Advertising & PR News
TV & Cable News
People in the
Company Bios and
Are you getting the latest industry news when it happens via e-mail?
Click here for free delivery of the Target Market News Bulletin
You'll receive news of breaking stories, exclusives,
updates and headlines on the latest developments in African American
marketing and media
data on African American consumers
Black Buying Power:
$679 Billion (2004)
Black U.S. Population:
Top Five Black Cities
- New York
Top Five Black Metros:
- New York-New Jersey
- Los Angeles
Top Five Expenditures:
- Housing 110.2 bil.
- Food 53.8 bil.
- Cars/Trucks 28.7 bil.
- Clothing 22.0 bil.
- Health Care 17.9 bil.
Click here for more stats from "The Buying Power of
Get quick access to key
Click here to go to African-American Census Bureau
© 2006 by
Target Market News Inc.
All rights reserved
228 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
steps up campaigns to become a destination for black tourists
By Joshua Kurlantzick
The N.Y. Times
(December 8, 2006) On a warm November weekend morning, some 35 people
from Massachusetts, New York, Missouri and Pennsylvania pack the benches
of a trolley rolling through Roxbury, a historically black neighborhood in
Boston. For two hours they listen as the tour guide explains how residents
are building on vacant lots created when the neighborhood disintegrated in
trolley, part of a tour organized by the local group Discover Roxbury,
passes restored 19th-century mansions and red-brick row houses, and the
tourists audibly “aah” with delight. When the tour finishes, the group
gathers for lunch, where James Guilford Jr., a 95-year-old lifelong
resident of Roxbury, still dapper in a bolo tie and gold earring, retells
stories of vibrant local life in the 1930s and ’40s.
“There were so many black barbershops here, so much business,” said Mr.
Guilford, a former barber. “I opened, and I couldn’t keep out the
Ten years ago, it would have been tough to find a tour of Roxbury or any
other black neighborhood in Boston. For many black travelers, Boston meant
not only John Adams and Paul Revere but also Ted Landsmark, the Boston
businessman assaulted by a group of whites in 1976, a time of fierce local
conflict over school integration. Someone in the crowd struck Mr.
Landsmark with an American flag, a scene captured in a famous news
photograph that distilled Boston’s image as a place hostile to black
“There was a racial overtone in the city, and people didn’t necessarily
want to come,” said Carole Copeland Thomas, head of the multicultural
committee of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Darnell Williams, president and chief executive of the Urban League of
Eastern Massachusetts, said that in the past, when he would suggest to
black people that they visit Boston, “They’d say: ‘Do I want to come here?
Are you out of your mind?’ ”
Today, Boston is trying to change its image among black Americans. By
supporting programs and attractions like the Roxbury trolley tour and a
number of other initiatives, the Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes to
draw more black travelers to a city that the longtime Boston Celtics
basketball star Bill Russell once called “a flea market of racism.”
“The city of Boston and its leaders have to recognize the fact that Boston
has a reputation of not being that welcoming for minorities, but we’ve
made extraordinary gains,” said Julie Burns, director of arts, tours and
special events in the office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Larry Meehan, vice president of the convention and visitors bureau, said:
“Boston has had a perception problem for years. I believe it’s going to
change. The African Meeting House, the 40th birthday of the Black Heritage
Trail and other events we are promoting for 2007 will have a tremendous
appeal.” Mr. Meehan also cited the recent election of Deval L. Patrick,
who will become Massachusetts’s first black governor, as having a positive
impact on the city’s image.
Beyond the social and cultural need to repair Boston’s reputation among
black Americans, there is also a financial incentive. According to a 2003
study by the Travel Industry Association of America, a national trade
group, travel by blacks in the United States is growing twice as fast as
travel by Americans over all. And Target Market News, a publication that
specializes in the black consumer market, estimates that blacks in the
United States annually spend around $5 billion on leisure travel.
Cities like Boston that court black travelers will reap the benefits, said
Andy Ingraham, president of the National Association of Black Hotel
Owners. “African-Americans’ share of the industry is big enough that you
have to pay attention,” he said.
In the past, according to Angela DaSilva, founder of the National Black
Tourism Network, a travel company, “the only way that we could get to
learn about black culture was to ask the black doorman or the black maid.
The visitor bureaus didn’t care.”
But over the last decade, with the recognition of the social and
commercial importance of black travel, Dallas, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and
other cities have started campaigns to promote themselves to black
tourists. Black-themed museums have opened in several cities, with new
ones soon to come, including the National Museum of African American
History and Culture in Washington and a United States National Slavery
Museum in Fredericksburg, Va.
Boston’s effort to draw black travelers is among the biggest undertaken by
any city in the country. The city, where Crispus Attucks died in the
Boston Massacre and where Frederick Douglass lectured, already boasts
plenty of important black historical sites, including the Museum of
Afro-American History, a memorial to a famous black regiment from the
Civil War and a meetinghouse where prominent abolitionists plotted
Yet, despite the presence of so many black heritage sites, other hurdles
to attracting black tourism have proved tough to overcome. One is the
relative scarcity of some commonplace aspects of black life.
“The biggest thing that Boston lacked, particularly in terms of
African-American travelers, is nightclubs,” said Candelaria Silva,
director of the ACT Roxbury Consortium, a group that promotes art and
culture. “I send out an e-mail to people coming here about where to get
The portion of Boston’s population identified as black is 25 percent, a
small segment compared with some other major cities.
This works against Boston, according to Thomas Dorsey, publisher of
SoulofAmerica.com, a leading black travel Web site. “African-Americans
don’t feel comfortable in Boston, especially when they see how white the
tourist areas are,” he said.
Black travelers prefer cities with sizable black populations and a strong
black cultural presence, he added. The Travel Industry Association of
America study found that Atlanta, more than 60 percent black, was the most
popular city among black tourists.
“The black culture, the black night life, the black colleges are all in
Atlanta,” Ms. DaSilva said. “Atlanta says, ‘We’re black anyway, and here’s
where all your black tourist dollars are going,’ It’s not like some kind
of trickle-down thing in Atlanta.”
The multicultural committee of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors
Bureau has created a guide to ethnic neighborhoods, film festivals and
tours, and it is developing programs to educate local concierges and tour
guides about Boston’s black history and attractions. The Massachusetts
Cultural Council, meanwhile, has provided financing to groups like ACT.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau has recently also attracted the
conventions of prominent black organizations, including the National
Association of Black Accountants and the East Coast wing of Delta Sigma
Theta, a black sorority.
Ms. Burns, of the mayor’s office, also cited Boston’s staging of the 2004
Democratic National Convention as key to rehabilitating its image. Black
business leaders and state legislators at the convention got the word out
in an effort to draw convention business from black organizations.
They were just trying to acknowledge the fact that Boston did have busing
— we didn’t try to hide our past,” she said. Their message, Ms. Burns
said, was, “Despite what you think, why don’t you come here and see what’s
But much of Boston’s effort is aimed at the grassroots level. “In terms of
making tourism grow for African-Americans, it’s really the nitty-gritty
day-to-day work of who guides the tours, who runs the tours,” Ms. Silva
Meanwhile, Mr. Ingraham, president of the black hotel owners group, said
Boston has been aggressively encouraging black hotel ownership, including
working with one of the association’s board members to develop a hotel
with majority black ownership.
“They’ll reap the benefits of it in people coming to those hotels,” Mr.
Ingraham said. “African-Americans are becoming more discriminating in
where they stay.”
To address the question of entertainment, young black Bostonians have
begun Web sites and listservs to popularize nightclubs and restaurants.
One of the best-known sites, Downtimeonline.net, lists 30 to 50 events
Neighborhoods like Roxbury now get visitor traffic: Discover Roxbury
events sell out, and the area has started the Roxbury Film Festival, which
features films focusing on people of color, as well as actors’ workshops
and other events.
These efforts might also help change Boston’s minorities’ perception of
the city. One third, according to a Harvard study, say they have at least
occasionally felt out of place or unwelcome at a local arena or museum
because of their race.
But many black Bostonians don’t necessarily feel that way. “I really think
Boston gets a bum rap,” said Darius McCroey, the founder of
Downtimeonline. “I won’t say there are no racial issues, but I don’t think
it’s so different from other cities.”
Younger travelers, perhaps less aware of Boston’s contentious history,
also seem more comfortable going to the city. “If you lived through the
busing in the 1970s, that’s going to be a benchmark,” said Ms. Thomas, of
the convention and visitors bureau multicultural committee. “But if you’re
younger, that won’t be your benchmark.”
And Ted Landsmark, the man in that famous photograph from the time of
strife over busing students to achieve school integration? He still lives
in Boston and has risen into the city’s elite. Today he is chief executive
of the Boston Architectural College, a prominent design institution.
“Busing? That was 30 years ago,” he said, adding that the election of Mr.
Patrick was changing outsiders’ perceptions. “They hadn’t realized that
Boston had changed that much. People will realize that Boston is not the
city it was in the 1970s.”
Go to Target Market News
Book Publishing Authority
in its seventh year of publication, Black Issues Book Review is
the only nationally distributed magazine devoted exclusively to covering the
latest news and reviews on black books. BIBR also provides up-to-date news on forthcoming author
signings, book fairs and book clubs.
Want this issue? Get it with your new subscription.
A TARGET MARKET NEWS
Click here to read more
Annual Edition Available
'Buying Power' report shows black consumers spending more on home life
As the American economy continues to move sluggishly,
African-American households are curtailing their spending in many
categories, including food, clothing and basic household items, while
investing more in home repair, home entertainment and consumer
electronics. Although they are trimming back, black consumers are still
spending more than their white counterparts on most of these products.
Story and statistics
The trade publication for
in-depth coverage of Black
and Media news