Robert E. Weems Jr.

History commentator

Robert E. Weems, Jr. is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.

His research specialty is African American business and economic history.

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An important off-shoot of the Black Lives Matter Movement is the growth of a parallel phenomenon known as Black Money Matters. As history reveals, African Americans’ use of their collective spending power to bring about positive change is nothing new. For instance, during the Civil Rights era, such episodes as the Montgomery Bus Boycott clearly showed the power of strategic consumerism.

The recent passing of the legendary Muhammad Ali and the recent release of ESPN’s multi-part documentary, O.J. Made in America, has generated a re-examination of these two individuals’ lives and legacy.

Muhammad Ali and O.J. Simpson are similar in that their notoriety transcended their exploits as superstar athletes in the boxing ring and on the football field. Yet, they are dramatically dissimilar in that Ali lived a life linked with principled action whereas Simpson lived a life linked with public relations.

Ronald Reagan, during his presidency, promoted an economic policy that came to be known as Reaganomics. Linked with economist Arthur Laffer’s theory of supply-side economics, Reaganomics claimed that economic growth could be promoted by dramatically reducing the tax burden of America’s wealthiest citizens. They, in turn, would use this tax relief to spend and invest more. This new spending, theoretically, would then stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

A year ago, no one would have believed that Donald Trump would be the GOP front-runner this far into the primary season. Yet, fact can be stranger than fiction, and this improbable reality has prompted an increasing call within the Republican Party to block Trump’s quest for the party’s presidential nomination. For his part, Trump has warned that, if he’s denied the nomination through a contested Republican National Convention in July, there could be riots in response.

One of the constants of the post-slavery African American experience has been the positive role played by black women’s organizations in promoting community uplift.

The underside of American history, as it relates to race relations, includes discourse regarding the alleged mental inferiority of people of African descent. During slavery, white belief that transplanted Africans came from savage, uncivilized, societies helped soothe the consciences of those participating in this sordid business enterprise.

Nati Harnik/AP

A long-standing philosophical debate in American history involves people who believe in unfettered economic development versus those who believe that limits must be placed on the business-related depletion and damage of natural resources.

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Pope Francis’s recent triumphant visit to the United States, which included a speech to a joint session of Congress, suggests that one instance of historic prejudice has dramatically receded in this country.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr / Creative Commons

The embryonic Republican presidential primary season has witnessed the startling rise of Donald Trump in early polling. As the current frontrunner among a crowd of other GOP presidential hopefuls, the bombastic Trump, a real estate mogul and former host of hit television series "The Apprentice," has predictably attracted increased criticism from his fellow competitors. One of the charges directed his way is that he is a rich “reality TV star” with little concrete political experience.

eyeliam / Flickr / Creative Commons

    

The aftermath of the recent church massacre in Charleston, S.C., has featured renewed discussion concerning the appropriateness of publicly displaying the Confederate flag.

From a political standpoint, it is astonishing that this is considered a debatable issue. The Confederate flag is an overt symbol of treason and insurrection. Moreover, from a historical standpoint, the continued visibility of the “Stars and Bars” suggests that, while the military conflict known as the Civil War ended 150 years ago, the Confederate mindset continued.

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