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Margarita Anderson and her family made history and dominated headlines as national media covered their year-long stand living exclusively off Black businesses, professionals, and products for an entire year. This first-ever real-life case study in self-help economics was called The Empowerment Experiment (EE). Their experiment resulted in a landmark study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business which proved with the data from the Anderson’s journey how incremental support of Black businesses can rescue the Black community and improve the American economy as a whole.
Margarita, a first-generation Cuban-American, has a BA in Political Science from Emory University; and earned a Juris Doctor (JD) and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chicago, where President Barack Obama was her law professor and mentor. Before the experiment, she was an aide to civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, the speechwriter for the Mayor of Atlanta, a strategy executive at McDonald’s Corporation, and a strategy consultant..
Since the experiment, Margarita has become the face of a conscious consumerism movement uniting consumers, corporations, and the quality Black businesses that can rescue struggling communities and provide role models to Black youth. A sought-after speaker, she tours the country inspiring more consumer and corporate engagement of Black professionals and firms. Margarita appears on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS Newshour, and CBS Morning News, among many other national television and radio shows…and uses her growing platform to increase awareness about economic inequalities that starve Black neighborhoods and deny Black businesses, and how proactive support of Black businesses can create jobs and curb crime in America.
Maggie lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband John (AB, Economics, Harvard University, 1993; MBA, Finance, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, 1999) and their daughters, Cori and Cara.
More published work from Maggie Anderson!
Maggie Anderson's Essay for 2014 National Urban League
"State of Black America" Book
See the list of distinguished contributors here.
by Maggie Anderson
Maggie and John Anderson, a successful African American couple raising two daughters in a suburb of Chicago, engaged in a highly publicized social experiment to reinvest in the Black community and buy from only Black-owned businesses for a year. In this powerful book, drawing on economic research and social history as well as her family’s experiences, Maggie Anderson tells the story of what they learned.
Our Black Year examines the commercial exploitation of Black neighborhoods and explores the reasons why Black businesses lag behind businesses of all other racial and ethnic groups in every measure of success. Anderson argues that the social crises that disproportionately impact Black people and under-served Black neighborhoods could be countered through what she calls “conscious consumerism.”
The author urges consumers to seek and support Black-owned businesses; and challenges mainstream corporations, especially those that thrive on Black consumers, to involve more Black firms in their supply chains, stock products from Black companies, and engage more Black franchisees, suppliers, dealers, and vendors. Our Black Year is a hard-hitting call to action to close a gaping hole in the American economy—one purchase at a time.
© Maggie Anderson and The Empowerment Experiment, 2009-2017. All Rights Reserved.
Reasons you should buy the critically acclaimed book, "Our Black Year", directly from the author:
1) It's the only way to get a signed, personalized book.
2) Proceeds support the Andersons' work and movement via The Empowerment Experiment Foundation, their charitable research and advocacy organization.
3) When you buy from Maggie Anderson, the money goes back into the community. Payment goes directly into a Black-owned bank, Liberty Bank.