In August 2020, TheBlackMall.com hosted the Black Business Crawl each Saturday as part of the 16th anniversary of National Black Business Month. Founded by historian John Templeton of San Francisco, National Black Business Month’s purpose is to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African-American businesses.“ The Black Business Crawl covered several Chicago-area neighborhoods, including Bronzeville, Chatham, Englewood, Hyde Park, Austin, and the Village of South Holland, Illinois. The month-long event was a collaboration with the following:
● Afrika Enterprises
● Black Entrepreneurship Collective
● Black Chicago Eats
● Blacknificent Mile 79th Street Corridor
● CBW Productions
● Red Level Entertainment
● SMP Creative Business and Design
● Steps Inc. Consulting
● The Black Ink Group
● United Black American Progress Association
● WDB Marketing
Revin Fellows, Visionary of the Blacknificent Mile 79th Street Corridor (Rainbow Beach to Cicero Ave.), discussed the legacy of Dr. Webb Evans. Dr. Evans, who lived to be 101 years old, founded the United Black American Progress Association (UBAPA). At the request of Revin Fellows, Illinois Rep. LaShawn K. Ford submitted House Resolution HR0608 to the 99th General Assembly in August 2015 to recognize Dr. Webb Evans for his contributions. Dr. Evans fought tirelessly to empower the Black community economically. The resolution also officially designates August as National Black Business Month in Illinois.
Revin Fellows also serves as the UBAPA Outreach Ambassador at Large. He stated that Dr. Webb Evans emphasized that we must not only engage in social protests but also march Black dollars to Black businesses in large numbers. During August, the Black Business Crawl urges people to “Buy Black, Love Black, Give Black” in Dr. Evans’ honor. During the kickoff of a Black Business Crawl in mid-August, as the crowd convened in front of Shawn Michelle’s Ice Cream on 47th Street, someone stated, “It’s time for Black businesses to shine!” As a group of protesters approached after walking east from the Dan Ryan Expressway, chants rang out from both groups: “Black Businesses Matter!” “Black Lives Matter!” “No justice, no peace!” It was evident at that moment that strengthening and sustaining Black businesses is essential to protecting and empowering Black lives.
In light of the pandemic and the economy, which have wreaked havoc on Black businesses, it is more important than ever to redirect Black dollars back into the Black community. The goal is to evolve National Black Business Month into “Buy Black, Love Black, Give Black” 365 days a year. To streamline the process to find and support Black businesses, TheBlackMall.com now uses the mobile application, BlackCoin. To learn more about the app, which tracks Black dollars and connects consumers with Black businesses 365 days a year, go to TheBlackMall.com.