America is a capitalist country, and I am a capitalist.

—Alonzo Herndon

While some of our people may decry the system of economics under which so many of us suffer, many African Americans have found rewards in capitalism.

Born enslaved, Alonzo Herndon ventured into several different businesses after the Civil War and met with his first big success when he opened a glamorous barbershop in Atlanta. He reinvested his profits in real estate and became a millionaire, then acquired a black insurance company that was about to go bankrupt. That small business grew into the second-largest black-owned insurance company in our country today. At the same time, Herndon put fellow African Americans to work and insured others so they could begin their own businesses.

We can spend our days shaking our fingers at capitalism, or we can make it work for us.

Call to Action: On this day, I pledge to make a purchase at a black-owned establishment.

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