Negro Business League:
1. Booker T. Washington formed the league in hopes that it would encourage blacks to start their own businesses, thus proving that they were as capable as whites of economic success.
2. The League operated through state and local chapters, many of which were located in the South.
3. The League’s membership included a number of successful black businessmen (and women) and professionals and a large number of the black middle class “strivers” who hoped to start their own businesses.
4. The league maintained directories for all major US cities and incorporated African American contacts in numerous businesses.
5. League meetings were held to allow small businessmen to make contact with each other, and share stories of their struggles and successes.
6. The league had financial support from white businessmen. Washington used his social and financial access to powerful leaders of the white business elite — including department-store magnate John Wanamaker, steel mogul Andrew Carnegie.