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African & AmericanWest Africans in Post-Civil Rights America$
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Marilyn Halter and Violet Showers Johnson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814760581

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814760581.001.0001

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Capturing a Niche

Capturing a Niche

The West African Enclave Economy

(p.115) 3 Capturing a Niche
African & American

Marilyn Halter

Violet Showers Johnson

NYU Press

This chapter examines the rise of a West African enclave economy in America. In particular, it considers how entrepreneurship and self-employment became the most conspicuous marker of the West African diaspora in America. It explores how some of the new West African entrepreneurs moved from work in the wage economy to start and manage their own business ventures in order to capture opportunities that distinctly favored their West African backgrounds and American experiences. It also discusses the economic culture within which the West African immigrants function as entrepreneurs and its importance for the specific detour opportunity areas in which they have established their businesses, especially restaurants and clubs, hair braiding, health care staffing and pharmacy, grocery stores or African supermarkets, and fashion production and merchandising. Finally, the chapter explores some of the reasons for the weakening or demise of West African businesses in America.

Keywords:   enclave economy, entrepreneurship, self-employment, West African diaspora, West African entrepreneurs, business, West African immigrants, restaurants, hair braiding, fashion

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