Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States that is celebrated through month of February. It was first proposed by the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970. Today, it’s a widely celebrated observance. There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month,you can visit historical museums, donate to an organization or simply support a black owned business. Black History Month simultaneously celebrates the black culture and the overcoming of extreme oppressions. It is celebrated all over the world in places like Ireland, UK, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States.
Did you know that African-American owned businesses only account for a mere 7% of all small businesses in the country? While about 30% of the population in Chicago is African-American, only about 2% of the businesses in the city are African-American owned.
Supporting minority owned businesses is important because it directly impacts the local economy. The benefits of supporting African-American owned businesses have proven to help with economic growth, creating jobs for those in the community celebrating black culture. A lot of black-owned businesses have direct ties to the community and provide services that cater to the African-American culture.
In honor of Black History Month, here is a list of a few African-American owned businesses in the Chicago area.
203 E. 75th street Chicago, IL 60619
In business for over 30 years, Original Soul Vegetarian creates food that is 100% plant-based and completely free of animals and chemicals. They were named as the City’s Best Healthy Dining Restaurant by the AOL City Guide, Chicago.
6916 S Dorchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
Founder Theaster Gates paid $1 for a dilapidated bank that closed in the 1980s. With the help of The Rebuild Foundation, he transformed the space into an art center that will host site-specific commissions, exhibitions, and a media archive. Their main mission is to support local artists in the area. They also have set out to strengthen communities by providing free arts programs, and developing affordable housing, studio, and live-work space.
3. Curl Kitchen
3428 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60616
In business for almost 10 years, Curl Kitchen provides natural hair and beauty services in the Chicago area. Operated and owned by a woman with naturally curly hair, her goal is to provide the best quality hair services in the city.
1302 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Founded by Eric Williams in 1997, they’ve been supporting local designers, hosting events and building communities for over 20 years. Located in the heart of Hyde Park, you’ll find a dedicated and knowledgeable staff ready to help you pick out the perfect gift. They provide an eclectic mix of locally- and internationally-sourced handmade jewelry, accessories, clothing, artwork, home goods and a curated selection of music.
2150 S Canalport Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
Owned by Michael Altheimer, they build quality homes that lead to sound investments and sustainable communities. Miro is a full service real estate development company that specializes in construction, creating lucrative investment strategies and property management. They also offer concierge services like residential home cleaning, dry cleaning pick-ups and deliveries.
11 W 26th St. Chicago, IL 60616
The owners of this company are Jimmy White, Louis Dodd and Dr. Floyd Mix. They are a high-end boutique hotel, located in the heart of the Bronzeville District and South Loop Area. Their hotel is in the perfect location, moments from places like The McCormick Place, Chinatown, United Center, Guaranteed Rate Field, and tons of other downtown locations.They provide relaxation, classic style, and impeccable guest services.
1001 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653
Located in the North Kenwood and Hyde Park Area, Norman’s Bistro provides an intimate, exclusive setting where patrons can wrap up their evening. Guests can come and enjoy an innovative selection of classic cocktails and modern mixology offered alongside a menu of “American Creole cuisine with a Brazilian flair,” inspired light plates.
6550 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
They are a unique and natural hair salon, juice bar and grill, and education center. They specialize in Locs, Loc starts and maintenance, twists, weaves, and transitional styles. Their juice bar is not only a great place to order your favorite organic beverage, but it also serves as the main hub for making their natural products and conditioners like their avocado and coconut milk hair smoothie.
4701 S King Dr. Use 47th Street Entrance, Chicago, IL 60615
M.A.D.D. Rhythms Dance Company was founded by Bril Barrett and Martin Dumas III over 10 years ago. It’s a family-owned tap dance school and company composed of young, versatile tap dancers from all over the Chicagoland area. They say that their sole purpose is to spread the love and joy of tap dancing worldwide and that their mission is to preserve, promote and contribute to the art form.
4563 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60653
It is owned and operated by Mell Monroe and his wife of 15 years, Angela Higginbotham. Built in 1893, this Queen Anne historic home is 12 minutes away from the center of Chicago’s Downtown Loop. The inn features reasonable rates for door to door transportation/shuttle services usually within a 10 mile radius of the inn including Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, Water Tower Place, Chicago RiverWalk and numerous restaurants and fine dining. They are located near popular attractions including the Museum Park Campus, Soldier Field, Millennium Park, the Chicago Art Institute, and the famous Theatre District. There is a wide variety of African-American owned businesses in the Chicagoland area, and each of them are uniquely important to the local economy. They provide jobs and careers, uplift communities, and most importantly the owners of these businesses are role models to the African-American youth in the area.
Supporting a small business is incredibly important to not just the community, but also for the amazing business owners. Having community involvement is crucial to the success of their business. Next time you’re in the city, make sure to stop by one of these wonderful companies and show your support to an African-American owned business!