Marketplace activism: A history of the African American elite market segment

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A distinct and significant African American elite market segment began its growth prior to the U.S. Civil War, flourished as a result of two world wars, and has continued to expand and diversify. Today, the segment comprises three subsegments including a conventional upper middle-class, the traditional elite, and the nouveau riche. This market segment is distinct both from other African American groups and from the white elite in terms of products and services consumed. This distinction results from this group's isolation and lack of opportunities through the civil rights era and the importance placed on such factors as ancestry and affiliation within this group. This paper presents a four-phase periodization model of the development of the African American elite market segment, linking its development to key events and historical eras. This segment has practiced a unique form of economic consumer activism in the marketplace--referred to as "marketplace activism"--in the quest for respect and equal treatment in American society. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]