“At the beginning, the co-ops were a response to marginality and crisis,” she says. “Often it was because they weren’t provided with the kind of burial they wanted for their families, or they couldn’t get access to quality food, healthcare or banking. So they created their own businesses.
“That connection between surviving oppression and marginality through co-operative economics was very powerful. And then people went even
further and started saying: ‘if we can use this to help us just survive, imagine if we used this strategy even more, how much we could prosper from it’.
“Even though the survival strategy is the one that most of the co-ops followed, you can also find a vibrant strain of African American economic thought about using co-operatives to develop a group solidarity economy.”