Like the UK celebration, which takes place in October, Black History Month sees events and activities held to honour the legacies of notable African American figures, and explore the experiences and struggles of African Americans throughout history. Co-ops have played an important role in the history of African Americans and their pursuit of economic and social justice; during the early 20th century, co-ops were used as a means of economic empowerment and community building among African Americans, who were often excluded from mainstream financial institutions and faced discrimination in the labour market.
The Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU), for example, was established in the 1930s to represent the interests of sharecroppers and tenant farmers in the Southern United States, many of whom were African American. The STFU established a network of co-operatives that provided access to credit, technical assistance, and marketing support to its members, helping them to improve their economic conditions and gain greater control over their lives. That tradition continues today with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which provides resources and technical assistance to limited-resource Black farmers and landowners.
Read the rest at Co-operative News
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