Spaces like this and moments like these — when we can break down what history is telling us and try to figure out how to keep moving forward — are so necessary. I felt blessed and grateful to have been part of it. Thank you, Edisa!
Edisa sent me this AWESOME clip of Rev Adam Clayton Powell Jr as an inspiration. Wow!
The Reverend is absolutely right. Some of the oldest credit unions in the country are based in Af-Am communities (ASI in Louisiana and Hope in Mississippi), and African-Americans like Annie Vamper have made enormous contributions to the modern community credit union movement. Cooperative organizations offer a different type of solution for marginalized communities. Capitalistic ventures generate wealth by extracting the fruits of labor, often concentrating it in the hands of the owners of capital. Cooperative ventures also generate wealth through labor, but the coop owners keep that wealth.
There would be a lot to talk about at the Roots Party. As much as I loved being part of the credit union movement before, Edisa’s invitation resulted in a deeper appreciation of how organic the cooperative movement is for communities like ours. The credit union angle is fascinating (check out the Southern Oral History Project pieces), but we are actually a small part of the story. Starting from right after the Civil War, cooperatives were an integral part of black communities all over the country. Some of the most inspiring stories are in this pamphlet summarizing the phenomenal work of Professor Jessica Gordon Nembhard.