The African-American co-op movement

The role of African-Americans in the co-op movement is often overlooked, but people like Dr. Jessica Gordon-Nembhard are trying to change that. She is best known for her book, “Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice.” Madison Worker Cooperatives, better known as MadWorC, will be reading it as the inaugural book in its new book club. To get your own copy and join the book club, write to Rek Kwawer at (and sign up for MadWorC’s newsletter!). You can also hear Dr. Gordon-Nembhard speak in this recording from a virtual conference given in July.

While not specific to African Americans, the recent US Federation of Worker Co-ops National Conference did heavily feature people of color and immigrants among its organizers and presenters. The USFWC is the national organization of worker co-ops, and this was the first time its conference has taken place online. All the keynotes and breakout sessions are publicly available, including pre-recorded messages from Rashida Tlaib and Bernie Sanders.

Today is October first, the beginning of Co-op Month! We at MCDC will be celebrating by sending more newsletters than usual, letting you know about the new co-ops springing up here in Madison and the organizations that support them. We’d love to hear your thoughts — write Steve Herrick or Charity Schmidt.