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Group Economics essentially speaks on the financial mechanisms that any sub-cultural, racial or socio-economic group uses to benefit the collective. It is a modern trending word but its application is not new to the world. So-called “Black” communities have been using techniques to grow their community, one family at a time; – for many generations.

I remember seeing my mum and dad put their money together in a “pardna” for years. A pardna is when a group of people put money into a pot for a set number of weeks; – a designated person collects all the “hands” of the pardna each week and distributes the pot to everyone throughout the course of the pardna. This person is the “banker”.

Every week (or sometimes monthly) without fail, everyone adds a specified amount of money to the pot and it is one person’s turn to take the whole pot. The next week – it is someone else’s turn to collect the pot while everyone else puts in as normal. This goes round and round until the cycle is complete with everyone having given the same amount and everyone having their turn to collect the entire sum.

No one gained any extra money from this arrangement. The point was to be able to practice saving money on a micro-scale and also to have access to a large amount of money at what could be a crucial time. In the UK, banks DO NOT LIKE this cultural practice; – they say that it allows the “banker” to exploit everyone by disappearing with the sum of money. Truth be told is that it cuts the banks out in terms of offering short term loans to people; – and it keeps money out of their institutions when they would prefer to have and use it (obviously).

Probably the most infamous example of Group Economics in the “Black” community is the account of “Black Wall St” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It had taken roughly 15 years to get it to what it was at that time; – a self-sustaining community that supported hundreds of “Black” businesses. The “Black dollar” was said to circulate a whopping 36-100 times; – sometimes taking up to a whole year to leave the community.

Sadly, on May 31st 1921 and lasting for 2 days; – there was a massacre of the town’s people where an estimated 150-300 people died. It was a race-riot that was based on unfounded claims that a “Black” man had sexually assaulted a “White” woman. Aeroplanes were used to bomb buildings and destroy homes/businesses. More than 1400 buildings were destroyed and over 10,000 people were left homeless. It was the culmination of racial tensions between the European working class people that had grown jealous of the “Black” entrepreneurship that had seen the town swell and thrive.

Nowadays, it is said that 1 US dollar takes just 6 hours to leave the “Black” community. SIX HOURS. You can imagine how infinitely less it must be for the “Black” community in the UK.

The Black Umbrella seeks to create change and garnish support for “Black” businesses and entrepreneurs by creating a safe-space and nexus-point where business-users and connect with each other and where customers can easily find them.