This article examines the Detroit Housewives League (DHL) in the 1930s and 1940s, concentrating on DHL members' actions as businesswomen. Past narratives have framed the DHL as an extension of the black women's club movement or as part of the women-driven consumer movements of the 1930s and 1940s, particularly highlighting the organization's philosophies on black women's purchasing power. I argue that entrepreneurial DHL women brought prior business knowledge to their organizing and were significant business experts and leaders. By conducting business research, forging community networks, and, significantly, establishing commercial colleges and other forms of business education in the city, DHL members' work was vital for the black business community as a whole and for women entrepreneurs in particular. In reframing the DHL as an organization established by black entrepreneurial women, I suggest scholars should reevaluate black women's contributions to other forms of activism in order to recover additional histories of black women's entrepreneurship and business leadership.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)