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Project to Demonstrate Buying Power of Blacks

Times Staff Writer

Black consumers in 29 cities across the United States are being urged to spend only $2 bills and Susan B. Anthony $1 coins to demonstrate their buying power during the NAACP’s third annual Black Dollar Days, Sept. 2-9, officials of the organization said in Los Angeles Monday.

“Blacks spent well over $100 billion on goods and services from non-minority firms in 1984,” said Raymond Johnson Jr., president of the organization’s Los Angeles chapter. “These same corporations make purchases of less than 1% of this amount from black vendors. We’re not asking for anything, but we want our fair share.”

By spending only $2 bills and Anthony coins, officials of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People said, black consumers will send a message to businesses: “Black consumers have money and (a business’) percentage of profit depends on our dollar.”

Blacks in the Los Angeles area made about $5 million in purchases using $2 bills and the Anthony coins during Black Dollar Days last year, Johnson said, adding that he expects that to double this year.

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He pointed out that the average profit margin for companies in the Los Angeles area is 10% of gross sales, and that blacks account for about 10% of sales.

“If blacks withdraw their support, it could make or break those businesses,” he said.

More than 50 churches in Los Angeles’ black community will discuss Black Dollar Days on Sunday, Johnson said. And Willis Edwards, president of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP branch, said 50,000 flyers are being circulated to make people aware of the campaign.

Johnson said one woman told him that she plans to buy a car with $2 bills and Anthony coins, and another woman said she will buy a coffin using the same rarely used bills and coins.

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The official said he hopes black consumers will use the bills and coins to make all of their purchases, from groceries and clothing, to autos and airline tickets, during the campaign.

“Black Dollar Days is one element in the national NAACP’s thrust for economic parity in minority communities where high unemployment and corporate indifference to black entrepreneurs continue to hold blacks at a disadvantage,” Johnson said.

Cash registers in banks do not have drawers for $2 bills and the Anthony coins, Johnson added. As black consumers spend those bills and coins during the campaign starting next Monday, “those businesses will be forced to recognize the purchasing power of our communities,” he said.

The president of the NAACP’s Inglewood branch, Dr. Charles Greene, said a dollar entering the black community exchanges hands once before leaving. A thrust of the NAACP’s emphasis on economic development is to see that dollars circulate six times in black communities before leaving, he said.

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The $2 bills and Anthony coins will be available at four black-owned savings and loan associations: Family Savings & Loan Assn., Broadway Federal Savings & Loan Assn., Enterprise Savings & Loan Assn. and Founders Savings & Loan Assn.

Security Pacific National Bank is providing “some financial support” to help promote the campaign, and it is making $2 bills and Anthony coins--which are not stocked ordinarily--available at branches in black communities.


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