The African American consumer has not received sufficient scholarly attention from historians. This is especially surprising given that the topic sits at the intersection of three thriving subfields: the history of capitalism, the history of consumer culture, and African American Studies. Ever since Lizabeth Cohen highlighted the experience of Black consumers in her important book A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America (1990), only a small number of studies were dedicated to this subject. Furthermore, except for Robert Weems Jr.’s Desegregating the Dollar: African American Consumerism in the Twentieth Century (1998), the few existing studies focus either on a specific brand of consumer goods, such as hair products, or on how Black consumers used their buying power to fight discrimination in public accommodations and hiring practices, via boycotts and “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaigns. There...

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