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Inscription Yes we're open metal plate with black and white sign on glass door store, cafe, beautystore, barbershop after coronavirus lockdown quarantine. business reopen again

Source: Andrii Medvediuk / Getty

Most businesses took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is respect to be had for those that made it through. However, minority-owned businesses saw some of the greatest hardship during this time, with CNN reporting that many struggled to get access to funding – or the full amounts that they needed. Of course, this was not the first time Black-owned businesses faced more obstacles than white ones. Historically, Black business owners have struggled to access capital. The U.S. Federal Reserve shows that Black business owners are denied loans at twice the rate of white business owners.

Go even further back, and Jim Crow laws forced Black folks into segregated, geographically limited communities. We still see the remnants of that today. Now, consider that any Black business owner you know today is certainly not riding the coattails of a multi-generational empire. Go back only a little more than a century, and many Black people would have still had ancestors in slavery. That means they do not benefit from the ancestral connections and inheritance that many white business owners do. This all points to one fact: Black-owned businesses that have stood the test of time are tough as hell. And today, we tip our hats to them. They’ve weathered more storms than we can know. Here are some of the oldest Black-owned businesses in America.


The Philadelphia Tribune

Philadelphia, PA

Founded in 1884


Newspaper or hournal with news printing on a printing machine in a typography.

Source: Bet_Noire / Getty

The Philadelphia Tribune was started by Christopher J. Perry, an activist dedicated to the advancement of the Black community. The first issue was just one-page long, but Perry grew it to a robust periodical that eventually went out twice a week.

The Philadelphia Tribune has been an integral part of Black advancement ever since, having campaigned for the first Black member of the City’s Board of Education and for the election of a Black City Council Member. They’re still going strong and have won several awards for their writing, photography and community service.

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