During the early 20th century, many Blacks in northern cities entered the retail trade, supposedly because residential segregation was advantageous to Black merchants. Building upon historical studies of Blacks in the urban North and upon the sociological literature on Black business enterprise, I use census data to analyze the relationship between (1) the spatial isolation of Blacks and (2) the representation of Blacks in the retail trade. I find that between 1900 and 1930 the association between these two variables became significantly positive. This finding corroborates historical case studies, and I conclude that after segregated Black communities emerged in northern cities at the end of the study period, spatial isolation did increase the participation of Blacks in the retail trade.
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Boyd, R.L. Residential Segregation by Race and the Black Merchants of Northern Cities During the Early Twentieth Century. Sociological Forum 13, 595–609 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022843300237
- Black entrepreneurship
- the Great Migration
- residential segregation by race
- northern cities