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Traveling Black, Spending Black

DANIELLE POINTDUJOUR and friends in Florence

DANIELLE POINTDUJOUR and friends in Florence

A movement to rebuild their historic financial foundation is taking hold among African-Americans, and traveling with purpose is part of the mix.

While much of the United States is consumed by the latest outburst of gun violence, police controversy or the tragicomedy that is Donald Trump, a new movement is quietly building among Black Americans.

It’s a movement to rebuild the solid financial foundation we had in this country, before Jim Crow and the Black Codes in the South, political and financial subterfuge in the North and blatant anti-Black terrorism nationwide destroyed it.

(If you don’t know about the destruction of once-thriving Black commercial and residential enclaves in places like Atlanta, Tulsa OK, aka “Black Wall Street,” East St. Louis, MO, Rosewood FL, Chicago, Knoxville KY — well, you now know one of the reasons why Black History Month exists.)

Specifically, it’s a growing collection of grassroots campaigns among African-Americans to support Black-owned businesses, nor just with rhetoric, but with their own dollars.

The spate of controversial police killings of unarmed Black Americans, the hateful pushback directed against the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the virulent strain of racism flowing openly among supporters of Trump’s presidential bid, have added impetus to a movement that has been already building its own momentum for nearly a decade.

Even before #BlackLivesMatter, a growing number of African-Americans had already concluded that it was time, once again, to make #BlackDollarsMatter. And slowly but surely, we’re acting on it.

Most recently, the idea of “buying Black” has been joined by “saving Black,” with African-Americans beginning to open savings accounts in the country’s roughly 20 Black-owned banks.

The world of travel is hardly immune to this, especially as reports surface of discrimination against Black air passengers and airline employees alike, as well as African-Americans seeking to book lodging through airbnb.

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are abuzz with Black folks talking travel, planning travel, conducting travel and sharing the experience of travel. Some of it is spurring by a growing political consciousness. For others, it’s a new way to socialize, a concept perhaps best expressed by the Web site “Travel is the New Club.”

We’re starting to prize culturally luxurious experiences over luxury items.

There’s no Black-owned airline in the United States, but African-Americans collectively do an estimated $50 billion of travel a year. A growing chunk of that money is going to international travel as a new generational of educated, adventurous young Black men and women set out to see the world on their own terms.

Catering to that new generational of young Black travelers is a growing segment of African-American travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, travel bloggers and travel groups, many of them using social media as a base as they carve out their niche in the travel industry.

Together, this new generation of travel consumers and entrepreneurs is setting out across the globe, while trying to keep their hard-earned dollars within their own businesses as often and for as long as possible.

While we don’t own an airline in this country, we’re starting to realize, little by little, just what kind of travel options — and travel assets — we do hold. And new ones appear almost daily.

Here are a few of them:

All of these organizations and enterprises are but the tip of a large and growing Black travel iceberg. Not only are African-Americans increasingly turning to domestic and international travel, but we are starting to make the connection between traveling while Black and spending Black while traveling.

And that’s a good thing.

So if you happen upon a Black Web site devoted either to the enjoyment or the business of travel, check it out for yourself, then share its existence with others. Or give me a shout here at IBIT and I’ll do it for you.

Greg Gross is the Publisher/Sr. Editor of “I’m Black and I Travel!,” and the owner of the Trips by Greg travel agency, specializing in cultural and heritage travel worldwide. Next February, he’ll be leading his own group to West Africa.

thought on “Traveling Black, Spending Black”

  1. Hello,

    Nice to hear from your african info, i am contacting you because i would like to know if there is any possibilitie of connecting some information between us. In our site you can see some of our basic information: http://www.batotoyetu.pt

    And here is our documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOLFp8eap1U about some african places, persons and dance – fado dançado, the roots of the portuguese national song fado. Fado dançado was all made and born from the moorish (north and west african and arabic) influence, congo kingdom influence, and afro brazilian influence, all blended in lisbon , portugal.

    We also do formation, and tours in lisbon on foot, and by tuk tuk about the african memory in streets, we tell storys, see important african churches here in lisbon, portugal, and more. You can see some info here:https://www.facebook.com/PresencafricanaLx/?fref=ts

    Our site is in construction and the tours will be on the site soon, so… what can we do together more than share our projects in our sites and facebook? 🙂

    We are really interested for example on sharing the contacts of your participants, sharing ideias, help to marketing in your city/country and perhaps catch some interested persons before they come to lisbon…Sky is the limit and together we will defenitely go further!

    Wainting your positive response.

    Yours sincerely, one hug from lisbon

    Jose Neves


    A.C.J. Batoto Yetu Portugal
    Avenida João de Freitas Branco, 12, 12 A
    2760-073 Caxias
    NIF: 503747491
    Tel.: (+351) 214460729
    batotoyetu@gmail.com
    http://www.batotoyetu.pt

    Esta mensagem está de acordo com a legislação Europeia sobre o envio de mensagens comerciais. Destina-se unicamente a clientes, potenciais clientes e parceiros e não pode ser considerada SPAM porque tem incluído contacto e instruções para remoção da nossa lista de emails. Qualquer mensagem deverá estar claramente identificada com os dados do emissor e deverá proporcionar ao receptor a hipótese de ser removida da lista (Directiva 2000/31/CE do Parlamento Europeu; Relatório A5-0270/2001 do Parlamento Europeu). Envie este mail com a palavra REMOVER no assunto

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