By Arturo R. García
If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, this report from PBS Newshour is well worth your time, as it retraces the “social experiment” conducted by Maggie and John Anderson while buying exclusively from black-owned businesses for a year, a process Maggie Anderson chronicled in written form in the book Our Black Year.
The project, she told Newshour’s Paul Solman, was borne out of guilt.
“We thought we should be doing more, and we thought we should be doing stuff with the money that we made,” she said. “Make sure that whatever we do, it was with a black company, a black family company, buy a product made from a black company, use black professionals, shop in black communities.”
According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer the Andersons’ search for some basic needs took them far, far out of their comfort zones:
With high hopes of moving the needle, the Andersons transferred their money to a black bank, switched cell phone companies, and fed way more McDonald’s Happy Meals to their girls than optimal–because these black-owned businesses were plentiful.
But fewer own stores selling necessities like diapers, aspirin and fresh food. Maggie often drove for miles, stepping over trash and around winos to enter stores that looked like “post-apocalyptic mini-marts.”
“Are y’all lost?” wisecracks one loiterer.
Exasperated, Maggie overdoes the details of her forays scouring Chicagoland’s food desert. Her rage builds. “Everyone–I mean everyone–we saw on the street and in the stores was black, but not the store owners.”
The video is safe for work, and a transcript of the story can be found here.