History Professor Lays Out Just How Important Sears Was During The Jim Crow Era
George Karger/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images, @louishyman (Twitter)

Louis Hyman is a professor at the ILR School of Cornell University. He is also the director of the Institute for Workplace Studies in New York City. He recently took to Twitter to school the general public on the incredible history behind a dying company.


The retailer Sears just filed for bankruptcy. It is facing a debt of more than $5 million.

Its downfall comes during the surge of retailers like Amazon and Walmart, as well as growing online business models.

The company will close the doors of 142 locations before the end of this year.

But Professor Louis Hyman shed light on Sears' very important past and how the store battled the racial divide during the Jim Crow Era.

Hyman's account discusses how Sears revolutionized the very racist shopping experience for the black community.

Their catalog allowed African Americans to shop freely for the first time. They also gave tips in their catalogs on how to bypass postage difficulties.

Hyman also chronicled how white store owners tried to thwart Sears.

In his final tweet, Hyman said,

So as we think about Sears today, let's think about how retail is not just about buying things, but part of a larger system of power. Every act of power contains the opportunity, and the means, for resistance.

This information about Sears' history was generally unknown, and people were grateful to hear it.

And given the new insight into Sears, people are sad to see it go.

What an incredible look into the systemic issues that have been plaguing the African American community for generations.

H/T: Twitter, LouisHyman.com, Business Insider

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