Date of Award

August 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Christopher D Cantwell

Committee Members

Jennifer A Jordan, Amanda I Seligman


Beer, Black Capitalism, Brewing, Capitalism, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


The term “Black Capitalism” was coined by Richard Nixon during the 1968 presidentialcampaign as a means of both quelling the unrest of the previous decade regarding the more volatile factions within the larger civil rights movement as well as helping African Americans enter the economic mainstream. Once president, Nixon’s rhetoric became a policy through the creation of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise and loans through the Small Business Administration. In 1970, a group of Black businessmen in Milwaukee took advantage of these programs to become the first Black brewery owners in Wisconsin when they purchased Peoples Brewing Company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Their effort survived only two years. This study examines the impetus of the Black capitalism movement and its failures, while serving as an example of the shift in the freedom struggle from civil rights to economic inclusion. This study also provides a rare example of Black entrepreneurs owning the means of production at a time of White corporate consolidation.