National Negro Business League Printed Matter,
Including Booklet on Organizing a Local Negro Business League, 1915-1923.
from the Booker T. Washington Papers


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Summary / Scope:

A handsome, printed, black and red, oversize poster, titled "The Houston Negro Business Directory," for the year 1923 contains four columns of business advertisements, for everything from auto salesmen, confectioners, and electricians, to embalmers, hotels, markets, restaurants, and shoemakers. A large ad at the bottom, run by the American Mutual Benefit Association, reads: "Establishes racial confidence." A smaller ad, for the McKinney Avenue Theatre, offers the assurance, "Distinguished for Good Attractions. Catering to colored patrons."

The folder also contains an undated, glossy, 18-page pamphlet of instructions on how to start a local chapter of the National Negro Business League. A June 15, 1923 letter in another National Negro Business League file, marked "Correspondence 1922 (Miscellany)," makes clear that this pamphlet dates to circa 1923.

An undated 4-sided flyer, printed by the National Negro Business Service (out of Tuskegee Institute), offers to prepare copy for clients of the service wishing to produce "advertisements, booklets, circulars, follow-up letters, and other business-building literature." Based on internal evidence of material in another National Negro Business League folder, "National Negro Business League Printed Matter for 1915-1922 . . .", the undated National Negro Business Service flyer here, as well as the Business Service itself, appear to date to circa 1915. The existence of the Service suggests an organized effort, as far back as the teens, to boost the advertising ability and consumer reach of the small black businessman.

The President of the National Negro Business Service was Emmett J.Scott; its Secretary was Albon L. Holsey, who in 1922 became Secretary of the National Negro Business League.


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