Black Businesses

Collection: African American Newspapers
Date: January 8, 1852
Location: Rochester, New York


MR. EDITOR: - If my picture has its shades, it also has its lights: indeed there are some bright spots, brighter than I can paint them.

There are some men here engaged in business that would be, (all things considered,) an ornament to any society; men whose business like habits and operations reflect credit alike upon themselves, and the community who sustain them. The only regret, is, that the number is so small, and the pursuits so little varied. This may be accounted for in this way: some years ago, some one bolder than his fellows, commenced in Gotham a business operation. Wonderful as it seemed to many, the example was soon followed by another and another, &c. In process of time, another still bolder than the rest, struck out in a new path, and was soon followed by many others. So of one or two more, and the list was complete. Now as these were neither properly begun, nor vigorously prosecuted, but little of worth resulted: hence the present poverty of our business operations, both in the variety and magnitude. It is but just, however, to say that subsequently, bolder spirits arose in the business-world, and are now doing much to enlarge its boundaries, and it is to be hoped, that this following in the footsteps of our predecessors continually, only for the sake of following, will be abandoned. It is also to be hoped that the habit of huddling together, will be abandoned also. Masters, spread yourselves, should now be the motto; masters exert yourselves, should be the watchword of these rising young spirits . If two or three find it inconvenient to hang out their signs in Canal Street, let the next betake himself to Broadway, and the next to Bowery, Chatham Street, Greenwich Street, Grand Street, &c. The next decade to Brooklyn or adjacent towns, and especially let the pursuits be as varied as the towns or streets in which they are conducted; and when we grow so corpulent that these aforesaid streets will not contain us, let us abandon them to others, and take our stations down town, say, Wall, Cedar, South, or Front Streets, or any other of a like stamp.

What of one, two, or a dozen failures among our young men in their honest attempts to establish business? What of an hundred? So far from our offering them the slightest discouragement, or their being discouraged; we and they should remember that the failures, and oft-repeated attempts of an earnest and vigorous man, constitute the materials of the column, which is by each succession being builded higher and higher, till far above the surface, it rises, and upon which he finally stands, a bright example of success, before the gaze of the surrounding multitude. "Try, try again," was the lesson taught by the spider to the defeated General as he lay in his hammock, and who, after receiving the lesson, was enabled to conquer. - Seventy-nine times did his little monitor try to scale the wall, and seventy-nine times did he fail; the eightieth time was he successful. "Try, try again," must we say to our young men: by trying only, will you succeed.