Why we have more churches than businesses
An open letter to all African-Americans:
Have you ever thought why we are in the poverty condition we are in? Why we have more churches than all other races put together and such a small number of businesses? I shall attempt to tell you.
Abraham Lincoln did not free us-slavery was legal. In other words, whites owned blacks like they did their cows, hogs, dogs, chickens or anything else and treated blacks anyway they wished. But in many cases, if blacks didn’t obey the wishes of whites, they lynched them.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, they didn’t have ownership of us anymore, but they still had complete control of us. Therefore we were freed by law but still enslaved by our condition because when they gave up ownership of us, we had nothing. No food, no place to stay, no money, no mule, and nowhere to work.
Whites still had control. Having control of our lives, they would let us have churches but no business. Coming out of slavery there were two kinds of black churches-the certified and uncertified. The certified black church was a church where the pastor told his members whatever white people wanted him to tell them and those were the largest black churches.
In uncertified churches, the pastors told their members as long as they were not allowed to own businesses, not allowed to live where they wish to, not treated as others, they must continue to fight until they have the same freedom that others have. That was called a Jack Leg Preacher and many were run out of town by whites and some were lynched. Many of them had to have services in their homes. Their membership was always small. They were the ones who helped us most in the past.
Now you can see why we have so many churches and such few businesses. We have most of what they would let us have. Now that we have more churches, every church member should start thinking of how we can start investing to build more business to create jobs for some of our many unemployed among us.
President, United American Progress Association