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Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.

1899VA-State-Hampton_Proceedings (63).pdf

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62

Negroes of this county number about 8,000 and they pay taxes on property assessed at $528,756.00. They own and support 12 groceries, 2 drygoods stores, 1 wood, coal and feed yard, 1 wheelwright and a blacksmith shop, 1 building and loan association 1 undertaking establishment, 10 barber shops, 10 bar rooms, 2 oyster and fish packing establishments, 4 hotels and restaurants. Six of the finest and most substantial brick stores in our town are owned by Negroes. They also support 1 real estate firm, 3 life insurance agents, 2 doctors, 3 lawyers, 5 churches (2 of them the finest in the county), 11 contractors, and lodge innumerable. Several of the boatmen own large, two-masted schooners and give employment to quite a number of men, while many own small boats. A number are landlords and at least half-a-dozen have incomes from rents alone amounting to $25 to $50 a month. The men and the establishments here enumerated furnish employment to over 200 people.

As interesting as it might be, it is impossible to take up the various business es in detail, but I do wish to describe several of them in which the people have combined and which have been more or less successful. The first of these is a small grocery established seven years ago with a capital of $150, divided into shares of $5 each, owned by thirteen young men. They transact business of about $2000 a year, own their store, are out of debt, have paid each member in dividends about $8 for every $5 paid in by him on account of their capital stock, and still each member's share of the property and business is worth double what it was at the beginning

Another company of young men, twelve in number, opened a small grocery store nine years ago each of them putting into the concern $10 with which to purchase a supply of goods and fixtures; and no one has been assessed for another cent since then. In this time they have actually paid to each member $40 for every $10 invested; they are free from debt, and still, were a division of the company's property made to-day, each member's shares would amount to nearly a hundred dollars. They have recently purchased a lot and built and moved into a new store, all of which they have paid for. Their property and stock are worth, at present a conservative estimate, about $1,200, built up from their original investment of $120. These are small enterprises but they illustrate the fact that some of our young men are beginning to learn the secret of true business success.

Three years ago a stock company organized some time before, launched out into coal wood, and feed business, because,

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